Defense Digest September 2017

Defense Digest
Defense Digest
September 2017

Israeli Col. Liran Cohen (left) and American Col. David Shank (right) participated in a ribbon cutting ceremony to celebrate the new U.S. facility in Israel. (Photo: Israel Defense Forces)

United States Establishes Military ‘Living Facility’ in Israel

The United States will open a “living facility” for American soldiers located within the Israeli Air Force’s (IAF) Mashabim Air Base in southern Israel. The U.S. military’s European Command (EUCOM) will operate the living facility, which includes barracks that will house dozens of U.S. soldiers; offices; and support services. On Sept. 18, senior leaders from the U.S. military participated in a ribbon cutting ceremony to commemorate the new facility. Maj. Gen. John Gronski, deputy commander of US Army National Guard in Europe, stated that the facility “symbolizes the strong bond that exists between the United States and Israel. The United States and Israel have long planned together, exercised together and trained together. And now, with the opening of this site, these crucial interactions will happen every day.”

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Iron Dome Conducts its First U.S.-Based Intercept Test

From Sept. 4-16, Israel conducted a full-scale Iron Dome test during the U.S. Army’s Short Range Air Defense (SHORAD) demonstration at the White Sands Missile Range in New Mexico. The full system test marks the first time Iron Dome has been operated outside of Israel. The demonstration was intended to select an interim solution for a medium- and short-range air defense system. If selected by the U.S. Army, Israeli sources say it will become an entirely U.S. system, with Raytheon as the primary contractor and Rafael providing subcontractor assistance. Jointly developed by the United States and Israel, the Iron Dome system has intercepted more than 1,500 Gaza-launched projectiles since its deployment in 2011.

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Senate Supports Funding for U.S.-Israel Missile Defense Cooperation

On Sept. 18, the Senate 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 over the president’s budget request and $105 million over last year’s adopted funding level. In July, the House of Representatives also authorized $705 million in its version of the NDAA. These funds will provide 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 and advance America’s own missile defense capabilities.

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Israel Adds Two New F-35s to Squadron

On Sept. 14, Israel received two new Lockheed Martin F-35 fighter jets at its Nevatim air base, bringing its total operable squadron to seven “Adir” jets. By the end of 2017, two more F-35Is will join the "Golden Eagle" squadron. “The arrival of two additional aircraft will allow us to become operational according to plan,” said Brig. Gen. Eyal Grinboim, a base commander at Nevatim. Israel has ordered 50 conventional take-off and landing fighters from Lockheed Martin, with deliveries anticipated to be completed by 2027.

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Israel Defense Ministry Unveiled Future Weapons

On Sept. 5, Israel’s Defense Ministry’s Weapons Development Administration showcased nine new technologies that will enter service in the Israel Defense Forces (IDF) in the coming years. These new technologies include two unmanned submarines and a hybrid gas-electric powerful tank. While the new technologies are in various stages of development, none have yet been declared operational by the IDF.

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