Lockheed-Martin, one of the world’s largest defense contractors, just opened its first office in Israel. Marilyn Hewson, Lockheed’s CEO observed that the office’s location in the Beersheba Advanced Technologies Park (ATP) was intentional as “it is clear that Beersheba is on its way to becoming the Silicon Valley of Israel.”
That this technology will be a major ingredient of the ATP is evidenced by the fact that one of the park’s biggest neighbors will be the IDF, Hewson noted. “The consolidation of IDF technical units to new bases in the Negev Desert region is an important transformation of Israel’s information technology capability. We understand the challenges of this move.” The IDF plans to move many of its largest bases, including the IDF General Headquarters and Tel Hashomer enlistment office, to the area over the next five years.
The ATP’s first building was completed last summer. The first companies to move in, including Deutsche Telekom, EMC, Elbit and Oracle, have established cyber-security research and development labs, while Jerusalem Venture Partners has set up a cyber-security incubator in the park for new start-ups. The government’s National Cyber Bureau is set to move to the ATP.
Earlier this year, IBM and Cisco announced major investments in Israel’s cyber-security infrastructure.
The innovation displayed by Israel’s high-tech sector, driven in part by alumni of its cutting edge military units, has been rewarded with major commercial investments in its products and companies.
Last year Israel Aircraft Industries signed a deal with Lockheed-Martin to produce the wings for F-35 Lightning II stealth combat jet.
[Photo: U.S. Embassy Tel Aviv / Flickr ]