Israel Will Supply ‘Airborne Defense Systems’ To The UAE To Guard Its Airbus A330 Multi-Role Aircraft Against EW Attacks

Israeli firm Elbit is set to supply defense systems to the United Arab Emirates (UAE) amid a growing bonhomie between the two nations. The move comes weeks after Israeli Prime Minister Naftali Bennett’s maiden visit to the Emirate.

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Elbit Systems said that its UAE subsidiary had been awarded a contract to deliver airborne defense systems for UAE Air Force tanker aircraft, reported The Jerusalem Post.

The Elbit Equipment Emirates will supply Direct Infrared Countermeasures (DIRCM) and airborne Electronic Warfare (EW) systems to the UAE Air Force’s Airbus A330 Multi-Role Tanker Transport Aircraft under a $53 million contract.

“Elbit Systems views the UAE as an important market and believes that this contract award further highlights the technological advantage and maturity of the solutions offered by the company in this field,” read a statement released by Elbit.

Israel Prime Minister Naftali Benett with UAE Foreign Minister Abdullah bin Zayed

The announcement comes a few weeks after Israel’s Prime Minister made a historic visit to the UAE in a bid to enhance diplomatic relations as the world leaders remain locked in talks with their common arch-foe, Iran. After the normalization of ties following the Abraham Accords, both countries had established their embassies in each other’s states. The Foreign Minister of Israel had made his maiden visit to the Emirati kingdom in June last year.

In mid-November, the Israeli defense company established a joint venture in the UAE in order to “foster a long-term cooperation with the UAE Armed Forces” and other operational needs.

The Abraham Accords, according to Elbit Systems’ executive vice president of international marketing and business development, offered a “strong platform for business relationships” with the UAE and other countries in the region.

Elbit will supply a multi-turret configuration of the J-MUSIC Self-Protection System, as well as an Infrared-based Passive Airborne Warning System (PAWS IR), as part of the deal, which will “offer high levels of protection and redundancy,” according to the company. The contract will be performed over a five-year period.

The J-MUSIC DIRCM and integrated PAWS IR are open-architecture systems that incorporate the latest laser technology, a high-frame-rate thermal camera, and a compact, dynamic high-speed sealed-mirror turret to defend against infrared missile threats.

Elbit’s DIRCM systems have flown over 350,000 hours and are installed on more than 25 different aircraft, including Lockheed Martin’s C130J, NATO’s Multinational Multi-Role Tanker Transport fleet, and many others.

File:United Arab Emirates Airbus A330 MRTT taking off at Manchester Airport  (2).jpg - Wikimedia Commons
File Image: United Arab Emirates Airbus A330 MRTT taking off at Manchester Airport – Wikimedia Commons

Elbit “is witnessing a growing demand for this type of self-protection capabilities in light of the rising threat that aircraft face from shoulder-fired anti-aircraft missiles”, the company said.

Directed IR Countermeasures

DIRCM (Directed IR Countermeasures) technologies from Elbit Systems are designed to protect aircraft from heat-seeking ground-to-air missiles. Advanced fiber laser technology is combined with a high frame rate thermal camera and a compact, highly dynamic mirror turret in these devices.

This cutting-edge combination provides effective, dependable, and cheap protection under all operational conditions and for all types of aircraft. The systems have an open architecture design that allows them to be readily integrated into any aircraft.

The Israeli government has chosen Elbit Systems’ DIRCM solutions to protect commercial Israeli airliners; the Italian Air Force has picked this system to protect the C27J, C130J, and AW101 helicopter platforms. Similarly, and the Brazilian Air Force has chosen Elbit Systems’ DIRCM solutions to protect the KC-390 aircraft.

PAWS For Emirati Defense

Passive Airborne Warning System (PAWS) gives an early warning about enemy missiles and manages onboard countermeasures automatically. It employs digital signal processing and algorithms to detect and track incoming missiles, identify potentially dangerous ones, issue audio-visual warning messages to the pilots, dispense flares, and cue-directional IR countermeasures.

The PAWS processing unit provides radar and laser warnings, as well as threat information to other EW and defensive avionics systems.

Passive Airborne Warning System (via Twitter)

PAWS infrared missile warning systems are mounted on a pylon over the F-16’s skin in a distributed configuration to provide a high likelihood of detection of the incoming missile’s lethal range.

PAWS provides early detection and quick response times, as well as a quick time-to-impact, low false alarm rate, performance in all weather and visibility conditions, enhanced situation awareness, stealth operation, hostile fire indicator to protect against light arms, automatic flare dispensing, and raw infrared video recording and navigation data capabilities in real-time.

In the backdrop of nuclear talks between Iran and the world powers, Israel which has been averse to the idea of lifting sanctions on Iran is making consistent efforts to court the Middle Eastern nations. The defense and trade ties between the two sides are expected to deepen further as Iran remains a common threat in the region.