Government-owned Israel Aerospace Industries has just reported the most profitable half-year in its 67-year history – despite the coronavirus pandemic.
The defence and aviation firm, based in Lod, designs and builds anything from planes, drones and fighter jets to missiles and lunar landers, and this week reported “the highest sales ever recorded in any annual halfway point in company history”.
Bumper half-yearly profits of £1.6 billion came despite global supply line challenges posed by the coronavirus, which particularly affected companies like IAI that export the majority of their products, and which have a commercial aerospace business.
Chief executive Nimrod Sheffer, who announced that he would be stepping down recently, said: “We have developed unique technologies for combatting the coronavirus and closed major deals.”
These included leasing IAI’s armed Heron drones to Greece, as Athens aims to counter a perceived threat posed by its long hostile neighbour Turkey, which has a version of its own Heron unmanned aerial vehicle.
IAI also built the wings for the new supersonic T-38 jet fighter, signed a deal for adapting business jets for spy missions, converted passenger jets to cargo configuration for courier firm DHL, and developed Israel’s national communications satellite Dror-1.