Israel possibly selling Iron Dome air defense system to UAE
As reported by Debbie Mohnblatt/The Media Line in The Jerusalem Post, Israeli President Isaac Herzog arrived in Abu Dhabi on Sunday, January 30, for a historic two-day visit at the invitation of UAE Crown Prince Mohamed bin Zayed Al Nahyan. It was the first time that an Israeli presidential airplane had flown over Saudi Arabia. The possible sale of Rafael's Iron dome air defense system might be at stake.
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The Iron Dome was tested through a range of complex scenarios and successfully intercepted and destroyed targets, simulating existing and emerging threats, including the simultaneous interception of multiple UAVs, as well as a salvo of rockets and missiles. (Picture source: Rafael)
Over the past few weeks, the UAE has been subject to missile and drone attacks from the Houthis, an Iran-backed rebel group in Yemen. The Israeli president’s visit likely has concrete implications. Prof. Steven Wright from the Middle Eastern Studies Department at Hamad Bin Khalifa University in Doha, Qatar, said “There is every reason to think the UAE will look at Israel’s Iron Dome defense system and consider how its own defense sector can collaborate with Israel to achieve a similar level of protection from Iran and the Houthis”, Debbie Mohnblatt reports.
But Sawsan Hasson, director of the Middle East Economic Relations Department in Israel’s Foreign Ministry, told the Media Line, “The mere fact of the visit by Israel’s ‘first citizen,’ the president, is a tangible outcome. There are no agreements to be signed”. When asked about the possibility of Israel supplying the UAE with an anti-missile defense system, she declined to comment.
The Iron Dome is a mobile all-weather air defense system developed by Rafael Advanced Defense Systems and Israel Aerospace Industries. The system is designed to intercept and destroy short-range rockets and artillery shells fired from distances of 4 kilometers to 70 kilometers away and whose trajectory would take them to an Israeli populated area.
The Iron Dome was deployed for the first time by the Israeli army in March 2011. On 7 April 2011, after deployment as an "operational experiment" on 3 April, the Iron Dome system in the area of Ashkelon successfully intercepted a Grad rocket fired at the city, the first time a short-range rocket fired from Gaza had been intercepted. According to reports from the area, the interception could be seen in Israeli towns near northern Gaza.