How Israeli Defense Firms Began to Dominate Central Europe

The Slovak Minister of Defense is acquisition of Israeli radar and the Czech Republic puts the unique defense technology of Israeli BIRD Aerosystems on its helicopters. The two deals, announced in late March, represent increased interest in Israeli defense systems from key countries in Central and Eastern Europe. Throughout Europe, Israel has seen success and interest in its systems from Spike anti-tank missiles to software-defined radio stations. The three Israeli defense giants, Rafael Advanced Defense Systems, Elbit Systems and Israel Aerospace Industries, are successful on the continent and in the United Kingdom.

On March 25, the Israeli Ministry of Defense announced the key radar deal. Slovakia’s interest in Israeli radar, which was built by Elta, a subsidiary of IAI, is based on the Czech Republic’s acquisition of the ELM-2084 multi-radar in 2019. It is the same radar known for its success with the Israeli Iron Dome air defense system. According to the details of Slovak decision Israel will supply 17 IAI radar systems to the Slovak Ministry of Defense in an agreement worth more than $ 170 million. Israeli Defense Minister Benny Ganz praised the deal. “Today we have reached a significant stage in the growing cooperation between the Israeli and Slovak defense industries. The new agreement primarily provides Slovakia with high-quality, sophisticated systems to maintain its national security, while strengthening the defense industry and creating many new jobs in Israel and Slovakia. ” he said.

The Slovak Minister of Defense stated that he highly appreciated the positive impact of this cooperation on the bilateral relations between our countries in the field of defense and security. “I believe we now have a solid foundation for our next cooperation.” This is the first agreement of its kind between the parties. The agreement includes the transfer of technology and knowledge from Israel to Slovakia, as well as industrial cooperation, Israel said. “The radar components will be manufactured in cooperation with the defense industry in Slovakia under the professional guidance of the IAI and the Ministry of Defense.”

Israel’s export defense body, SIBAT, sees the agreement as taking relations to the next level.

Jair Kulas, head of SIBAT, said the signing of this radar agreement would contribute greatly to both sides. “We thank the Slovak government for its confidence in the Ministry of Defense and our excellent defense industries, and look forward to further cooperation in both defense and civilian life.” The IAI said more than 150 of these radars have been sold worldwide. Advanced technologies will also help Europe as a whole by providing better coverage and defense that can be integrated Organization of the North Atlantic Treaty activities.

The Israeli IAI sees radars as their flagship. “Radar detects air threats, classifies them, calculates their threat level and provides basic data that allows systems to neutralize multiple threats simultaneously. In addition, these radar systems will be interoperable with NATO’s defense mechanisms, “the company said.

Along with this deal, BIRD’s deal with the Czech Republic is also important. This is part of the modernization of the Czech Air Force and Navy Mi-17. BIRD is the leading developer of anti-missile systems (AMPS) and air surveillance, information and surveillance (ASIO) solutions. On March 23, she announced that she had received a new contract from the Czech Republic. “Under the contract, BIRD Aerosystems will provide additional AMPS-MV systems with the patented MACS (missile approach confirmation sensor) for the Czech Air Force fleet Mi-17. This project is part of the overall modernization of the Czech Mi-17 transport helicopter fleet, ” said the company. The AMPS system already works on Mi-17 helicopters. It has also been used by similar helicopters elsewhere, including in Afghanistan.

“This contract comes after BIRD Aerosystems completely upgraded existing Czech AMPS systems earlier this year, which provided improved functionality for UV sensors for MILDS detection and MCDU Mission computers,” the company said. The system guarantees the absence of false alarms when detecting threats to aircraft and helicopters. This means that defense systems respond only when there is a real threat.

“We appreciate the confidence of our AMPS solution from the Czech Air Force, which has decided to purchase additional systems for its Mi-17 fleet. Equipped with BIRD’s AMPS-MV solution with the MACS sensor, they can rest easy knowing that their aircraft and crew are safe, even when flying automatically in the most complex conflict areas, “said Ronen Factor, co-chief. CEO and founder of BIRD Aerosystems.

AMPS provides protection against all surface-to-air missiles, as well as portable air defense systems (MANPADS) and lasers. “The AMPS system automatically detects, checks and prevents missile attacks by effectively using counter-baits (Flares and Chaff), which silence the missile’s IR finder and protect the aircraft,” the company said.

The two deals in key Central European countries are part of Israel’s broader presence. In Poland, Israel’s Rafael is proposing a solution to the country’s tank destruction program. In Spain, Israel’s Elbit has been chosen to supply radio stations. Finally, Raphael also recently sold it Tank trophy protection system to Germany.

Seth J. Franzman is a Jerusalem-based journalist with a doctorate. from the Hebrew University of Jerusalem. He is the executive director of the Middle East Reporting and Analysis Center and a writer at the Middle East Forum. He is the author of After ISIL: America, Iran and the struggle for the Middle East (forthcoming Gefen Publishing House). Follow him on Twitter @sfrantzman.

Image: Reuters