UAE, Israeli firms team up on anti-drone technology

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Hind Al Soulia - Riyadh - The collaboration on a counter-drone system comes as Yemen’s Iran-aligned Houthi militias are stepping up cross-border missile and drone attacks on Saudi Arabia.

Saturday 13/03/2021

A file picture shows visitors looking at the Predator XP, a US Navy pilotless plane, on display during the International Defence Exhibition and Conference (IDEX) at the Abu Dhabi National Exhibition Centre. (AFP)

JERUSALEM – Israel Aerospace Industries (IAI) said on Thursday it would jointly develop an advanced drone defence system with the United Arab Emirates’ state-owned weapons maker EDGE, marking the first defense collaboration of its kind between the two countries.

Israel and the UAE formalised relations last year, brought closer by commercial interests and concern over Iran.

EDGE is “a young and disruptive company that has recently launched a series of Electronic Warfare solutions at a rapid pace. [It] is leveraging its subsidiary, SIGN4L, a leading provider of electronic warfare services and solutions for national security, to collaborate with the Israeli defense manufacturer to build the tailored C-UAS Solution,” the companies said Thursday.

IAI, recognised as a major Israeli defence firm, said that the companies will develop a Counter-Unmanned Aircraft System “tailored to the UAE market, with wider ranging benefits for the MENA region and beyond.”

The collaboration on a counter-drone system comes as Yemen’s Iran-aligned Houthi militias are stepping up cross-border missile and drone attacks on Saudi Arabia. In the past, Yemeni militias have threatened to launch strikes on the UAE.

The UAE had been Riyadh’s main partner in the Saudi-led military coalition that intervened in Yemen in March 2015 against the Iran-aligned group, but a senior Emirati official said in February that it had ended its military involvement in Yemen last October.

The war has been in a military stalemate for years and in 2019 the UAE scaled down its presence in Yemen following attacks that year on tankers in Gulf waters, including off its shores.

The UAE already has an advanced anti-missile interception system, the US Terminal High Altitude Area Defences (THAAD).

EDGE, tasked with supplying advanced weapons to the UAE armed forces, is focused on developing drones, unmanned vehicles, smart weapons and electronic warfare equipment rather than conventional weaponry.

 

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