What is the “Blue Spear” Missile System Israel Denies Giving to Ukraine? – Israel’s Defense Ministry denied reports on Saturday that it had agreed to a request from Estonia to send Blue Spear land-to-sea missile systems to Ukraine.
Estonia purchased several Blue Spear missile systems from Israel Aerospace Industries in October of last year and has since requested authorization from Israel to transfer at least one of those systems to Ukraine.
Ukrainian reporter Rostyslav Demchuk claimed on Friday that Israel complied with Estonia’s request to transfer one of its Blue Spear missile systems to Ukraine, but both Estonia and Israel have denied the reports since.
What is the Blue Spear Missile System?
Blue Spear is a land-to-sea missile system in the Gabriel family of sea-skimming anti-ship missiles. The weapon is manufactured by Israel Aerospace Industries (IAI) and was first developed in the 1960s for the Israeli Navy.
The Blue Spear missile system was the result of a joint project by ST Engineering of Singapore and IAI. The partnership resulted in a joint venture company named Proteus Advanced Systems, which designs, develops, and manufactures the Blue Spear.
Proteus shared new video footage of the latest new missile system in February this year. The footage was accompanied by a statement explaining how both flight profile and mission execution were programmable by the missile’s operators, but can also be highly automated when necessary.
A fifth-generation surface-to-surface missile, the Blue Spear can be used in both fire-and-forget and fire-and-update modes – where “fire-and-forget” means firing and leaving the missile to locate the target itself, and “fire-and-update” means that operators can change the trajectory of the missile once it has been fired.
The missile system’s warhead uses a radar-homing seeker and beyond-line-of-sight technology to ensure that it achieves maximum accuracy even when GPS systems are disrupted. The missile is equipped with several systems designed to ensure that it can find a moving or stationary target, and the missile can strike targets as far away as 400km.
Why It Matters
Since the outbreak of the war, Israel refused to support Ukraine’s military efforts against invading Russian forces to quite the same extent as NATO countries. Israel enjoys positive diplomatic relations with both Russia and Ukraine, and Israeli Prime Minister Naftali Bennett even sought to mediate a peace agreement between the two countries.
False reports that Israel was willing to hand over weapons to Ukraine would hurt its diplomatic relationship with Russia.
In March, Bennett flew to Moscow to discuss the possibility of brokering a peace deal between the two countries. The Israeli leader described his country’s approach to the conflict as “measured and responsible.” Despite publicly pledging support to Ukraine, however, Israel has largely escaped public criticism from Russian leaders.
Following a trip to Europe just weeks into the conflict, Bennett described his work to facilitate peace between the countries as a “moral obligation.”
According to a May 3 report from Haaretz, Israeli officials are planning to expand aid to Ukraine by sending military assistance and supplies to the country. Israel is not expected to send any heavy artillery or weaponry but will take a “substantial step” in increasing its support to Ukraine.
Jack Buckby is a British author, counter-extremism researcher, and journalist based in New York. Reporting on the U.K., Europe, and the U.S., he works to analyze and understand left-wing and right-wing radicalization, and reports on Western governments’ approaches to the pressing issues of today. His books and research papers explore these themes and propose pragmatic solutions to our increasingly polarized society.