Defense Digest - August 2017

Defense Digest
Defense Digest

WATCH: U.S. Navy Vice Adm. Matt Winter recently traveled to Israel and flew an F-16I fighter jet, the Israeli Air Force variant of the F-16. (Photo: Israel Defense Forces)

U.S. Army 'Very Close' to Decision on Israeli Defense System for Abrams Tanks

The U.S. Army recently announced that it is “very close” to making a decision on installing innovative Israeli technology on the M1A1 Abrams main battle tanks. The Trophy Active Protection System—also known as “Windbreaker” by Israelis—protects against rocket-propelled grenades and anti-tank missiles. Jointly developed by Israel’s Rafael Advanced Defense Systems and Elta Group, a subsidiary of Israel Aircraft Industries, the system became operational in 2009. “We’re very close to a decision on the Trophy system,” said Army Maj. Gen. David Bassett, the Army’s program executive officer for ground combat systems. “We’re looking to make those decisions rapidly so that we can spend money in the next Fiscal Year.”

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Israel Weighing Interest in STOVL-Variant F-35

Israel is reportedly considering the purchase of the short take-off and vertical landing (STOVL) variant of Lockheed Martin’s F-35. Israel has already placed orders for 50 conventional take-off and landing versions of the stealthy fighter jet, a purchase made possible by annual U.S. security assistance, which is largely spent in the United States. Israel is an important partner in the U.S. production of the F-35; Israeli technologies and contributions include design of the helmet-mounted display and production of the wing-set and fuselage components.

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Israel Shares Early Concept of New Missile Defense System with United States

Israel’s Administration for the Development of Weapons and Technological Infrastructure (known by the Hebrew acronym MAFAT) and Israel Aerospace Industries are reportedly working on a potential new missile-intercept system that could defend against much more sophisticated, future threats from Iran. The concept behind the new system, which could augment the current Arrow-2 and Arrow-3 systems in use today, has been shared with the U.S. Missile Defense Agency. “Just like Iron Dome started with infrastructure [studies] and [research and development] within MAFAT, we are starting to interest the Americans and share with them what we believe could be the way forward,” said Moshe Patel, director of the Israel Missile Defense Organization. “We’re very happy that the missile defense architecture of Israel is working, but, as you know, we can’t stand in place. We have to remain at least one step ahead of the threat,” said Patel.

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Israeli, U.S. Navies Participate in Joint Drill

In late July, the Israeli Navy, in cooperation with the U.S. Navy and French Navy, participated in a two-week underwater exercise dubbed “Noble Melinda.” The drill included efforts to find and clear mines, as well as counterterrorism training. “Both the Israeli Special Missions Unit and the French Navy are two of our most important partners in the region and they’re both very capable units that we like to exchange information from, to see how they operate and they can see how we operate, and that way we can operate together,” said U.S. Navy Lt. Ben Fernandez.

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U.S.-Israeli Teams Ramp up Interceptor Production

Two U.S.-Israeli teams that manufacture interceptor missiles for Israel’s multi-tiered missile defense array reportedly have begun ramping up production. The U.S.-based work on these interceptors is currently transitioning from low-rate initial production [LRIP] to full-rate production. “We’re in the final phases of LRIP for all these systems; and we’re very proud of the amazing cooperation at the government-to-government and at the industry-to-industry levels,” said Israel Missile Defense Organization Director Moshe Patel. The United States provides significant funding for Israel’s short-range Iron Dome, medium-range David’s Sling and long-range Arrow systems. In Fiscal Year 2017, Congress approved over $600 million to support these programs. This large investment in Israel’s security also greatly benefits America: At least 50 percent of these interceptor systems must be manufactured in the United States, and production is currently spread out across 30 states.

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Israeli Defense Company Wins $8 Million U.S. Radar Deal

On Aug. 16, Israeli defense electronics company Rada Electronic Industries Ltd. announced its first strategic order, totaling $8 million, to deliver dozens of Multi-Mission Hemispheric Radars (MHR) to the U.S. military by year’s end. The radars will provide the U.S. military air surveillance capabilities, with a particular emphasis on counter-unmanned aerial vehicles (UAV). “This is a true breakthrough and highly significant order for RADA,” said RADA CEO Dov Sella. “Furthermore, strategically, it is our first delivery to a key U.S. military customer, with potential for further orders down the road. We have been awarded with this order following long, demanding and detailed trials, as would be expected for a key defense application, proving the superiority of our radars in the increasingly important field of counter-UAV warfare.”

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Israel Unveils Cutting Edge IED Detection Suite

Israel Aerospace Industries (IAI) began testing its Counter Improvised Explosive Device and Mine Suite (CIMS) mobile system after three years of development. Produced by Elta, one of IAI’s subsidiaries, CIMS will be able to identify, locate and destroy improvised explosive devices (IED), roadside bombs and mines from a safe distance. This technology would greatly benefit Israeli military units patrolling Israel’s borders on routine security missions. According to project manager Reuven Y., CIMS “is a new concept that doesn’t exist anywhere else in the world. It is a breakthrough technology against IEDs.”

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