Following the signing of the Abraham Accords, Israeli defence companies continue to make inroads into the UAE market with Rafael Advanced Defence Systems opening a new office in the UAE.
Ahead of its participation at IDEX and NAVDEX this week in Abu Dhabi, Rafael’s President & CEO Major Gen. (Ret.) Yoav Har-Even inaugurated the new office in an intimate ceremony with Emirati and Israeli officials, ushering in the historic occasion. Har-Even was joined by Amir Hayek, Israel’s Ambassador to the UAE, as well as by representatives from the UAE government and industry.
“We are encouraged by yet another concrete step in strengthening RAFAEL's ties with the UAE,” Maj. Gen. Har-Even stated. “We can now say that we have built the bridge to the United Arab Emiratesby this inaugural investment and are excited to continue to expand the relationships that have been cultivated thus far."
The new era officially commenced at the Dubai Air Show of 2021 and RAFAEL has since continued building and deepening ties with the region based on a shared vision of staying at the cutting-edge and finding the most advanced solutions to the threats that effect the region.
RAFAEL's new office will enable the company to explore opportunities in the region. The Abu Dhabi office joins the ranks of RAFAEL's global network of operations.
At IDEX 2023, where Rafael is exhibiting only for the second time following the normalization of relations with Arab countries, it will exhibit an array of defence solutions, including the IRON BEAM high energy laser weapon system (HELWS). The IRON BEAM HELWS is designed to augment the capabilities of air defense systems like the IRON DOME.
Another first at the UAE-based exhibition will be RAFAEL's NLOS Mission Task Force (NMT), which uses the “world's first sixth generation missile”, the SPIKE NLOS. This will be displayed at the RAFAEL booth alongside manned and unmanned systems supported by Artificial Intelligence, counter-UAS systems such as RAFAEL's TYPHOON RCWS, which the company said had successfully demonstrated Counter-UAS (C-UAS) capabilities in a series of tests and scenarios last month.
In September 2022, the United Arab Emirates (UAE) selected the Rafael’s Spyder air defence system in an initial contract valued at $460 million. The Spyder is a low-level, quick-reaction surface-to-air missile system capable of engaging aircraft, helicopters, unmanned air vehicles, drones, and precision-guided munitions. It provides air defence for fixed assets and for point and area defence for mobile forces in combat areas.
The Spyder uses two advanced air-to-air missiles developed by Rafael for the air defence mission. In some configurations, the missiles have been equipped with boosters to enhance their range. An official release from Rafael points to the fact that the Spyder systems have advanced electronic countermeasure capabilities and use electro-optical observation payloads as well as wireless data link communication.
The UAE’s interest in the Israeli-made system began soon after the signing of the Abraham Accords. The UAE needs an effective system that can protect it from armed UAVs and drones launched by Houthi rebels in Yemen. Unlike Saudi Arabia the UAE is part of the Abraham Accords and therefore the deal was approved.