Defense Digest Year in Review

2017 Year in Review
U.S.-Israel defense cooperation achieved significant milestones in 2017. As major strategic partners, America and Israel have increased defense collaboration in a multitude of arenas to enhance the safety and security of both nations.

Below are some of this year’s highlights:

Israel Declares Arrow-3 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. The Arrow-3 system—researched, developed and funded through joint U.S.-Israel cooperation—is designed to shoot down intercontinental ballistic missiles (ICBMs) outside the earth’s atmosphere, including nuclear, biological and chemical warheads.
Israel Declares David’s Sling Operational

On April 2, Israel marked the operational deployment of the David’s Sling missile defense system, rounding out Israel’s multi-tiered missile defense array. Jointly developed by Raytheon and Israel's Rafael Advanced Defense Systems Ltd., David’s Sling protects against short- to medium-range ballistic missiles, long-range artillery rockets, aircraft and low-flying cruise missiles.

Pro-Israel Funding Contained in FY17 Omnibus Bill

Congress included key provisions to help Israel address critical security challenges in the Omnibus Appropriations bill for Fiscal Year 2017. The bill provides $3.1 billion plus an additional $75 million in overall security assistance to Israel and contains $600.7 million for vital joint U.S.-Israel missile defense programs, representing a $113 million increase over FY 2016.

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 marked the first time Iron Dome had been operated outside of Israel. The demonstration was intended to select an interim solution for a medium- and short-range air defense system.
Israel’s Trophy APS Approved for Army Tanks

The U.S. Army recently authorized the installation of Israel’s Trophy active-protection system (APS) on a number of its M1A2 Abrams tanks, making it the first military outside of the Israel Defense Forces to use the system. The Pentagon said the decision was made due to “an urgent material” request.
David’s Sling Wins U.S. Defense Award

On Oct. 24, the David’s Sling medium-range missile defense system was awarded the Technology Pioneer Award by the U.S. Missile Defense Agency. At the 2017 Multinational Ballistic Missile Defense conference in Boston, the system was recognized as a “groundbreaking achievement.”
NDAA Includes Funding for U.S.-Israel Defense Programs 

On Nov. 16, the U.S. Congress authorized a total of $705 million for U.S.-Israel missile defense cooperation in the Fiscal Year (FY) 2018 National Defense Authorization Act (NDAA). The funding level represents a $558 million increase over the president’s budget request and $105 million over last year’s funding level.
Israel Neutralizes Tunnels Using U.S.-Israel Technology

The Israel Defense Forces in early December demolished an attack tunnel coming from the southern Gaza Strip that crossed into Israel, using new, undisclosed anti-tunneling technology. The military said the kilometer-long tunnel—which commenced in the Gazan city of Khan Younis and stretched “hundreds of meters” inside Israeli territory—was built by Hamas. Six weeks earlier, Israel destroyed another cross-border tunnel, which was being dug by the terrorist organization. Israel and the United States have cooperated on anti-tunneling technology since 2015.