Report: Israel Supplying Saudis With Drone Technology

YERUSHALAYIM -
 In this March 7, 2007 file photo The Israeli army's Heron unmanned drone aircraft for surveillance missions flies during a display at the Palmahim Air Force Base, Israel. Israel's military has grounded a fleet of long-distance surveillance drones after a malfunction occurred in one over the Mediterranean Sea. (AP Photo/Ariel Schalit, File)
The Israeli army’s Heron unmanned drone aircraft for surveillance missions flies during a display at the Palmahim Air Force Base, Israel. (AP Photo/Ariel Schalit, File)

A Russian news outlet reported Thursday that Saudi Arabia was acquiring drone technology from Israel. According to RT, “Saudi Arabia announced that it is building a drone plant in cooperation with South Africa, but a well-known Saudi defense analyst claimed this is a guise to hide the clandestine purchases of aircraft from Israel.”

The report quoted the analyst as saying that “the report aims to hide the fact that Saudi Arabia intends to purchase drones from Israel via South Africa. Saudi Arabia buys Israeli drones through South Africa. These drones later arrive from South Africa, dismantled, to Saudi Arabia, where they are assembled,” he said.

The analyst is known on social media sites as “Mujtahid.” According to the report, he has proven to be an accurate source of information about goings-on in Saudi Arabia, and especially within the Saudi royal family, for over a decade.

This is not the first time that reports have surfaced regarding Israeli-Saudi military cooperation. Recent reports have claimed that Israel supplied the Saudis with intelligence about the movements of Islamic State terrorists in the Middle East, and on other matters as well. Both countries have either denied or ignored reports in the past.

Israel is one of the world’s leading countries in the production of drones. On Tuesday, Israeli defense technology firm Rafael announced that it had entered into a partnership agreement with India defense giant Reliance. The deal is worth about $10 billion, the companies said in a joint statement. Presumably that deal would include advanced drones, as Rafael is a leading producer of drones in Israel.