Defense Digest January 2017

Defense Digest
January 2017

This month, the development and deployment of Israel’s multi-layered defense shield took a major step forward. The mid-range David’s Sling missile interceptor was successfully tested and the long-range Arrow-3 missile defense system was declared operational (AP/Ministry of Defense).

Israel Declares Arrow-3 Missile Defense System Operational

On Jan. 18, Israel declared the Arrow-3 missile defense system operational—a significant milestone in the development and deployment of Israel’s multi-layered missile defense shield. “It is a new era in Israel’s multi-layered defense system,” said Director of Israel Missile Defense Organization Moshe Patel. The Arrow-3 system—researched, developed and funded through joint U.S.-Israel cooperation—is designed to shoot down long-range ballistic missiles outside the earth’s atmosphere, including nuclear, biological and chemical warheads. This powerful new defense shield is the most advanced element of Israel’s multi-layered air defense array, which also includes Iron Dome short-range interceptors and the David’s Sling system for medium-range missiles. “The advent of the Arrow-3 as an operational system of the air force is a significant step up in the air defense of the State of Israel, and along with the Arrow-2 will reduce any chances of any harm to the State of Israel,” said the Israeli Defense Ministry.

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U.S., Israel Conduct Successful Test of David’s Sling Missile Defense System

On Jan. 25, the U.S. Missile Defense Agency (MDA) and Israel’s Missile Defense Organization successfully conducted a fifth series of tests—including live interceptions of multiple targets—of the David’s Sling Weapon System in Israel. Jointly developed by the U.S. defense company Raytheon and Israel's Rafael Advanced Defense Systems Ltd., David’s Sling can intercept short-range to medium-range rockets and ballistic missiles, including guided projectiles, cruise missiles, aircraft, and drones. The system is a central element of Israel’s multi-tiered, layered missile defense architecture. According to MDA Director Vice Adm. James Syring, the test is a “critical step in ensuring Israel has the capability to defend itself from a very real and growing threat.” In 2016, the United States and Israel began delivering major components of David’s Sling to the Israeli Air Force.

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Former NATO Commander Calls for Closer U.S.-Israel Military Alliance

In a Jan. 5 TIME Magazine opinion piece, Adm. James Stavridis, former Supreme Allied Commander at NATO and current Dean of the Fletcher School of Law and Diplomacy at Tufts University, called for the United States to deepen its military partnership with the Israel Defense Forces (IDF) to address common challenges. Adm. Stavridis specifically noted that the fields of cybersecurity, technology and innovation, and intelligence cooperation offer the greatest potential for bilateral cooperation. He also cited his experience as commander of the U.S. European Command, in which he witnessed firsthand the IDF’s “world-class” military culture and ethos. According to Adm. Stavridis, “For the U.S. in the complex Middle East, we would be well served to follow the Israeli military's advice on a range of key issues. And likewise, they would benefit greatly from further intelligence, technology and partnership with the U.S. It truly is a case of two nations that are unarguably stronger together--let's build on what we have to get to the next level.”

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Senior U.S. Naval Delegation Visits Israel

Adm. Michelle Howard, commander of the U.S. Naval Forces Europe-Africa and NATO Allied Force Joint Command, recently led a delegation of U.S. naval officers to Israel. The group met with Adm. Eliyahu Sharvit, commander of the Israeli Navy, and visited an Israeli naval base in Haifa. In addition to sailing on an Israeli Saar 5 missile carrier, the delegation received strategy briefings on naval developments in the region and the Israeli Navy’s capabilities to counter growing threats. The visit highlights the positive bilateral ties between the two navies.

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Israel, Oshkosh Defense Conclude $200 Million Contract for Tactical Vehicles

The Israeli Ministry of Defense and Oshkosh Defense recently concluded a contract for Israel to acquire 200 Family of Medium Tactical Vehicles. Valued at $200 million, the contract will allow Israel to replace its outdated, 60-year-old tactical truck force. “We’re talking about an initial deal, after which the defense establishment is expected to decide to acquire hundreds more trucks until our entire antiquated fleet is replaced,” stated the Israeli Ministry of Defense on Jan. 11. The order will be paid through U.S. Foreign Military Financing grant aid.

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