The Arrow-3, a ballistic missile defense interceptor jointly developed by the United States and Israel, passed its first flight test, SpaceNews.com reported. A U.S. Missile Defense Agency press release hailed the test of the exoatmospheric interceptor as a major milestone that can provide “confidence in future Israeli capabilities to defeat the developing ballistic missile threat.” The interceptor is developed by Boeing and the Israeli defense company Israel Aerospace Industries, with funding from both America and Israel.
During his recent visit to Israel, President Obama signaled support for a ten-year plan that would provide Israel with up to $40 billion in military aid starting in 2017, when the current aid package expires, Defense News reported. At a press conference with Israeli Prime Minister Benyamin Netanyahu, the president stated that Washington has a “solemn obligation” to safeguard Israel’s “non-negotiable” security. President Obama also reiterated his support for Iron Dome missile defense funding and endorsed the approximately $200 million in 2013 funding for the program.
Secretary of Defense Chuck Hagel plans to visit Israel in April, Defense News reported. “I look forward to strengthening relations between Israel and the United States in light of the common challenges that we face and to strengthen our personal relationship,” Secretary Hagel said. Israeli Minster of Defense Moshe Yaalon congratulated Secretary Hagel on his appointment and welcomed the news about his intended visit.
The United States and Israel conducted a joint naval drill earlier in the month, Agence France Presse reported. The drilled, called Noble Dina, included Greek participation and was one of the Israeli Navy’s annual scheduled exercises. An Israeli military statement said the joint naval drill is “part of the security cooperation between the Israeli navy and foreign naval forces,” and is viewed by the Israeli military as “as an opportunity for mutual learning and for strengthening of the cooperation with its allies.”
Elbit Systems of America (ESA), a subsidiary of the Israeli based Elbit defense company, has been awarded a $50 million contract to provide logistical support for the U.S. Navy aircraft training program, Globes reported. The contracted has been awarded through BAE Systems and is expected to be undertaken over a five year period. “At ESA, our mission is to develop innovative solutions that protect and save our warfighters' lives,” Elbit Systems of America President and CEO Raanan Horowitz said. “With this opportunity we are providing mission capable, safe-for-flight aircraft for our nation's warriors as they train for the future.”