Israeli diplomatic ties with France continue to warm, and yesterday’s news that the French have selected Elbit Systems (NASDAQ:ESLT) to supply the Skylark I unmanned air vehicle [UAV] systems to France’s Special Forces is a testament to that fact. Elbit won a tender involving 10 of the leading UAV manufacturers worldwide. This is very impressive.
Since Nicolas Sarkozy took over the French presidency, not only have ties with the U.S. gotten much better, but the French have also become very friendly with Israel. This defense deal bears out this point.
This win is another in a long line for Elbit Systems.
Commenting on the deal Haim Kellerman, General Manager of Elbit Systems UAV Division and Corporate Vice President said:
There is a worldwide growing demand for UAVs for Special Forces, counter terrorism units and other forced focused on the security of borders and sensitive facilities. France’s selection of the Skylark® attests to its ability to meet the sophisticated challenges of the modern battle field. Elbit Systems considers this agreement with France’s Special Forces as a milestone in entering the French market and believes that it will be followed by further agreements with European NATO member countries.
This win is not only important for Elbit Systems, it is also an important victory in French-Israel relations.
Disclosure: The author’s fund holds a position in ESLT as of March 25, 2008.