Secretary of Defense Chuck Hagel praised the close ties between the United States and Israel on his first trip to the Jewish state as secretary of defense, emphasizing the need to remain close as challenges in the region continue to increase, The Times of Israel reported. His visit included strategic site visits and meetings with Defense Minister Moshe Ya’alon, President Shimon Peres, and Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu. “This is a time when friends and allies must remain close, closer than ever,” he said.
The Israeli Air Force is undergoing significant technological advancements, UPI reported. Israel has ordered 20 of the fifth generation fighter jets, with the hopes of eventually obtaining a total of at least 50 in order to create an all F-35 combat unit. The goal of the Israeli Air Force is to create a “digital network in the skies” where various components of the air force can integrate technology together. This concept, called network-centric warfare, will give pilots an enhanced view of the battlefield and will provide information in order to make strategic decisions.
Israel has developed a new technology that protects planes from missile threats, UPI reported. The system is designed to protect against shoulder-fired missiles that can be used against commercial aircrafts during takeoff and landings. The system is laser- based and uses a 240 degree dome that enhances the aircraft’s capabilities to overcome optical obstacles, excessive drag, and limited field of view. "There is no doubt that this technological breakthrough will arouse interest and widen new systems' boundary limitations for optical designers, allowing a whole new approach for systems capabilities,” said Benny Ballin, head of the Crystals Division at Rotem that developed this technology.
Roboteam, an Israeli company that develops robots that collect tactical intelligence, dispose of explosives, conduct search and rescue operations, and survey hazardous material spills, will open a new U.S. facility, the office of Governor Martin O’Malley of Maryland, reported. This announcement comes in the wake of the governor’s economic development mission to Israel, where three other Israeli companies announced they will also be opening facilities in Maryland. “Maryland is the best location for our Training and Customer Support Center,” said Shahar Abuhazira, CEO of Roboteam North America.. “We will benefit from the high-quality personnel there and by being so close to the key organizations we are working with.”
Israel Aerospace Industries recently unveiled a new tactical man-portable communications intelligence system, Globes reported. The geo-location system, which can be useful for the needs of both the IDF and U.S. troops in the region, allows combat units to perform mobile real time interception and gives them the capability to geo-locate hostile force communications. This innovation will significantly reduce the risk to friendly forces and will allow for rapid operational decision- making in the field.