May 9, Chairman of the Joint Chiefs of Staff Gen. Joseph Dunford was awarded a Medal of Appreciation during his two-day visit to Israel. Israel Defense Forces Chief of Staff Lt. Gen. Gadi Eisenkot honored
the American general for his personal leadership in strengthening U.S.-Israeli defense cooperation. Gen. Dunford and Israeli Defense Minister Avigdor Lieberman subsequently met
to discuss a range of regional issues, such as “the tri-border region” where Israel, Jordan and Syria come together and the Islamic State (ISIS) has a growing presence. Gen. Dunford also met with Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu in Jerusalem. “We have a great alliance between Israel and the United States and a great alliance between our militaries. We appreciate it and we know that this alliance is good now not only for security but for peace,” said Prime Minister Netanyahu. This trip marks Gen. Dunford’s third visit to the Jewish state as Chairman of the Joint Chiefs of Staff.
an annual gathering of air power professionals in Israel on May 4, U.S. Air Force Gen. (Ret.) Gary North, Lockheed Martin’s vice president for customer requirements, praised
Israel’s contribution to the F-35 program. “There’s a part of Israel in every F-35 that’s ever been built,” he said. According to North, Lockheed Martin has already contracted more than $1 billion for the F-35 aircraft in Israel, a figure which is expected to rise above $4 billion throughout the lifetime of the program. He specifically cited the fighter jet’s helmet-mounted display system produced in partnership by Rockwell Collins and Israel’s Elbit Systems, the wing sets made by Israel Aerospace Industries, and the aerostructures manufactured by Elbit’s subsidiary Cyclone.
The U.S. Army employed innovative Israeli technology that extracts
water from air during a five-day disaster relief simulation in Indianapolis and Chicago from May 8-12. Created by the firm Water-Gen, the technology traps, cleans and dries humid air, resulting in clean water. In the drill, disaster relief volunteers had access to Water-Gen’s medium-sized 350-gallon model water generators. The devices provided water to both simulated relief workers and simulated disaster victims “trapped” in buildings felled by tornadoes. “This experience is invaluable for us, from the training with military personnel to the understanding of how all the emergency organizations work together,” said Maxim Pasik, chairman of Water-Gen.
The U.S. and Israeli Air Forces completed a joint training exercise held out of Israel’s Uvda Air Base from May 7-17. The ten-day exercise—known as Juniper Falcon—simulated
a variety of different operational scenarios with a focus on destroying mobile enemy targets, such as anti-aircraft missiles. The American and Israeli pilots also practiced evading enemy fighter jets and aerial defensive measures. “This is a great opportunity for us work with our Israeli partners to exchange ideas and concepts and the meaningful cultural aspect that comes with those discussions,” said Maj. Libby Music, the U.S. Air Force 37th Airlift Squadron detachment commander. The exercise brought together U.S. airman from across the U.S. European Command. Later this year, Israel will host its largest aerial exercise—known as Blue Flag—which will bring to Uvda Air Base seven air forces from around the world.
The U.S. Naval Academy and the Israeli Navy established
an exchange program, in which cadets in the Israel Defense Forces’ elite Naval Officers Course will travel to the U.S. Naval Academy in Annapolis, Maryland. American cadets will spend several months in Israel to train and study alongside Israeli soldiers at the University of Haifa. The program will also include cultural and language immersion programs. “We are doing this program to share information and knowledge,” a senior Israeli Navy officer stated. “It’s easier to break barriers, including language barriers, because of our profession. There are no borders in the sea.”
U.S. State Department approved a possible sale to the Israeli Navy of 13 76mm rapid-fire naval guns, in a deal estimated to be worth $440 million. According to a release
by the Defense Security Cooperation Agency, “The proposed sale will improve Israel’s capability to meet current and future threats in the defense of its borders and territorial waters.” The naval guns, sold by U.S. defense company DRS, will be installed on Israeli Navy Sa’ar 4.5 and Sa’ar 6 Missile Patrol Boats. The foreign military sale would be financed through U.S. military aid. According to the Israeli Navy, the new guns would equip Israel’s Sa’ar surface vessel fleet. “We’ve been waiting for this gun for many, many years,” said an Israeli Navy captain.