Israel to sell advanced air defense system to UAE

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SPYDER, Rafael Advanced Defense Systems' surface-to-air missile system, is on display on the fourth day of the Singapore Airshow in Singapore, February 14, 2014.
AP / Joseph Nair 2014 ©SPYDER, Rafael Advanced Defense Systems' surface-to-air missile system, is on display on the fourth day of the Singapore Airshow in Singapore, February 14, 2014.

Deal illustrates growing alliance between the countries

Israel agreed to sell an advanced air defense system to the United Arab Emirates (UAE), in the first such deal between the allies since they established ties in 2020 in a US-brokered normalization accord, Reuters reported on Friday citing unnamed sources.

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Israel approved a UAE request in the middle of the summer and would reportedly supply the Gulf state with Rafael-made SPYDER mobile interceptors, declining to provide further details due to the sensitive nature of the deal.

A third source said the UAE had acquired Israeli technology capable of combating drone attacks like those that struck Abu Dhabi earlier this year.

The need to bolster the UAE's air defense capabilities increased after a series of missile and drone strikes on the Gulf state in January and February. Most of the attacks were intercepted, but a strike killed three civilians in Abu Dhabi.

It was not immediately clear how many interceptors, which are fitted to vehicles and can defend against short to long-range threats, Israel would supply. 

Asked if Israel was providing the UAE with air defense systems, parliament Foreign Affairs and Defense Committee Chairman Ram Ben-Barak told Israeli radio on September 20 there was broad cooperation with the UAE, but declined further comment.

Israel and the UAE this year signed a free trade deal; Israel's first with an Arab state. 

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