1. Ambassador Shapiro Tours Iron Dome Battery
U.S. Ambassador to Israel Dan Shapiro hailed U.S.-Israeli security cooperation during a visit to Israel’s Palmachim Airbase earlier this month, the Israel Defense Force reported. "I came to visit Palmachim to learn from the commanders here about Israel's capabilities. I enjoyed witnessing the results of a very impressive cooperation," said Shapiro. In August, Shapiro expressed similar sentiments after witnessing a test of the Iron Dome missile defense system, which can shoot down rockets fired by Hamas from Gaza to Israel. (See video above.)
2. U.S. Marines, IDF Soldiers Train Together in Urban Warfare
A company of U.S. Marines came to Israel for a month of intensive training in urban warfare, reconnaissance and target shooting, the Israel Defense Force reported. The month-long training is part of the cooperative program between the IDF ground forces and the U.S. Marine Corps in Europe. The Marines and IDF solders trained in several IDF facilities as part of the Urban Warfare Training Center. "By training here, we can better combat terrorism in any area and field," Hospital Corpsman HM1 Raymond Price said.
3. Israel Seeking Additional Squadron of F-35 Fighter Jets
The Israeli Air Force proposed to purchase approximately 20 more F-35 Joint Strike Fighters, The Jerusalem Post reported. The contract, which is part of the IDF multi-year procurement plan and is currently under review, would bring the approximate total number of F-35s to 40 by the end of the this decade. Before the first F-35s are delivered in 2017, the Israel Air Force will begin sending Israeli pilots to train with their American counterparts experienced with the F-35. The Israeli Air Force has also sent officers to work with Pentagon and Lockheed Martin officials to integrate Israeli technology into the fighter jet.
4. U.S. Army, IDF Increase Cooperative Training
The United States Army and the Israel Defense Force (IDF) will hold one of the largest joint training exercises in both countries’ histories in spring 2012, The Jerusalem Post reported. Named Austere Challenge, the exercise seeks to increase inter-operability between the U.S. Army and the IDF. “We are looking to increase relations and to expand training,” said Lt.-Gen. Mark Hertling, commander of the U.S. Army in Europe. The joint exercise’s ultimate goal is to establish an effective joint task force that would be operated should a large-scale conflict in the Middle East occur.
5. Raytheon, Rafael Enter Iron Dome Marketing Deal
Raytheon and Israeli company Rafael Advanced Defense Systems have completed a deal to market the Iron Dome weapon system in the United States, UPI reported. The collaboration between these two companies illustrates the utility of the Iron Dome – which was developed by Israel and partially funded by the United States – for both countries. “Iron Dome complements other Raytheon weapons that provide intercept capabilities to the U.S. Army’s Counter Rocket, Artillery and Mortar initiative at forward operating bases,” said Mike Booen, vice president of Raytheon Missile Systems’ Advanced Security and Directed Energy Systems product line.