Instro, based in Broadstairs, is a subsidiary of the Israeli based company Azimuth Technologies Ltd which is owned by Elbit Systems. Elbit Systems is Israel’s largest publicly traded arms and security company. It makes 85% of drones used by the Israeli military. In 2009, during Israel’s Operation Cast Lead, Elbit Hermes drones were one of the two main unpiloted aircraft used to attack people in Gaza. The Elbit website advertises the Hermes 450 drone as the “backbone of Israel’s UAS fleet”, and that it is ‘combat proven’.
See Corporate Watch’s company profile for more on Elbit Systems.
Instro itself is ‘one of the leading suppliers and system integrators of support equipment for military and commercial electro-optical sensors in the world today’. The company specialises in target acquisition, surveillance and homeland defence, and electro-optics.
We know that ‘optical and camera systems like those made at the Instro factory are … supplied by Elbit for use in drones flown over Afghanistan, as well as in Israel’s apartheid wall’. (Mondoweiss). We also know that in 2010, 2012 and 2013, Instro received export licences to Israel from the UK Government for equipment ‘designed for military use’. Their equipment is also sent to Saudi Arabia, Turkey and the UAE.
During the Gaza massacre in 2014, the Government did not impose an embargo, despite the obvious evidence of war crimes. For the whole of the 7 week brutal bombardment, weapons parts continued to flow from the UK to Israel.
After pressure from various groups, a ‘review’ of export licences was finally announced. Just 12 licensed items were identified by the Government as potentially posing a risk of being ‘used in the commission of a serious violation of international humanitarian law.’ And 3 of those 12 ‘risky’ licences identified by the Government were for targetting equipment – something Instro specialises in producing.
Of course we don’t know whether Instro was the company that received any of those licences. But we do know that for Israel, human beings in Gaza and the West Bank are used as ‘targets’. We want no weapons parts to leave East Kent for Israel, let alone parts that will boost the profits of Elbit Sytems – the main supplier to the IDF. With that goal in mind, in February 2015, we shut down Instro-Elbit for a day.
See this page for more on Instro-Elbit.