Spain imports much more weapons from Israel than it exports to that country

Military programs that may be affected by the crisis between Spain and Israel

The diplomatic crisis between Spain and Israel could have repercussions in different areas, and one of them is defense.

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"Many of the technological patents of Spanish weapons are concessions from Israel. We will see the evolution. We are playing with our Defense and Security." They are words from General Dávila, written today on Twitter after meeting Hamas' gratitude to Pedro Sánchez for his hostile attitude towards Israel. If this diplomatic crisis escalates, some important military programs of the Spanish Armed Forces, which depend on Israeli companies, could be affected.

If this crisis ends up harming trade in weapons systems between both countries, the Spanish Armed Forces would be much more affected than the Israel Defense Forces, since Spain imports fourteen times more military material than it exports to that Middle Eastern country. In 2022, the Israeli industry exported 12,546 million dollars in weapons. The loss of its Spanish exports would not imply a significant loss for Israel, but Spain would see its access to an important military market with great technological relevance and on which we depend to a large extent closed.

The Spike LR2 with its case (Photo: Rafael Advanced Defense Systems).

One of the most recent Spanish military programs related to Israel is the supply of 168 Spike LR2 missile systems for the Army, a weapons system with a range of 5,500 meters and whose mission is to destroy armored vehicles. The LR1 version of this missile is used by the Army and the Navy. In addition, the Army Airmobile Forces (FAMET) also use the Spike ER version, with a range of 8,000 meters, a very important weapon for the Eurocopter EC-665 Tigre attack helicopters.

A Dragon VCR firing a Spike LR missile (Image: Escribano Mechanical and Engineering).

This missile is manufactured by the Israeli company Rafael Advanced Defense Systems, and any problem with this weapons system could affect another important Spanish defense project: the Dragon Wheeled Combat Vehicle (VCR). which aims to supply hundreds of armored vehicles to the Army to replace the already old BMR-600 and part of the M-113 fleet. Of the 348 Dragon VCRs of the first phase, 40 will carry turrets equipped with Spike missiles, in retractable mounts. The development of these turrets has been done specifically for this type of missile.

The SILAM (High Mobility Rocket Launcher System) of the Spanish Army (Image: Ministerio de Defensa).

Another important defense program that could be affected would be the High Mobility Rocket Launcher System (SILAM), the Army's future multiple rocket launcher. The project by Escribano Mechanical & Engineering and Expal combines a PULS launcher from the Israeli company Elbit Systems with an IVECO 6x6 truck. If Israel closed the access of this system to Spain, the Spanish Army would have no choice but to opt for the American M-142 HIMARS or other systems, with the Spanish SILAM project already underway.

A VAMTAC of the Army with a Cardom mortar (Photo: Outisnn).

Without leaving artillery systems, the Soltam Cardom mortars carried by some VAMTACs of the Army are also of Israeli origin, being manufactured by Soltam Systems, a subsidiary of Elbit Systems. On the other hand, Spain has also purchased 120 mm ammunition from the Israeli company IMI for its Leopard 2E battle tanks.

On the other hand, the Israeli company Rafael Advanced Defense Systems is also the manufacturer of the RCWS Samson turrets for the Army's RG-31 Mk5E Nyala vehicles. The Mini Samson version of these turrets will also equip the sapper version of the VCR Dragon (58 units in total).

An IAI Searcher drone from the Spanish Army (Photo: Ejército de Tierra).

Among other systems, the IAI Searcher unmanned aerial vehicle used by the Army (four units in total) is also manufactured in Israel, as are Orbiter 3B drones, smaller in size. In addition, the Israeli company Elbit Systems is also the supplier of some of the communications systems used by the Army.

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