Satellite images reveal deployment of Israeli-made Barak air defence system in UAE

Satellite images reveal deployment of Israeli-made Barak air defence system in UAE
Satellite imagery has shown at least two Israeli-made Barak air defence systems in the UAE as the two countries ramp up their security cooperation.
2 min read
29 October, 2022
In April, ten Emirati cargo planes were spotted at the Nevatim Israeli Air Force Base [source: Getty]

The United Arab Emirates has purchased at least two Israeli-made Barak air defence systems to counter aerial attacks from Iran, satellite images have shown.

The Gulf State signed a deal to acquire Israel’s SPYDER anti-aircraft systems as well as an "unnamed air defence system" earlier this year, reported the Israeli newspaper Haaretz. This marked the firs weapons deal since the two countries normalised relations as part of the Abraham Accords.

Last week, unnamed Israeli defence sources quoted by news website Breaking Defense said the Barak air defence system had been deployed to the UAE. 

Satellite images shared on social media later revealed that two fully operational missile launchers were visible near the Al-Dhafra airbase, south of Abu Dhabi. 

"In April, I spotted almost a dozen UAE heavylifters landing Israeli AFbase to pick up something. wasn’t clear what it was back then, but we had our hunch," wrote journalist Avi Scharf on Twitter. 

"Recently, Google updated their satellite images of the UAE, to reveal the new deployment," he added.

Israel and Arab states who signed normalisation agreements with it in 2020 - the UAE, Bahrain, and Morocco -  have been ramping up their security cooperation. The UAE seeks to counter potential military threats from Iran and the Houthi group it supports in Yemen.

The Houthis launched a number of air attacks on the UAE in January and February. The UAE intervened in Yemen's conflict in 2015.

The Barak defence system, jointly developed with India, was originally created to protect naval ships from sea-to-sea missiles. But, it was later expanded to provide protection to gas fields and land-based strategic infrastructure from cruise missiles, ballistic missiles, planes and drones. 

The system is currently deployed by India and Azerbaijan. Morocco reportedly signed a deal to purchase the weapons this year. 

Palestinians have condemned the normalisation deals and increased cooperation between Israel and Arab states, saying that Israel is being rewarded while it continues its occupation and attacks in the West Bank and  siege of Gaza.