Recently signed a $100-million deal with India to upgrade its drones

Israel is the world’s largest exporter of drones, mainly to Europe, Asia and Latin America, in a trade worth more than $4.6 billion over the past eight years. A study by the business consultancy Frost and Sullivan found that unmanned aerial vehicles (UAVs) account for almost 10 per cent of Israel’s military exports. Sales have declined from a peak in 2010, but Israel has recently signed a $100-million deal, not included in the figures, with India to upgrade its drones.

Just over half of Israel’s drone exports were to Europe, including a substantial number to the U.K. Less than 4 per cent of UAV sales were to America.

Israel is considered at the forefront of military technological development. It regularly uses drones to monitor activity in Gaza and carry out targeted assassinations.

The use of drones by the United States to carry out military strikes in Afghanistan and Pakistan has attracted widespread criticism. UAVs are controlled remotely by military personnel.

The next generation of autonomous weapons will be fully controlled by robots. The U.N. Human Rights Council (HRC) is due to discuss a new report on “lethal autonomous robotics” in Geneva later this month.

Israel’s military exports are worth more than $6 billion a year, according to the Frost and Sullivan study.

© Guardian Newspapers Limited, 2013

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