1. International Interest in Iron Dome Grows
International interest in Israel’s Iron Dome missile defense system has grown, Aviation Week reported. The system, which Israel expects to reach initial operational capability by May, has spurred other nations to realize its effectiveness in protecting forward operating bases, such as the bases in Afghanistan. In Israel, the system will protect the country’s borders with Gaza and Lebanon, which have been the source of terrorist rocket attacks in years past.
2. Israeli-Made Drones Command Afghan Skies
While the Israeli army is not directly involved in the war in Afghanistan, Israeli drones are playing a major role for many of the participating coalition forces, The Jerusalem Post reported. Five NATO member countries (Germany, Australia, Spain, France and Canada) operate Israeli made Unmanned Arial Vehicles (UAV) in Afghanistan. Germany and Australia are the latest to acquire the Heron UAV for their missions in theater. The Heron UAV is a medium altitude long endurance UAV that can remain airborne for more than 30 hours with a cruising altitude of 30,000 feet, and can carry a payload of 250 kg.
3. Israeli Company to Equip Marine Attack Helicopters
Elbit Systems of America, an Israeli subsidiary, has received a $15.6 million contract to equip U.S. Marine Corp AH-1W “Super Cobra” Attack Helicopters with its Tactical Video Data link (TVDL), the company announced. The TVDL will enhance the situational awareness and dissemination of critical information for the war-fighter. Pilots will be provided with live Unmanned Arial Vehicle video as well as targeting information. The “Super Cobras” are operating in both Iraq and Afghanistan.
4. U.S. European Command Deputy Visits Israel
The deputy commander of the U.S. European Command, Lt. General John D. Gardner, recently visited Israel for the first time as the guest of IDF Deputy Chief of the General Staff Maj. General Benny Gantz, the IDF reported. During his visit, Lt. Gen. Gardner visited top IDF officials and toured Israel’s Holocaust Museum in Jerusalem. He also visited the X-Band radar site that is being cooperatively operated by the U.S. Army and IDF.
5. IDF Adopting NATO Codification System
In a sign of the growing relationship between Israel and the western military alliance known as NATO (North Atlantic Treaty Organization), the IDF has decided to formally adopt the NTO Codification System (NCS), The Jerusalem Post reported. The NCS is a system used by NATO to identify and classify supplies of member nations. It is designed to facilitate cooperation between countries and organizations. “This will be beneficial for us in terms of cooperation and procurement,” a Logistics Corps officer explained.