15 Israeli defense companies are taking part in the Azerbaijan International Defence Industry Exhibition (ADEX) being held for the first time. Israeli Minister of Defense Moshe Ya'alon is visiting Azerbaijan to inaugurate the Israeli pavilion at the exhibition.
Israeli companies with exhibits at ADEX include Aeronautics, Elbit Systems Ltd. (Nasdaq: ESLT; TASE: ESLT), Rafael Advanced Defense Systems Ltd., Israel Aerospace Industries Ltd. (IAI) (TASE: ARSP.B1), and Israel Military Industries Ltd. (IMI). Israel and Azerbaijan cooperate in weapons systems, but a source in one of the companies said, "Up until now, this cooperation has been kept on a low profile, due to regional defense sensitivities and, among other things, to avoid angering the Russians."
International magazine "Jane's Defense Weekly" recently reported that Azerbaijan had bought 12 warships from Israel Shipyards. Aeronautics, which works mainly in the unmanned aerial vehicle (UAV) field, is also very active in Azerbaijan, and even manufactures some of its products in a factory it owns there. Aeronautics CEO Amos Matan is expected to attend the exhibition and make a presentation to potential customers from around the world about its Orbiter mini-UAV systems and products made by Aeronautics subsidiary RT, which develops and manufactures balloon systems used for observation and intelligence gathering.
Elbit Systems will display its air and land products at the exhibition, together with other companies unveiling systems that meet the warfare and defense needs according to various specifications. For Israeli defense companies, many of which have been faced for a long time with shrinking markets due to budget cuts and intense competition, Azerbaijan is considered a market with good business potential: "It's a growing market, especially given the fact that the country is finding considerable amounts of money for a military buildup and procurement of various munitions and systems. For the Israeli companies, it also constitutes a bridge between East and West, and there is no doubt that it is interesting from many perspectives," a source in one of the companies said.
Upon reaching Baku, the Azerbaijan capital, Ya'alon met with Azerbaijan President Ilham Aliyev, and they discussed issues defined as "regional and strategic." Ya'alon is scheduled to spend two days in Azerbaijan, during which he is expected to also meet with Foreign Minister Elmar Mammadyarov and Minister of Defense Zakir Hasanov, and with Jewish community leaders in the country.
Published by Globes [online], Israel business news - www.globes-online.com - on September 10, 2014
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