Israel has agreed to sell the Rafael Spyder air defense system to the United Arab Emirates, Reuters revealed, citing sources.
The number of mobile interceptors requested has not been disclosed, nor if a delivery has already taken place. No official confirmation of the deal has been made, the outlet added.
The Gulf state requested the purchase in the “middle of summer” this year, Reuters reported, adding that the country has already acquired an Israeli counter-drone system.
Houthi Drone Strikes
The UAE requested the purchase following a series of missile and drone strikes by the Iran-backed Yemeni Houthi rebels in January and February, claiming the lives of three civilians in Abu Dhabi.
One of the strikes took place at an Abu Dhabi airport terminal under construction, injuring civilian workers.
US-supplied Terminal High Altitude Area Defense and Patriot air defense systems intercepted a majority of the targets.
Counters Low-Altitude Targets
According to Rafale, the system can intercept a range of aerial targets, including those flying at low altitudes.
This is the first such deal between the two countries since they resumed diplomatic relations in 2020. According to Reuters, the deal was struck when the US and Israel were pushing for Arab nations to link their air defense systems for better protection against Iranian air threats.
The proposal has been resisted by nations with no relations with Israel, though the rest “were synchronizing systems through remote electronic communication.”
The development comes on the heels of a reported deal between the UAE and Turkey for the purchase of 20 armed Bayraktar TB2 drones.