File image. An Iron Dome missile defense system fires an interceptor at a target during an exercise in 2021. (Photo credit: Israeli Ministry of Military Affairs)
The Cypriot Department of Defense (DoD) has reportedly agreed to fulfill the operational demands of the National Guard to acquire Israel’s Iron Dome air defense system.
Greek daily newspaper Kathimerini reported on 19 August that the Cypriot DoD took the decision to finalize the deal with Tel Aviv earlier this summer.
Kathimerini quotes an unnamed official who confirmed that final agreement has been inked but they are yet to publicly announce the deal and delivery date.
The Israeli short range air defense system (SHORAD) is currently the best fit for Cyprus’s operational needs, and can counter the threats it considers most pressing.
Over the past couple of years, the Cypriot air defense units have expressed concern over the threat posed by the Turkish made Bayraktar family of drones.
In March of 2021, Greek news agency SIGMA reported that Cyprus is in advanced negotiations with Israel to purchase Iron Dome batteries.
Together with their Israeli counterparts, the Cypriot officials conducted research on how to best set up the system on the island to meet its security requirements.
As a result of this interest, the head of the National Guard, Lt. Gen. Dimokritos Zervakis, visited Israel last March to inspect the system in preparation to purchase it.
“During his visit to Israel, the general will receive a briefing at the northern border and will visit an Iron Dome air-defense system battery,” the Israeli army said in a statement.
However, it is unclear how this deal would impact the current Turkish-Israeli relationship, considering that Cyprus is trying to undermine the Turkish Republic of Northern Cyprus, according to Israel Hayom newspaper.
On 17 August, Israel and Turkey announced their official normalization of ties and full restoration of diplomatic relations, returning their ambassadors to Tel Aviv and Ankara.
This comes after several years of tensions and a gradual reconciliation over the past several months.