The defence relationship between Singapore and Israel has been highlighted during a visit by the city-state's prime minister Lee Hsien Loong to Israel this week.

“We have a long and deep relationship between Singapore and Israel,” Lee said before meeting Israeli Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu in Jerusalem. “But really it all started with a defence relationship. The IDF [Israel Defence Force] helped us to build up the Singapore armed forces when other countries turned us down.”

Israeli sources believe the high-profile nature of the visit could prompt further sales of aircraft and other systems made by the nation's companies to Singapore.

Singapore operates Israeli-made unmanned air vehicles like the Elbit Systems Hermes 450, and an airborne early warning and control derivative of the Gulfstream G550, supplied by Israel Aerospace Industries' Elta Systems division.

Singapore has indicated it has additional requirements, including for aerostat-carried long-range radar systems, additional UAVs – including in the mini weight category – and other systems to be employed by its air force.