UAE in talks with Israel to acquire different types of air defense missile systems

According to information published by "The Jerusalem Post" on February 6, 2022, United Arab Emirates (UAE) and Israel are in talks to acquire different types of air defense systems including the Iron Dome, the Spyder, and the Barak 8.
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Israeli Iron Dome launcher unit at Le Bourget Air Show in France. (Picture source Army Recognition)

Israel maintains full diplomatic relations with two of its Arab neighbors, Egypt and Jordan, after signing peace treaties in 1979 and 1994 respectively. In 2020, Israel signed agreements establishing diplomatic relations with four Arab League countries, Bahrain, the United Arab Emirates (UAE), Sudan, and Morocco. As of 2021, Israel had formal diplomatic relations with 168 other countries.

These last years, Israel has exported security equipment to Pakistan and four Arab countries including Egypt, Algeria, the United Arab Emirates, and Morocco. The defense industry of Israel is a strategically important sector and a large employer, as well as a major supplier of the Israel Defense Forces. Israel is one of the world's major exporters of military equipment and would like to increase its presence in the international military market especially in Asia and the Middle East.

In recent weeks the UAE has been the target of several drones and missiles attacks by Houthi rebels. For more than six years, the Houthis have been battling a Saudi-led coalition that includes the UAE, repeatedly carrying out cross-border missile and drone attacks on Saudi Arabia, and launching an unprecedented attack on the UAE on January 17, 2022. Following these latest events, the UAE decided to acquire various anti-aircraft defense systems.

In January 2022, UAE has signed a contract with South Korea to acquire the Cheongung II KM-SAM surface-to-air defense missile system for a value of about $3.5 billion.

Over the last three decades, the Israeli missile defense concept has evolved significantly along with the emerging threats. As a result of a long-term strategy, implemented in the 1990s, the contemporary missile defense of Israel has been developed into a complex, multi-tier system aimed to match the country’s unique security needs. The air defense system developed by the Israeli defense industry includes the Arrow missile family, Spyder, David’s Sling, Iron Dome systems, providing Israel with a solid aerial defense against short, medium and long-range missile threats, and are considered the most advanced air defense missile systems in the world.

The Iron Dome is an air defense system developed to counter very short-range rockets and 155mm artillery shell threats with ranges of up to 70km. It can be operated in all weather conditions including fog, dust storms, low clouds, and rain.

The SPYDER is an Israeli-made short and medium-range mobile air defense system developed by Rafael Advanced Defense Systems with assistance from Israel Aerospace Industries (IAI). It is a low-level, quick-reaction surface-to-air missile system capable of engaging aircraft, helicopters, unmanned air vehicles, drones, and precision-guided munitions.

The Spyder was developed in two variants, the Spyder-SR and Spyder-MR. As a short-range air defense system, the SPYDER-SR is able to destroy aerial targets at a maximum of 9 km and a maximum range of 15 km. The SPYDER-MR has a greater operational range of 35 km and an altitude engagement of 16 km due to the missiles being equipped with boosters.

The Barak 8 is an Indo-Israeli surface-to-air missile (SAM), designed to defend against any type of aerial threats including aircraft, helicopters, anti-ship missiles, and UAVs as well as ballistic missiles, cruise missiles, and fighter aircraft. The missile has a maximum speed of Mach 3 with a maximum operational range of 70 km, which was later increased to 100 km.