Defense Digest - February 2016

Defense Digest
Defense Digest
February 2016

Israeli Defense Minister Moshe Ya'alon watches a drill in the combat information center during a tour of the USS Carney in Haifa, Israel, during the 2016 Juniper Cobra exercise (Photo: DoD).

Lockheed Martin Orders Additional F-35 Wing Sets from Israel

Lockheed Martin has ordered 40 more wings sets for the F-35 fighter aircraft from Israel Aerospace Industries (IAI) reports Globes. IAI has already been selected to deliver more than 800 pairs of F-35 wings, and has been producing the sets since 2015. IAI has developed a unique production line in Israel for the program, which requires advanced systems throughout all stages of the production process. Lockheed Martin F-35 program manager Jeff Babione praised the collaboration between the United States and Israel on the fighter jet program. “Lockheed Martin recognizes IAI's commitment to the F-35 program and understands the importance of the quality delivered by the IAI team,” Babione stated. “This order demonstrates our confidence in the continued performance and we look forward to continuing our healthy relationship long into the future.”

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U.S., Israel Begin Biennial Juniper Cobra Exercises

The United States and Israel began a weeklong ballistic missile defense drill as part of the biennial Juniper Cobra exercise, The Times of Israel reported. The Israel Defense Forces (IDF) is hosting 1,700 soldiers from the U.S. European Command (EUCOM) for military exercises, focusing on enhancing the interoperability between the two militaries and countering the growing threat from missiles and rockets. U.S. and Israeli military leaders both highlighted the importance of the joint drill, the eighth held since the exercise was launched in 2001, in enhancing the U.S.-Israel strategic relationship. “Support for Israel’s defense has been an integral part of U.S. policy in the region for decades, and this exercise has, and will continue, to directly support that policy,” said Maj. Gen. Mark Loeben, EUCOM Director of Exercises and Assessment.

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Israel Set to Receive Boeing KC-46 Refueling Aircraft

The United States has approved the sale of the KC-46 Pegasus refueling plane to Israel, according to Defense Industry Daily. The multi-mission KC-46, developed by Boeing, is able to fly long distances with the capability for in-flight refueling. Israel plans to add its own system modifications to the tanker planes. Israel’s current fleet of refueling planes is outdated and the procurement of the KC-46 is expected to significantly enhance Israel’s capabilities.

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Israeli Lawmakers Visit U.S. F-35 Facilities

Four members of the Israeli parliament’s Foreign Affairs and Defense Committee toured the Lockheed Martin headquarters in Washington, D.C., The Times of Israel reported. The lawmakers met with Lt. Gen. Chris Bogdan, who oversees the F-35 program, and discussed the fighter jet’s capabilities as well as Israel’s acquisition of the aircraft. Israel has purchased 33 F-35 fighter jets from the U.S., with the first two planes scheduled to be delivered to Israel by the end of this year.

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