Defense Digest- November 2016

Defense Digest
November 2016

Watch the U.S. Army train alongside Israeli soldiers to improve coordination and confront the joint challenge of urban combat (Source: Israel Defense Forces).

Israel Approves Purchase of Additional 17 F-35 Fighter Jets

On Nov. 27, Israel’s security cabinet unanimously approved the purchase of an additional 17 Lockheed Martin F-35 fighter jets, bringing the total number of the advanced fifth-generation aircraft on order to 50. At approximately $100 million per plane (not including maintenance and additional support equipment), the new order is estimated to cost Israel at least $1.7 billion. The first two F-35s are on track to be delivered by the end of 2016, with six to seven planes scheduled to arrive in each subsequent year.

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U.S. National Guard Chief Observes Israel’s Emergency Readiness

Earlier this month, the new U.S. National Guard Bureau chief traveled to Israel to observe Israeli advances in emergency response during a large-scale defense exercise run by the Israel Defense Forces (IDF) Home Front Command. In a three-day visit, Air Force Gen. Joseph Lengyel led a delegation of senior U.S. military and civilian advisors. The exercise—dubbed “Silver Jewel”—was conducted in Hadera, a city of approximately 80,000 inhabitants. IDF Home Front Command personnel trained emergency responders on how to alert and assist civilians near Israel’s northern border through drills at three locations: a working hospital, a real train struck by a vehicle, and a civic center with civilian volunteers that experienced a simulated chemical weapon attack. “The notion of civil defense was once a part of every American's daily life,” said Gen. Lengyel. “It's important to consider the need to be able to take care of ourselves and our neighbors.”

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Lockheed Martin Selects Elbit to Operate Israeli F-35 Training Center

Lockheed Martin, the prime contractor for the F-35 fighter aircraft, has selected Israeli defense company Elbit Systems to operate a new F-35 training center at Israel’s Nevatim airbase. The training center, which will include advanced simulators to instruct Israeli F-35 pilots, will be constructed over the course of the next year. Lockheed Martin praised its collaboration with Elbit on the project, stating: “Over the past three decades, the company [Elbit Systems] has acquired a great deal of experience in trainers and simulators, and is a world leader in high-tech display. Its advanced systems are in operational use by leading armies around the world.” Already involved in the F-35 program, Elbit Systems has been working with Rockwell Collins to develop the F-35 Helmet Mounted Display System. The helmet allows the pilot to have full situational awareness and rotate the missiles’ seeker by turning his or her head.

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U.N. Agency Recognizes Israel’s Military Field Hospital as “World’s Best”

On Nov. 9, the United Nation’s World Health Organization (WHO) awarded the Israel Defense Forces’ (IDF) field hospital with a Type 3 classification, the highest ranking possible that currently no other country has received, along with additional recognitions for the hospital’s work in specialized care. “Only a handful in the world could even think of” obtaining a Type 3 classification, according to Dr. Ian Norton, the lead author of the WHO’s classification system. The WHO will officially bestow this designation upon Israel at a ceremony in Hong Kong at the end of the month, enshrining Israel’s position as a global leader in emergency medicine and granting the IDF preferential access to disasters in the future. Last month, a WHO delegation visited the field hospital in Israel to assess the eligibility of its emergency response teams. Israel has provided rescue and medical services after numerous natural disasters, including after earthquakes in Turkey in 1999, Haiti in 2010, and Nepal in 2015.

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Israeli Aircraft Technicians Travel to U.S. for F-35 Training

A group of Israeli air force technicians are set to visit Lockheed Martin’s assembly plant in Fort Worth, Texas to participate in a series of test flights of the F-35 fighter aircraft. The test flights are designed to help technicians improve maintenance of the F-35 and prepare pilots for combat missions. The Israeli technicians are also due to tour the Hill Air Force base in Utah to observe operational procedures for the aircraft.

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