Defense Digest April 2016

Defense Digest
April 2016

The U.S. Army completed a successful test of Iron Dome—Israel’s short-range rocket defense system—against target drones at a test site in New Mexico.

United States Army Successfully Tests Israel’s Iron Dome

The U.S. Army completed a successful test of Iron Dome—Israel’s short-range rocket defense system—against target drones at a test site in New Mexico in late April. The trial tested the Tamir interceptor from the U.S. Army’s Multi-Mission Launcher and was carried out in coordination with Rafael Advanced Defense Systems—the Israeli defense company that created Iron Dome—and Raytheon. “This is the first time that a trial of the Iron Dome interceptor against a drone target was held on U.S. soil,” reported Rafael. According to the Jerusalem Post, the Tamir struck and destroyed its target. Lt. Col. Michael Fitzgerald, who heads the interceptor program in the U.S. Army, said the successful trial was part of a program examining several air defense options to protect ground forces.

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Marine Corps Looks to Acquire Israeli “Trophy” Active Protection System

The U.S. Marine Corps plans to buy or lease an Israeli-developed Active Protection System (APS) for its M1 Abrams tanks to better defend against anti-tank missiles, according to Defense Daily. The service intends to test the Trophy APS, along with a number of other programs, in head-to-head exercises. Developed by Israeli defense firm Rafael Advanced Systems, Trophy is designed to neutralize incoming threats in flight. Lt. Gen. Robert Walsh, deputy commandant of the Marine Corps for combat development and integration said, “[We are] working very closely with the Army to develop active protection systems, we’re going to go out and try to buy or lease some Trophy systems that are out there…and we’re going to put those on our M1A1 tanks, take that, use it, see how it works.” During the 2014 Gaza conflict, Israeli tanks fitted with the Trophy system were able to successfully neutralize incoming projectile threats in urban settings.

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Missile Defense Agency Director Praises U.S.-Israel Defense Cooperation

In a series of hearings this month on Capitol Hill, Director of the Missile Defense Agency (MDA) Vice Adm. James Syring praised the importance of U.S.-Israel missile defense cooperation. Syring discussed how bilateral defense ties “most notably with Israel” has helped “strengthen and expand our national missile defense capabilities.” He also highlighted how military collaboration with Israel has played a role in generating American jobs. Regarding the successful December 2015 test of the short-to-medium range ballistic missile interceptor David’s Sling, the MDA Director stated that he is “very confident in the testing that we did, specifically with David Sling last year and the successes that they had with four successful intercepts late last year that the program is ready for production.” Recently, members of Congress from both parties have called to increase missile defense funding in the fiscal year 2017 budget.

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Israel Air Force Sets Date for Arrival of F-35 Fighter Jets

The Israel Air Force expects to receive its first two Lockheed Martin F-35I “Adir” fighter aircraft on Dec. 12, 2016, with another six to be delivered in 2017, Flightglobal reports. Israel has committed to purchasing 33 conventional take-off and landing F-35s from U.S. defense company Lockheed Martin. As part of the plane’s integration into the Israel Defense Forces, the Israelis will install unique systems to meet their air force’s operational requirements.

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United States, Israel Conduct Joint Air Force Drill in Greece

The air forces of the United States, Greece and Israel conducted a joint air force drill over the Mediterranean Sea in late April, the Jerusalem Post reports. The air force teams performed complex operations while simulating different scenarios, including long-range attack raids. The joint maneuvers were held to enhance cooperation and maintain aerial capabilities over the Mediterranean basin.

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