Israel is traditionally considered one of the leaders in the global small arms market. The Israelis were especially successful in creating assault rifles.
Several factors have contributed to the success of the Israeli military industry. Firstly, Israel, as a belligerent state, has always needed very effective weapons, preferably of its own production, in order to avoid problems associated with restrictions on the supply of weapons if something happens.
Secondly, the specificity of the state was that it gathered many talented engineers and designers who had repatriated to their historical homeland or were born in families of repatriates. Finally, Israel has always paid great attention, including financially, to cutting-edge developments.
Currently, Israel is one of the world leaders in the sale of light weapons, including assault rifles, which is very good, given the small population and small territory of this country. So, one of the most common is the Galil assault rifle, developed at one time according to the project of the Israeli designer Israel Galili. Ironically, Galili’s real surname was Balashnikov and differed only in one letter from the surname of the legendary Mikhail Kalashnikov, the designer of Soviet assault rifles. A sort of Balashnikov assault rifle …
The demand for Galil assault rifles is evidenced by the fact that they were considered as a possible alternative to Kalashnikov assault rifles by the command of the Vietnamese People’s Army, and Vietnam has always armed its army with AKs. But then Hanoi abandoned the idea of replacing the AK with Israeli machine guns and proceeded to modernize the AK, which are in service with the units of the Vietnamese People’s Army.
However, in Israel itself, “Galil” back in 2007 was removed from service by all the IDF divisions. A number of shortcomings, including a large mass of weapons, high production costs, difficulties with accurate zeroing, ultimately forced Israel to abandon the operation of this machine.
However, the Galil Ace assault rifle, now manufactured under license by Colombia, became a further development of the Galil assault rifle by Balashnikov. It is in service with the armies and police of a number of Latin American countries – Guatemala, El Salvador, Honduras, Ecuador, Chile, Peru, and Vietnam.
Last year, at the LAAD 2019 exhibition, the Israeli company IWI presented a new model of the Carmel assault rifle in 5.56×45 caliber. The rifle is designed for standard NATO 30-round magazines. There are four barrel lengths – 267, 305, 368 and 406 mm. Rifle weight without magazine is 3.3 kg. The weapon itself is made of steel, aluminum and polymer materials, while it is designed in such a way that it is convenient for both right-handers and left-handers, which is also important for use.
Interestingly, the Carmel rifle was not accidentally presented at the Latin American exhibition in Rio de Janeiro (Brazil). Now Israeli arms companies are striving to master the very promising market of Latin America, which spend a lot of money on the purchase of weapons for the armies and police and do not mind purchasing well-proven Israeli-made weapons.
The Israel Defense Forces themselves are not yet going to abandon the Tavor X95 assault rifle, developed by the same IWI company for the special forces of the Israeli army and police. The IDF command said that in the foreseeable future it will be the X95 that will become the main small arms of the Israeli army’s infantry units.
Thus, the Israeli military industry presents new models of small arms, including assault rifles. Obsolete models are written off, replaced by new ones, designed taking into account the correction of previous errors. Considering that Israeli products are very popular in the world market, it is not necessary to say that the development and production of assault rifles in Israel has stagnated and are at a stage of stagnation.