Israeli IAI, Rafael Exhibit Military Equipment at Dubai Air Show

People visit the Israeli stand at the Dubai Air Show in Dubai, United Arab Emirates, Sunday, November 14, 2021. (AP Photo/Jon Gambrell)

Israel Aerospace Industries (IAI), a company that is completely state-owned by the government of Israel and Rafael will for the first time exhibit at the Dubai Airshow taking place from November 14-16.

The Defense Ministry sent an official delegation of Israeli defense contractors to the Dubai Air Show this month in a sign of the growing military ties between Israel and the United Arab Emirates after the two countries normalized relations last year.

A woman walks past a Beechcraft AT-6 Wolverine light-attack aircraft as crew install a device to its wing at the Dubai Air Show in Dubai, United Arab Emirates, Sunday, Nov. 14, 2021. The biennial Dubai Air Show opened Sunday as commercial aviation tries to shake off the coronavirus pandemic. (AP Photo/Jon Gambrell)

Seven Israeli firms, most of them state-owned, went to the defense exhibition in the Emirati capital, one of the premier weapons shows in the world. The delegation was led by Brig. Gen. (res.) Yair Kulas, the head of the Defense Ministry’s weapons exports department, Sibat.

“Opening a national Israeli booth in Dubai represents a new and historic element in the strengthening of ties between Israel and the United Arab Emirates. We are pleased with the opportunity to take part in this important exhibition and to present Israeli defense contractors’ advanced technological capabilities,” Kulas said in a statement.

Israel-U.A.E. ties have expanded in technologically-sensitive fields in the year since the signing of Abraham Accords, a deal brokered by the United States of America. For instance, the two countries signed a historic space exploration cooperation agreement at the 2020 Expo Dubai in October and will collaborate on the “Beresheet II” mission destined for the Moon.

While attending Dubai Airshow, IAI plans to expand its trategic collaboration in the region by signing new cooperation agreements with local companies and broadening existing partnerships that have been signed during the past year, including an agreement on cargo conversions with the UAE’s Etihad Engineering and on aircraft maintenance with Bahrain’s Gulf Air, amongst other.

As a leading global airshow bringing together the industry’s best companies and brightest minds, the Dubai Airshow provides IAI with the opportunity to come together with the UAE, the Gulf countries more broadly, and other global companies to share its innovative world-class solutions and develop new collaborations, IAI said in a statement.

People walk past the Israeli display during the Dubai Air Show in Dubai, United Arab Emirates, November 14, 2021.
(photo credit: REUTERS/STAFF)

“A year after the signing of the Abraham Accords, IAI is thrilled to participate in the Dubai Airshow and to broaden cooperation with business partners in the Gulf region,” said IAI CEO and President Boaz Levy.

“Already in the last year, IAI exhibited in Dubai CyberTech and in IAC Dubai, sharing our innovative cyber and space solutions. We believe that there are countless opportunities to work together, share our knowledge, and develop new defense and civilian solutions with our partners in the UAE and broader Gulf region, and together, to create a brighter future.”

Rafael Advanced Defense Systems displayed its “drone dome” that detects and destroys drones with lasers. Emirati defense officials were seen Sunday asking about the range and weight of the anti-drone system at the Israeli pavilion.

Israeli Air Force chief Amikam Norkin also attended the defense exhibition, taking part in a meeting of international air force commanders. On Sunday, he was seen speaking with German air force chief Ingo Gerhartz, with whom he’s developed close ties over the past two years, as well as the commander of the Royal Jordanian Air Force, Muhammad Hiyasat, and the head of the Emirati air force, Ibrahim Nasser Muhammad al-Alawi, whom Norkin hosted in Israel last month.

Rafael hopes showcase its aerial defense systems, as well as its satellite intelligence and communications systems, at this year’s expo. Among solutions being presented at the event is their MIC4AD command & control system – which optimizes resource management between defensive systems and is currently deployed by 28 air forces around the world – and SPYDER, a surface-to-air missile system designed to counter attacks by aircraft, helicopters, UAVs and precision-guided munitions.

The company has also launched a joint venture with G42, a leading artificial intelligence and cloud computing company based in Abu Dhabi.

“The cooperation that is growing and building between Israel and the United Arab Emirates after the Abraham Accords is a strategic asset,” Defense Minister Benny Gantz said, referring to the agreements mediated by the United States between Israel and a number of Arab countries.

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