Israel Aerospace Industries (IAI) has reported a record order backlog of $11.1 billion at the end of the second quarter of this year, compared to $9 billion at the end of last year, buoyed by new deals the company struck with India.

Among others, Israel Aerospace Industries signed mega deals for the sale of air defence systems to India, totalling $2.4 billion, in Q2 of this year, including the largest transaction in the history of Israel's defence industries.

The company said 77 per cent of the order backlog is held for sale to foreign customers with wide geographical dispersion. The order backlog comprises a wide variety of products and secures three years of operation.

IAI President and CEO, Joseph Weiss, attributed the growth to “accelerated business activity, combined with solid and material cash balances and positive cash flows”. Despite facing “major business challenges, including enhanced competition in the target markets, mainly in the civilian market”, Weiss said the company will explore new markets.

The company scored another record in the scope of engagements in new transactions in the second quarter of 2017, at a total of $2.9 billion – India was a major contributor towards this.

After signing the $2.5-billion deal to supply Barak 8 defensive missiles to the Indian army, IAI is readying for a tender for the purchase of unmanned aerial vehicles (UAVs). IAI is offering India its Heron TP (Eitan) model UAVs. The Heron TP is a medium-altitude long endurance UAV developed by the Malat division of IAI. It is capable of conducting operations of up to 52 hours’ duration. An advanced variant of the Heron TP is the Eitan UAV, and its capabilities include surveillance, battle damage assessment, target acquisition, aerial refuelling and missile defence.

Sources pointed out that discussions regarding the sale of the Heron TP drones “has been ongoing for several years, and since IAI has supplied the Indian armed forces with its earlier, smaller Heron 1 UAV, India has been keen to obtain the TP model”.