The Obama Administration froze a shipment of Hellfire missiles to Israel after learning that the Pentagon had approved Israel’s request to tap into the War Reserve Stockpile Ammunition-Israel (WRSA-I). According to the Wall Street Journal, the White House was concerned about Israeli use of artillery in densely populated areas in Gaza and shocked that the munitions were transferred without its knowledge. Established two decades ago, the WRSA-I is a key example of close U.S.-Israel security cooperation.
Elbit Systems is providing Lockheed Martin with a center pedestal display (CPD) to be installed on the upgraded 150 Taiwanese F-16A/Bs. The CPD replaces old electro-mechanical instruments, provides a high-resolution display, and provides emergency backup to flight instruments.
Israeli Military Technology Watch
In a historic first, the IDF used an unmanned armored personnel carrier, remotely operating a modified M113 APC to deliver several tons of supplies to soldiers on the battlefield in Gaza.
The unmanned APC being followed by a support vehicle. (Photo: IDF)
Although it was introduced in 2008, the Gaza operation marks the first time the soldier-launched Skylark mini-UAV has been widely used for high-tempo support of ground forces. Every brigade in the Artillery Corps flies at least two Skylarks. Meanwhile, the one-ton Hermes 900, known as the Kochav (Star), made its operational debut. It is double the size, carries nearly twice the weight, and can fly 12 hours longer than its predecessor, the Hermes 450S.
RT LTA Systems is operating about a dozen SkyStar 180 aerostats, providing tactical intelligence and surveillance data along the Gaza border and capable of operating in extreme temperatures for 72 hours continuously.
Oman’s Royal Air Force retired its last Sepecat Jaguar strike fighters, which it first received from the UK in 1977. Oman currently has 10 single seat Lockheed Martin F-16C/Ds, with 12 more on order. The country has also ordered 12 Eurofighter Typhoons from BAE Systems.
In mid-August, two more Coastal Patrol (PC) ships arrived in Bahrain as part of a realignment plan that has assigned 10 PCs to the U.S. 5th Fleet’s area of responsibility. PCs are ideal for littoral environments and are key platforms for interdiction surveillance and escorting larger ships.
Bahrain is set to be the inaugural user of the Kornet-EM anti-tank guided weapon (ATGW) system, according to the director general of the Russian arms export agency Rosoboronexport. The Kornet-EM is a vehicle-mounted system with two retractable launchers, each with four laser-guided, fire-and-forget missiles and its own optronic and guidance package. He also announced that Russia plans to produce weapons jointly with the United Arab Emirates, in order to diversify its arms production away from Western Europe.
The Pentagon approved a $2 billion modernization program for Saudi Arabia’s E-3A Airborne Warning and Control System (AWACS).
The State Department approved the $320 million sale of 145 Advanced Medium Range Air-to-Air Missiles (AMRAAM) to Turkey. The deal also includes the logistical support and training for the Turkish Air Force, which will use the new weapons on their F-16 and F-35 fighters.
The Kornet-EM is seen here on a Tigr light armored vehicle, but can be integrated with a wide range of platforms. (Photo: IHS Jane’s)
In July, U.S. Special Forces conducted an ultimately unsuccessful operation in Syria to rescue kidnapped journalist James Foley, who was gruesomely executed last week by Islamic extremists. The incident marks the first known instance of U.S. operations inside Syria during the conflict.
Russia canceled its widely criticized sale of S-300 air defense systems to the Syrian government. The deal was put on hold after the Damascus brokered a deal to surrender its chemical weapons.
The Obama Administration touted that it had finished destroying over 600 tons of sarin and mustard agents removed from Syria. However, the president stated that the U.S. “will watch closely to see that Syria fulfills its commitment to destroy its remaining declared chemical weapons production facilities.”
Israeli Military Sales
As Poland pursues a deal to acquire new attack helicopters, two Israeli companies are competing to supply Warsaw with advance air-to-surface missiles. Rafael’s Spike ER and the Israeli Aerospace Industries’ (IAI) laser guided Lahat are both being considered to arm the new aircraft.
The Czech Republic’s Excalibur Army is working with Rafael to develop and provide 200 modernized infantry fighting vehicles to the Czech Army beginning in 2018. The new vehicle will be equipped with a Rafael Advanced Defense Systems Remote Controlled Weapons Station (RCWS) armed with a 30mm cannon, 7.62x51mm co-axial machine gun, and optical sensors.
Despite a resumption of hostilities in Gaza, the United Kingdom has yet to suspend the export licenses of British companies selling arms to Israel despite threatening to do so.
Rafael is upgrading the Colombian Air Force’s 10 Black Hawk helicopters and equipping them with a variety of Spike missile systems.
Vietnam announced its intention to deepen defense ties with Israel by establishing a memorandum of understanding. Israel is also expected to station a defense attaché in Hanoi.
The U.S. aerial campaign on Islamic State targets in northern Iraq is entering its fourth week. A team of U.S. marines and Special Forces landed on Mt. Sinjar in order to assess the desperate situation faced by Yazidis. In coordination with the airstrikes, Kurdish forces managed to retake the Mosul Dam. While only the United States has, thus far, conducted airstrikes, numerous European governments have pledged military support for the operation. Western countries have pledged to directly arm Kurdish forces as well.
Russia’s S-300 missile system on parade in Moscow. (Photo: Wikipedia)
On August 13th, President Obama ordered 130 additional soldiers to Irbil in order to assess the perilous situation. A week later, the State Department requested 300 additional U.S. military personnel to protect diplomat and facilities in Iraq. Approximately 800 American soldiers are already on the ground in various capacities.
The New York Times reported that Egypt and the UAE secretly conducted airstrikes against Islamist militias in Libya. UAE planes reportedly took off from Egyptian bases, hitting positions in and around Tripoli.
Following a visit to Russia by Egyptian President Abdel Fattah al-Sisi, reports surfaced that the two countries were close to signing a $3 billion, Saudi-funded arms deal. Another report stated that Egypt might receive the S-300 air defense system previously destined for Syria.
The Obama Administration has pledged to make available 12 UH-60M Blackhawk helicopters to the Tunisian Air Force. Since the fall of the Ben Ali regime in 2011, the United States has provided Tunisia with $100 million in military aid with an additional $60 million arriving next year.