This post is also available in: heעברית (Hebrew)

To read this article in Hebrew


14964906_sAfrica, homeland security and Israeli made unmanned air systems (UAS). Remember these three parts of the new triangle that is very symbolic. There is a new and growing interest of African states in unmanned air systems (UAS). While manufacturers from various countries eye this growing market, there are signs that there are two main competitors and they are not just commercial ones

African nations have become a major market for UAS and the Israeli manufacturers are making a big effort to increase their sales in that part of the world. The potential for the next five years is assessed to be around  500-600 million u.s $. Sources in the Israeli industry say that in some African states the demand is for “basic ” UAS while in others, the demand is for more advanced systems and advanced payloads.

Almost all the major Israeli UAS manufacturers have already sold their systems in Africa and these are fully operational or in the process to gain this status. Israel Aerospace industries (IAI) , Elbit systems and Aeronautics have sold UAS to Angola, Kenya, Ivory coast , Nigeria , Ethiopia and Tanzania. These countries are now  being offered advanced versions while others evaluate basic models.

The increasing presence of Islamic terror organizations in Africa is the main element that pushes that demand up. The Israeli ministry of defense  has cleared the IAI Heron for export to some of the African nations. But Israel is not alone in that market. Recently, Denel Dynamics from South Africa has established an increased presence in many of the countries that have purchased Israeli made UAS. The company is offering its Seeker-400 UAS .

But the competition became even fiercer , when Washington has made a decision to equip some African states with hand-launched UAVs. The most recent example , is the deal with Kenya to equip its army with eight “Raven” UAS .

This deal is aimed at improving the Kenyan’s army capability to perform counter-terrorism operations against terror groups mainly in Somalia. So Africa is no doubt a new fast growing market but the competition is and will not be easy. This because of commercial factors but also political ones.

egozi2Mr. Arie Egozi Editor-in-chief