update deskIsrael at War

Israel ups development of weapons, munitions amid global shortages and embargoes

Elbit Systems will supply munitions for the IDF's ground forces over the next two years, a contract worth more than $750 million.

An Elbit Systems mortar munition system mounted on a 4x4 vehicle, May 15, 2023. Credit: Elbit Systems.
An Elbit Systems mortar munition system mounted on a 4x4 vehicle, May 15, 2023. Credit: Elbit Systems.

After a partial stoppage of weapons deliveries by the United States and arms embargoes by other countries, including Canada, Israel has turned inward to supply its armaments and munitions needs.

In March, the Canadian government declared that it would stop all future weapon sales to Israel, while more recently the Biden administration admitted to halting the shipment of certain munitions and weapons to Israel. Both came in protest of Israel’s offensive operation in the Gaza Strip following the Hamas attack against Israel on Oct. 7.

In addition to the complete or partial embargoes by Western countries that are affecting Israel’s ability to procure munitions and weapons, there are also heavy production pressures for many types of munitions worldwide, partly due to the war between Russia and Ukraine.

With these issues in mind, the Israeli Defense Ministry has turned to Elbit Systems and asked that the military technology producer supply the Israel Defense Forces with additional munitions and weapons to offset what cannot be procured from abroad. This includes 120 mm and 155 mm shells for use by artillery and armored forces.

The ministry said that the move is the implementation of a policy by the ministry Director-General Eyal Zamir.

Elbit Systems will supply munitions for the IDF’s ground forces over the next two years, amounting to approximately 2.8 billion shekels ($763 million). The ammunition production is set to occur at all Elbit facilities across the country, including the Ramat HaSharon site, which they previously had been required to vacate by the end of June.

To help facilitate a faster production timetable, the ministry has requested a postponement of this evacuation by a year and a half, according to a report that came out in Israeli business daily Calcalist on Tuesday. This delayed departure would include exempting Elbit from penalty payments for the continued use of the space, due to the IDF’s urgent need for increased munitions production.

At the same time, Elbit is expected to fully transition to its new facility in Ramat Beka in the Negev region. According to statements made by both the company and the ministry, production will now take place simultaneously at both sites.

The ministry stated that “since the outbreak of the war, the Procurement Administration has expanded procurement in Israel as part of its efforts to support the IDF’s operational endurance and to ensure independence in the production of critical items while strengthening the local economy.”

Since the beginning of the war in October, the ministry’s defense procurement has totaled more than 63 billion shekels ($17.2 billion), with 40 billion shekels ($10.9 billion) directed to companies within Israel. This procurement volume is nearly three times that of a regular year.

Elbit Systems stated that “subject to future developments, which are difficult to predict, the increased demand from the Ministry of Defense for the company’s products and solutions may continue and generate additional substantial orders for the company.”

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