Defense Digest - July 2017

Defense Digest
Defense Digest

Gen. Tod Wolters (center), the U.S. Air Forces in Europe commander, delivers remarks at a U.S.-led F-35 leadership forum at Ramstein Air Base, Germany. (Photo:DoD)

House Supports Increased Funding for U.S.-Israel Missile Defense Cooperation

On July 14, the U.S. House of Representatives authorized a total of $705 million for U.S.-Israel missile defense cooperation in the Fiscal Year (FY) 2018 National Defense Authorization Act (NDAA)—representing a $558 million increase above the president’s budget request for these programs and $105 million over last year’s adopted funding level. These funds will provide both R&D support and procurement funding for the Iron Dome, David’s Sling, Arrow-2 and Arrow-3 cooperative missile defense systems, programs which help Israel defend its citizens against rockets and missiles and also advance America’s own missile defense capabilities. The bill also provides for a future exo-atmospheric test of the Arrow-3 system to be managed by the U.S. Missile Defense Agency in Alaska, chosen as the preferred testing location due to Israel’s small size and the regional geopolitical sensitivities. The inclusion of these vital funds in the NDAA was made possible through the leadership of House Armed Services Committee Chairman Mac Thornberry (R-TX) and Ranking Member Adam Smith (D-WA), House Armed Services Subcommittee on Strategic Forces Chairman Mike Rogers (R-AL) and Ranking Member Jim Cooper (D-TN).

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United States, Israel Participate in F-35 Leadership Summit

On July 19-20, the United States hosted more than 50 senior leaders from the European theater at an F-35 leadership summit. Experts from Israel, Denmark, Italy, the Netherlands, Norway, Turkey and the United Kingdom participated in the two-day forum at Ramstein Air Base in Germany to discuss a common vision on future air force projection, theater integration and interoperability. “We’ve come together as a team of allies and partners to begin to set the conditions on bringing the F-35 into the European theater and operating the F-35 in the European theater,” said Maj. Gen. Timothy Fay, U.S. Air Forces in Europe deputy commander. Israel is one such crucial partner in the development and production of the F-35: The fighter jet’s helmet-mounted display system is produced in partnership by Rockwell Collins and Israel’s Elbit Systems; the wing sets are made by Israel Aerospace Industries; and the aerostructures are manufactured by Elbit’s subsidiary Cyclone.

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DLA Orders F-16 Cockpit TV Cameras from Elbit Systems Subsidiary

On July 21, the U.S. Defense Logistics Agency awarded Israel’s Elbit Systems’ American subsidiary, EFW, a five-year, $21 million contract to supply cockpit television video cameras for the U.S. Air Force‘s F-16 aircraft fleet. EFW will perform the work in both Texas and Israel. The Fort Worth-based company produces a range of ground and airborne systems, including those designed to help militaries manage air-to-air and air-to-ground weapons.

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IAI, Honeywell to Jointly Develop GPS Anti-Jam Navigation System

On July 17, Israel Aerospace Industries (IAI) and U.S. defense company Honeywell Aerospace signed a memorandum of understanding (MOU) to jointly develop, manufacture and market a GPS Anti-Jam navigation system. The new advanced technology will integrate an existing IAI Anti-Jam system into Honeywell’s embedded GPS Inertial Navigation System. Modern intelligence gathering and navigation increasingly rely on unimpeded GPS technology, which is still susceptible to low-tech jammers. "In partnering with IAI, we can offer a GPS anti-jam and inertial navigation solution that provides for increased aircrew safety as well as greater mission effectiveness in GPS denied environments," said Carl Esposito, president of Electronic Systems at Honeywell Aerospace. “This collaboration brings together the technological excellence and response to customers' needs of two leading companies,” said Boaz Levi, IAI’s executive vice president and general manager of Systems, Missiles & Space Group. “Facing today's threats to GPS, the ability to combine advanced Anti-Jamming capabilities as part of the Embedded GPS INS systems is a must.”

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Poland to Buy Israeli Missiles Under Potential Deal with U.S. Defense Contractor

In a testament to the close U.S.-Israel missile defense cooperation and increasing interoperability between American and Israeli systems, Poland signed a memorandum of intent earlier this month with the U.S. defense contractor Raytheon to purchase the U.S. Patriot system along with interceptor missiles from Israel’s David’s Sling missile defense system. Marketed abroad under the name “Skyceptor,” the medium-range David’s Sling is a joint U.S.-Israel project between Israel-based Rafael and Raytheon, which also produces the Patriot missile system. Warsaw reportedly insisted on purchasing David’s Sling missiles, which perform better than Patriot missiles at only 10 percent of the cost. If the deal comes to fruition later this year as intended, Rafael could potentially earn up to $1 billion, making it one of the largest deals that the Israeli company has ever signed.

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Israeli Army to Replace Llamas with Robots to Carry Equipment on the Battlefield

Israeli army infantry units are set to receive an experimental deployment of robots in September to replace llamas, long used to transport equipment over rough terrain. Israel’s decision to replace llamas with robots is just one example of a growing trend among the world’s militaries to increase use of unmanned ground, sea and air vehicles. With $6.5 billion in annual sales, Israel is at the forefront of the production of military robots and unmanned vehicles. In 1986, Israel supplied the U.S. Navy with its first combat drone, the Pioneer.

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