Israel will provide Emirates with SPYDER air defence system

Two sources have confirmed this to Reuters

WAM/Handout via REUTERS  -   Israeli Prime Minister Yair Lapid and United Arab Emirates Foreign Minister Sheikh Abdullah bin Zayed al-Nahyan

Israel has agreed to sell an advanced air defence system to the United Arab Emirates, two sources have told Reuters. The news agency says Israel approved a request from the UAE in mid-summer and will provide the Gulf state with the SPYDER system made by Israeli defence company Rafael Advanced Defense Systems. Another source told Reuters that the UAE had acquired Israeli military technology capable of repelling drone attacks similar to those that struck Abu Dhabi in January.

As Rafael explains, SPYDER offers rapid reaction to a wide range of threats such as drones, cruise missiles, attack aircraft, helicopters and bombers, even from low altitude. In addition, its open architecture design allows for the addition of external components, such as radars. The Czech Republic and the Philippines are among the countries that have already acquired the defence system, according to The Jerusalem Post.

The UAE will use SPYDER primarily against threats from Yemeni houties. Shortly after suffering two attacks by the Iranian-friendly militia, Abu Dhabi hosted Israeli President Isaac Herzog. In addition to strengthening bilateral relations, Herzog stressed that his country 'supported the security needs of the United Arab Emirates'.

Security and defence is a priority for the Arab nation. Anwar Gargash, diplomatic adviser to Emirati President Mohamed bin Zayed Al Nahayan, said this in July. Gargash told reporters that the UAE would consider "anything that protects the country from drones and missiles as long as it is defensive and not aimed at a third country", Reuters reports. 

The sale of SPYDER to the UAE demonstrates the strong relations between Abu Dhabi and Jerusalem. The two countries forged ties in August 2020 through the US-sponsored Abraham Accords. Subsequently, other countries such as Morocco, Bahrain and Sudan also opted for normalisation and joined the so-called 'Deal of the Century'.

Since then, Israel and the UAE have worked to boost and strengthen their relations in a number of areas, including defence and security. According to The Jerusalem Post, Israeli defence officials have held some 150 meetings with their counterparts in the region and signed agreements worth more than $3 billion with the aim of strengthening military ties. Of particular note in this regard is the Israeli initiative for a regional air defence alliance to combat threats from Iran

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REUTERS/TOM BRENNER - Benjamin Netanyahu, Donald Trump, Abdullatif Al Zayani and Abdullah bin Zayed wave from the White House balcony after the signing ceremony of the Abrahamic Accords

The two countries also enjoy close economic and commercial cooperation. Indeed, the UAE has become the first Arab country to sign a free trade agreement with Israel. According to the Israeli newspaper, bilateral trade is estimated to exceed $2 billion by 2022. Bahrain follows in the footsteps of its regional neighbour, having recently initiated talks with Israel on a free trade agreement