Defense Digest - January 2012

AIPAC's Defense Digest
A Summary of Key Articles Highlighting the U.S.-Israel Strategic Relationship
IN THIS ISSUE JANUARY 2012
1. U.S. Approves $235 Million for Missile Defense Programs
2. U.S. and Israeli Air Force Commanders Meet in Israel
3. Israel Upgrades F-16 With Lockheed Martin Flight Control System
4. Israeli Defense Minister Praises U.S. Security Commitment
5. Israeli Defense Firm Awarded Contract for U.S. Air Force
FPO photo

The Arrow missile defense system remains a cornerstone of U.S.-Israel defense cooperation.
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1. U.S. Approves $235 Million for Missile Defense Programs

Congress has appropriated $235 million for U.S.-Israeli missile defense programs that enhance strategic cooperation between the two allies, YNet reported. The funded programs include David’s Sling, which aims to intercept medium- to long-range rockets and cruise missiles, and the Arrow 2 and 3 systems, which protect against long-range ballistic missiles. The approved funds are more than double the amount originally requested by the Pentagon, and will be matched by Israel.

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2. U.S. and Israeli Air Force Commanders Meet in Israel 
Lt.-Gen. Frank Gorenc, commander of America’s Third Air Force based in Germany, visited Israel for talks with Brig.-Gen. Doron Gavish, commander of the Israeli Air Force’s Air Defense Division, The Jerusalem Post reported. The two generals discussed a joint missile defense exercise scheduled for this spring. The drill—aimed at establishing a joint task force in the event of a large scale regional conflict—will involve the deployment of several thousand American soldiers in Israel.

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3. Israel Upgrades F-16 With Lockheed Martin Flight Control System
The Israeli Air Force will use equipment developed for the F-16I to upgrade its current F-16C/D fleet, Flight Global reported. A test proved that the more advanced flight control system for the F-16C/D is compatible with the older F-16 models. This improvement will follow several other upgrades that have been made to the fleet. Israel is planning to phase out some of its F-16s to make room for the F-35 Joint Strike Fighter.

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4. Israeli Defense Minister Praises U.S. Security Commitment  
Israeli Defense Minister Ehud Barak said that the “U.S. stands besides Israel in terms of its security more than ever before,” Haaretz reported. His statement came at a Hanukkah ceremony at the Efraim IDF base, where he was speaking about the threat of a nuclear Iran and how the United States and Israel are working together to meet that challenge. U.S. Secretary of Defense Leon Panetta echoed these sentiments, saying in an earlier interview that the United States shares Israel’s deep concerns regarding Iran’s pursuit of nuclear weapons. “The United States does not want Iran to develop a nuclear weapon,” Panetta said. “That's a red line for us and that’s a red line, obviously, for the Israelis.”
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5. Israeli Defense Firm Awarded Contract for U.S. Air Force    
The U.S. subsidy of Elbit Systems Ltd., an Israeli defense electronics company, has been awarded $38.5 million to upgrade the Wide Angel Conventional Head Up Displays on certain F-16’s, the company announced. These upgraded displays will improve pilot situational awareness by projecting critical mission data on a transparent surface in front of the pilot’s line of sight, rather than the traditional way of displaying the information in an instrument panel inside the cockpit.
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AIPAC's Defense Digest is a monthly summary of key articles highlighting the cooperative defense programs central to the strong and mutually beneficial strategic relationship between the United States and Israel. For more information on these issues, please contact AIPAC's defense team at defenseteam@aipac.org.