Last week, President Obama signed a bill, passed nearly unanimously by Congress, to provide Israel with $225 million in emergency funds for Iron Dome amid Israel’s ongoing conflict. The Administration also granted Israel’s request to tap into the War Reserve Stockpile Ammunition-Israel, $1 billion worth of pre-positioned ammunition stored by the U.S. military in Israel, in order to resupply itself with 40mm grenades and 120mm mortar rounds.
Sudan denied a report that Israel had bombed a weapons cache destined for Hamas in Sudan. Israel has reportedly conducted several airstrikes on arms bound for Gaza over the last several years.
Israeli Military Technology
The downing of Malaysia Airlines Flight 17 and the firing of missiles towards Ben Gurion Airport in Tel Aviv have renewed interest in Elbit Systems’ C-MUSIC, a directed infrared countermeasures device being installed on Israeli commercial airliners. However, the system would not have been able to stop either the Buk medium-range anti-aircraft missile that downed the Malaysian plane or the more primitive Hamas-fired missiles.
Israel’s Tracense Systems is currently testing a nanotechnology-powered sensor to “sniff out” explosives that is exponentially more performing than specially trained dogs.
During Operation Protective Edge, the IDF debuted the Micro Tactical Ground Robot (MTGR), a stair-climbing micro-robot to support special operations and explosive ordnance disposal. Designed by Israel’s Roboteam, the MTGR weighs less than 20 lbs., can carry its own weight in payload, and is fitted with cameras, a microphone, and infrared laser pointers to generate data.
The Micro Tactical Ground Robot in a tunnel. (Photo: Roboteam)
Following several deadly anti-tank missile attacks in Gaza, the IDF intends to outfit more tanks and Namer APCs with its Trophy anti-tank missile system, which has thus far successfully intercepted more than 10 anti-tank missiles during the fighting in Gaza. Israel Aerospace Industries has also sped up delivery of the Wind Shield system, a mobile radar that can be installed on armored vehicles to detect incoming missile or mortar attacks.
The IDF is conducting field trials with two tunnel-detecting technologies. If successful, it would take one year at a cost of $430-720 million to install them along the Gaza border.
In light of Hamas’ amphibious attacks during the recent conflict, Israel’s DSIT Solutions has developed the AquaShield Extended Range Swimmer Delivery Vehicle Detection Sonar, a new detection system designed to protect all forms of maritime assets. Already used by the Israeli Navy, the AquaShield ER seeks to combat increasingly high speed amphibious attacks.
Israeli Military Sales
In the wake of Operation Protective Edge, Spain temporarily suspended all arms sales to Israel, a largely symbolic move that will be reviewed in the early fall. Last year, Spain sold Israel $6.56 million worth of arms. The United Kingdom is currently conducting a review of arms sales to Israel. British arms sales to Israel in 2013 amounted to $17 million.
The CEO of Rafael indicated that South Korea has shown increased interest in acquiring Iron Dome. He also revealed that Iron Beam, a laser-based system that could destroy incoming mortars unveiled earlier this year, would soon be operational.
According to one report, the Israeli Defense Ministry has ordered all Israeli defense companies to stop selling UAVs to Russia under heavy pressure from the White House. The Administration has publicly criticized Israel for not actively supporting American policy towards Russia.
Turkey announced it will reorganize its air force, combining the 1st and 2nd Tactical Air Force Commands (TAFC) into the new Combat Air Force and Air Missile Defence Command.
Turkey expects to register a 14.3% increase in its arms exports in 2014, reaching $1.6 billion, as it seeks to tap new markets in Africa and South America.
Kuwait has received the first of three KC-130J tanker/transports, providing the service with a new air-to-air refuelling capability. The remaining two will be handed over by the end of the year.
Four of the first 12 new Block 50 F-16s ordered by Oman left their production facility in Texas in late July. In 2011, the Royal Air Force of Oman ordered 10 single-seat F-16C and two twin-seat F-16D aircraft. The entire order will be delivered by the end of 2016.
British owned BMT Nigel Gee is partnering with Ares Shipyard to design and build 17 patrol boats for the Qatar coastguard. The first vessel sea trials will be in early 2016.
The first KC-130J delivered to Kuwait. (Photo: Lockheed Martin)
Saudi Arabia has granted an additional $1 billion to the Lebanese military in order to aid it in combating jihadists. Meanwhile, the Lebanese Armed Forces urged France to speed up the delivery of arms agreed to under the previously Saudi-funded deal last December.
Nearly three years after withdrawing all U.S. forces from Iraq, President Obama launched an aerial campaign against ISIS militants in northern Iraq. The president defined the operation’s goals as protecting American personnel and stopping the ISIS advance on Erbil as well as breaking ISIS’ siege of Yazidis and Christians on Mt. Sinjar. The president acknowledged that the mission would be a “long-term project.” The Administration has also, reportedly, begun directly providing Kurdish forces with weapons. There are 825 U.S. military personnel currently in Iraq, including 90 advisers working with Iraqi military forces, assessing their capabilities, and 160 advisers assigned to joint operation centers in Baghdad and Erbil.
Meanwhile, the Administration continues to sell and deliver weapons to Iraq. In late July, it approved a five-year, $500 million contract to support Iraqi helicopter operations, including maintenance support and personnel training and training equipment. It also approved the sale of 5000 AGM-114K/N/R Hellfire missiles and associated parts for an estimated $700 million.
Following a visit to Moscow by the Iraqi Defense Minister two weeks ago, Russia has reportedly begun supplying Iraq with Mi-35 helicopters gunships and Su-25 fighters jets as part of a $1 billion arms deal. Iraq also has contracts for Mi-28 attack helicopters and mobile Pantsir-S1 surface-to-air and anti-aircraft artillery systems. Iraq has also acquired Russian-made TOS-1A artillery pieces, which include T-72 tank chassis, affording it greater protecting as it approaches its targets. The launchers fires 24 220-millimeter rockets, each with a 100-kilogram thermobaric warhead.