Defense Digest - July 2008

AIPAC Homeland Security Monitor
A Summary of Key Articles Highlighting the U.S.-Israel Strategic Relationship
1. U.S., Israel Unveil New Advanced UAV 2. U.S. Trains Pilots Using Israel-Developed Equipment 3. U.S. Navy Chief Visits Israel 4. Boeing Selects Israeli Company for Radar Training 5. U.S., Israeli Companies Team Up on Rocket-Laser 6. U.S. to Sell Combat Ships to Israel FPO photo

The U.S. Air Force trained with planes equipped with the Israeli-developed LITENING Targeting Pod. Read more...



1. U.S., Israel Unveil New Advanced UAV
U.S. and Israeli defense companies recently demonstrated the use of an advanced unmanned aerial vehicle (UAV) to representatives of the U.S. military at Redstone Arsenal in north Alabama, The Earth Times reported. The Israeli-developed Skylark II UAV provides not only near-silent reconnaissance but gives a battalion-level option to the military. Experience gained by the Israeli Defense Forces in its recent conflict with Hizballah forces in Lebanon weighed heavily in the development of the Skylark II.

2. U.S. Trains Pilots Using Israel-Developed Equipment
The Air Force conducted training for pilots and joint terminal air controllers for the first time with new A-10C Thunderbolts II’s equipped with Israeli-developed LITENING targeting pods, Air Force Times reported. The addition of the LITENING targeting pod -- a multi-sensor device attached beneath an aircraft to provide it with enhanced precision strike and navigation capabilities – is a major upgrade in avionics for the A-10. “The upgrade in the avionics goes from 1970s technology and puts it on par with the advanced fighters like the strike eagles,” said Maj. James Krischke who flew one of the A-10Cs in the exercise. “It’s like trading in a ’78 Chevelle for a ’05 BMW.”

3. U.S. Navy Chief Visits Israel
Chief of Naval Operations Admiral Gary Roughead recently visited Israel for the first time, strengthening the partnership between the two countries’ naval forces, the Navy said in a statement. “This is an important visit because of the close relationship between our nations and our navies,” said Roughead. While in Israel, Admiral Roughead visited key naval facilities and met with Israel’s Navy Commander, Vice Admiral Eli Marum. Roughead said he looks forward to future visits with the Israel Navy, as well as other maritime partners throughout the world.

4. Boeing Selects Israeli Company for Radar Training
Boeing has selected Israel’s Elbit Systems to supply realistic radar training for the U.S. Navy’s T-45 Training System, reported. The training system, known as Virtual Mission Training System (VMTS), will “enrich the undergraduate military flight officer's weapons-and-tactics curriculum, producing flight officers who are better prepared to transition to carrier strike-fighter and electronic-attack duty," said Barbara Wilson, T-45 Training Systems director and program manager for Boeing. T-45 training systems are located at naval stations in Pensacola, Fla.; Kingsville, Tex.; and Meridian, Miss.

5. U.S., Israeli Companies Team Up on Rocket-Laser
The U.S. company Alliant Techsystems and the Israeli company Elbit Systems are teaming up to develop the Guided Advanced Tactical Rocket - Laser (GATR-L), Reuters reported. The system will provide “affordable precision strike capability for all fixed-wing, rotary-wing, and Unmanned Aerial Systems platforms,” according to a statement released by the companies. The 70mm rockets employ a laser guidance system to achieve a higher lever of accuracy. Tests are currently being conducted by both companies.

6. U.S. to Sell Combat Ships to Israel
The Pentagon notified Congress that it plans to sell to Israel shore-Littoral Combat Ships, spare parts, software and other goods and services worth as much as $1.9 billion, Reuters reported. “It is vital to the U.S. national interest to assist Israel to develop and maintain a strong and ready self-defense capability,” the Defense Security Cooperation Agency, which oversees foreign arms sales, said in a statement. “This proposed sale is consistent with those objectives.” Israel spends some three-quarters of the security assistance it receives from America on military purchases such as ships and fighter jets, which allow Israel to meet increasing threats.


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