(Photo Credit: AP)
Reuters reported that Israel signed a $400 million contract with Greece to provide Spike anti-tank missiles classified to Athens, according to Tel Aviv’s Defense Ministry on 10 April.
The Spike defense missiles are commonly used by several members of the US-led military alliance NATO and the EU, used by a total of 19 countries, and manufactured by the Israeli contractor Rafael.
The Times of Israel indicated that over 34,000 missiles of various models have been sold abroad, with 6,000 missiles already being fired. The Rafael contractor claims the Spike missiles have been fired from 45 land, air, and sea locations. The missiles have an extended range of 50 kilometers.
The CEO of Rafael, Yoav Har-Even, affirmed that the Spike missiles would bolster the capabilities of Greece’s military and expects an “expansion through strategic collaboration in the near future” between Athens and Tel Aviv.
The Israeli Defense Ministry further reiterated that the arms deal would reinforce relations between the two nations.
In a similar case, earlier this month, the Finnish government disclosed that it seeks to purchase David’s Sling missile defense systems from Israel in a deal valued at $344 million.
The announcement came a day after Finland joined the US-led military alliance NATO, becoming its 31st member after having their bid blocked by Turkiye and Hungary in early 2022.
Over the past few years, several regional and international countries, such as Azerbaijan and the UAE, have reached out to Israel to purchase its air defense systems.
According to the Israeli-based news outlet Haaretz, since ties between Tel Aviv and Baku were strengthened in 2011, the two regional countries engaged in a $1.6 billion deal, where Azerbaijan purchased a battery of Barak missiles as well as Searcher and Heron drones from Israel Aerospace Industries (IAI).
Baku has also received advanced spy technology – the controversial Pegasus spyware from the notorious Israeli cyber arms NSO Group – and has received 70 percent of its weapons arsenal from Israel.
In December 2022, Bahrain, the UAE, and Israel hosted bilateral meetings to work towards setting up joint cyber defenses, with the plan calling to equip themselves with a so-called ‘Cyber Iron Dome.’
After normalizing relations with Tel Aviv in 2020 following the signing of the Abraham Accords, Bahrain and the UAE accounted for $791 million out of $11.3 billion of Israeli arms exports, constituting seven percent of Israel’s weapons sales in 2021.