Since its August 2008 war with Russia, Georgia has sought to restore and improve its air-defense capabilities. The South Caucasus republic is consequently purchasing an advanced Israeli anti-aircraft system from a state-owned company, whose products were notably battle-tested against Russian aircraft in Syria.
Georgian officials signed an agreement on September 11, in Tbilisi, with representatives from the defense concern Rafael Advanced Defense Systems, a limited liability company of the Israeli Ministry of Defense. Specific details of the deal were not released, however.
Beyond the Russian government’s usual concerns about changes to military forces in post-Soviet countries, the contract has also raised anxieties in Moscow about the Israeli defense firm’s previous activities in neighboring Azerbaijan as well as the possibility that the experience of targeting Russian military assets in Syria will be incorporated into the specific systems provided to Georgia (Vzglyad, September 13).
The country purchased its first foreign air-defense components before the end of 2008—the Spyder medium-range air-defense system from Israel. This was supplemented in 2017 by France’s Mistral short-range air-defense system. Additionally, Ukraine sold long-range radars to Georgia (Argumenty Nedeli, September 14). (end of excerpt)
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