Defense Digest May 2016

Defense Digest
May 2016

Israel recently conducted an interception test of short-range rockets with a new sea-based version of the Iron Dome rocket defense system. (Photo: Israel Defense Forces).

Israel Successfully Tests Sea-Based Iron Dome System

Israel successfully conducted an interception test of short-range rockets with a new sea-based version of the Iron Dome rocket defense system. Marketed by Israeli developer Rafael as C-Dome, the system was tested on one of Israel’s Sa’ar-5 corvette-class surface vessels using existing radar systems. According to Col. Ariel Shir, the Israeli Navy’s head of combat systems development, the new sea-based defensive system will protect Israel’s offshore energy assets. “All the threats shot toward our assets were targeted by the Adir radar—one of the most advanced naval radars that exists today—and interception was accomplished by Iron Dome,” said Col. Shir. He also stated that the Israeli Navy hopes to equip new Sa’ar 6 combat ships under contract with Germany’s ThyssenKrupp Marine Systems with the new system.

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Israel Begins Testing F-35 Weapons Systems

Israel has begun testing domestic weapons systems that will be carried by its Lockheed Martin-made F-35 fighter jets. Some of the adaptations include Spice precision-guided bombs and infrared- and radar-guided air-to-air missiles. Israel is set to receive its first F-35 on Dec. 12, 2016, with additional deliveries to follow over several years. In addition to being adapted with locally-made weapons systems, the F-35s will also be equipped with Israeli electronical systems that will enhance the jet’s overall intelligence capabilities. According to an unnamed Israeli defense source, “The Israeli air force's F-35s will have operational capabilities that are unique and tailored to answer Israeli needs.”

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Israel to Open NATO Office in Brussels

On May 4, the North Atlantic Treaty Organization (NATO) agreed to allow Israel to open a diplomatic mission to its headquarters in Brussels. The move will upgrade Israel’s relations with the western alliance, allowing ambassadors and attachés to have elevated access to military exercises, events and alliance-related procurement programs. “This is a goal that we have worked on for many years,” stated Israeli Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu. “The countries of the world are looking to cooperate with us due to—inter alia—our determined fight against terrorism, our technological know-how and our intelligence services.”

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U.S. Army Considers Procuring Iron Dome Interceptor

The U.S. Army is considering procuring Iron Dome’s “Tamir” interception missile, as part of Raytheon’s tender for an army rocket and missile defense system. If awarded to Raytheon, the nearly $1 billion bid would represent the first sale of the short-range Iron Dome rocket defense system outside of Israel. The Pentagon is seeking a defense system to protect its land forces from a variety of threats including rockets, drones and naval missiles. The U.S. Army recently completed a successful test of the Tamir interceptor against target drones at a test site in New Mexico.

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