The House of Representatives passed a Defense Appropriations Bill that included nearly $620 million for joint U.S.-Israel missile defense programs: $351 million for Iron Dome, which is $175 million more than was requested in President Obama’s 2015 budget and $131 million more than funding in the 2014 fiscal year, $138 million for David’s Sling, $75 million for Arrow 3, and $56 million for Arrow 2, which combined represent an increase of $172 million over both the Obama Administration’s request and fiscal year 2014 funding.
Given its small size and tight budgets, the IAF’s Extension of Life Division, located at Air Force Base 108 in central Israel, does everything it can to keep costs down by refurbishing and upgrading planes of all types and ages.
Last month, the USS Roosevelt, a guided-missile destroyer, made a routine port visit to Eilat. The sailors also got the chance to swim in the Dead Sea, tour the city of Jerusalem, and scuba dive.
Israeli Military Technology
Israel Aerospace Industries has improved the performances of two mini-UAVs. The BirdEye 400, which has a 7.2ft wingspan and a maximum take-off weight of 12.3lbs, can now stay aloft for two hours with an operational range of 6 miles. It is powered by an electric propulsion system, which reduces the air vehicle’s noise signature and audio detection probability. Additionally, the battery-powered Ghost will next year be able to stay aloft for one hour and is designed to provide real-time intelligence to ground operations in urban areas. With a maximum take-off weight of 10lbs., the Ghost uses an automatic vertical take-off and landing system and has twin rotary electrical engines to keep noise levels to a minimum and can be carried in backpacks by two soldiers.
Ghost UAV (Photo: IAI)
Germany and the Netherlands began talks to remove six Patriot missile interceptors from Turkey’s border with Syria following the reduction of the Syrian chemical weapons threat.
Turkey’s new defense procurement head, Ismail Demir, said that Ankara would focus $4 billion in annual military spending on new “smart systems.” Demir hopes to buy high-tech defense systems that closely integrate air, land, and sea forces.
For a fourth time, Ankara extended a deadline in a disputed air defense contract originally awarded to a Chinese company, allowing American and European bidders to submit renewed proposals. In addition to the Chinese company, the bidders for the air defense contract comprise a partnership of Raytheon and Lockheed Martin, makers of the Patriot Advanced Capability-3 system; and the European group Eurosam, maker of the Aster 30 missile.
The ISIS advance on Baghdad has spurred the Obama Administration to provide additional military assistance to the Iraqi government. The Administration deployed 750 American troops to Iraq to provide security assistance and set up a joint operations center. It has also dispatched Army AH-64 Apaches and UAVs to Baghdad while flying Predator drones over Iraq from foreign bases. Furthermore, it has informed Congress its intention to sell Iraq an additional 4,000 laser-guided Hellfire missiles. If approved, this sale would come on top of the 500 already sold, all but 100 of which have already been delivered to Iraq. Baghdad is also purchasing one Hawker Beechcraft King Air 350 Extended Range (ER) Aircraft for nearly $8 million.
While the United States remains Iraq’s largest arms supplier, the Baghdad government has also turned to Russia for several large aerial systems. Last week, according to Russian state media, it received the first three Mi-28NE ‘Havoc’ (Night Hunter) attack helicopters as well as four additional Mi-35M ‘Hind’ assault helicopters. Fully night-vision capable, the Iraqi Army will eventually receive a total of 15 Mi-28NEs and 28 Mi-35Ms. Iraq also received ten Sukhoi Su-25 ‘Frogfoot’ ground attack aircraft, five from Russia and five from Iran, which will immediately enter into combat against ISIS. Russian experts have arrived in Baghdad to help train Iraqi pilots and perhaps fly the planes themselves. Although the Obama Administration has acknowledged Iraq’s right to purchase arms from Russia, Iranian arms exports are prohibited under international sanctions.
Saudi Arabia has reportedly deployed 30,000 soldiers to its 500-mile border with Iraq after Iraqi forces abandoned the area, but Baghdad denied pulling forces back and said it remained in full control of its frontier.
Booz Allen Hamilton has been awarded a $12.5 million contract, with options worth up to an additional $25 million, to provide support services to the Royal Saudi Naval Forces (RSNF). Meanwhile, Boeing was awarded a $135 million contract for post-production support services for new Apache helicopters for Saudi Arabia. Raytheon was awarded a $163 million contract to provide Advanced Medium-Range Air-to-Air Missile (AMRAAM) Program Support and Sustainment (PSAS) to Saudi Arabia, Israel, the UAE, and other U.S. allies. Saudi Arabia now has the world’s fourth largest defense budget, after the United States, China, and Russia.
The small Qatari Emiri Air Force participated in Exercise Anatolian Eagle in June in Turkey. Although it participated in the Libyan intervention, the Qatari Air Force consists only of 12 Dassault Mirage 2000 fighter jets and rarely leaves the country.
A Qatari Mirage 2000. (Photo: Tony Osborne)
In response to the jihadi advance in Syria and Iraq, Jordan has reinforced its 120-mile desert border with Iraq with tanks, Humvees, and additional troops.
The State Department has approved a $69 million sale of personnel support services to Egypt in order to assist 140 U.S Government and contractor representatives at nine locations. Services will include lodging, transportation, security, medical, and other related elements of program support. While the Obama Administration has not yet fully restore suspended military aid to Egypt, this move marks another step down that path.
Odds and Ends
Indian Defense Secretary Radha Krishna Mathur visited Israel last week, as part of an effort to further boost defense ties between the two nations. India is reportedly interested in radars, precision-guided munitions, and additional airborne warning and control systems. It is also looking to speed up the delayed Indo-Israeli Long Range Surface to Air Missile project for its recently acquired Russian aircraft carrier, INS Vikramaditya.
Poland has eliminated Israel’s David’s Sling missile defense system from a short list of bidders for its $7.9 billion anti-missile program, narrowing its search two candidates, the Patriot and the Aster offered by the Eurosam consortium of Thales and MBDA.