Israel and the United States conducted an intercept test of the Arrow 2 missile defense system. Operational since 2000, Arrow 2 protects against long-range missiles and is continuously undergoing improvements. It is part of Israel’s projected five-tier missile defense envelope.
The Israeli government is planning an immediate two percent retroactive cut to its 2014 budget to help cover the estimated $2.5 billion cost of Operation Protective Edge. The Cabinet also approved a $450 million five-year plan to fortify structures, services, and economic growth in hard-hit communities bordering Gaza. Citing the complexity of the threats it faces, the Ministry of Defense is asking for an additional $3.1 billion through next year, which is precipitating a dispute within the governing coalition.
Israeli Military Technology
Arrow 2 test launch on July 29, 2004. (Photo: Wikicommons)
Israel’s fourth advanced Dolphin-Class submarine, the INS Tanin, is currently on its way to Israel from Germany. Israel will take delivery of its fifth submarine later this year. According to the Israeli Navy, 2013 saw a dramatic increase in the submarine flotilla’s operational deployments.
Israel is experimenting with two types of tunnel-detection systems in the aftermath of Operation Protective Edge. Ground-penetrating radar, known as GPR, consists of radar installations in deep holes to create a permanent detection barrier, which could be monitored for changes from a remote center. A computer notes the travel time and strength of the reflected waves and generates a 3-D image based on the information. Another system, Elpam Electronics’ geophone, can detect underground movement based on the sound generated by the movement and can find the location of a person crawling as far down as 32 feet.
The Iron Dome missile defense system scored a 90% success rate during Operation Protective Edge, intercepting 735 rockets. However, Iron Dome is not as effective against mortars, which were responsible for the majority of Israeli casualties from Hamas aerial attacks. Rafael is developing an electric laser intercepting system called Iron Beam to neutralize the mortar threat.
The IDF has vastly improved the integration of its intelligence and firing capabilities through its Canopy of Fire system. Relevant intelligence flows to a special operations center, after which additional scouting is ordered onto the relevant target. After positively identifying the target and corroborating it is a threat, an office with the rank of lieutenant-colonel can then authorize an attack from either the air or ground.
Israeli Military Sales
IHS Jane’s reports that the Azerbaijan Coast Guard has ordered six Shaldag Mk V patrol boats and six Saar 62 offshore patrol vessel (OPVs) from Israel Shipyards.
Israel Aerospace Industries (IAI) is offering a converted Boeing 767 aerial refueling tanker fitted with its new fly-by-wire (FBW) boom to fulfill a Polish air force requirement. IAI’s offer includes a version of the tanker that is also compatible with the air force’s combined inventory of 67 Russian-built fighters. Warsaw currently relies on NATO-provided Boeing C-17s.
Saudi Arabia Watch
Fearful of the advance of jihadists, Saudi Arabia began building a 560-mile long five-layer fence along its northern border with Iraq.
In three separate contracts, Riyadh completed a $235 million deal with Boeing to purchase 24 AH-6I helicopters, a $61 million deal with L-3 to modify two King Air 350 aircraft, and a $34 million deal with Sikorsky for spare parts for the Saudi National Guard’s Blackhawk helicopters.
The Netherlands announced it would end its contribution to NATO’s deployment of Patriot anti-ballistic missile systems in Turkey at the end of January. The Netherlands, Germany, and the United States each sent two Patriot missile batteries and soldiers to operate them in early 2013 in response to Turkey’s request for help against attacks from Syria.
An Israeli navy Dolphin-class submarine (Photo: Moshe Shai)
Turkey delivered the final four of the 41 F-16s it upgraded for the Pakistani Air Force.
Last week, President Obama ordered 405 additional U.S. troops to Iraq, bringing the total of U.S. forces authorized there to more than 1,200. Airstrikes against ISIS targets have continued, costing $7.5 million per day.
The Czech Ministry of Defence will sell 15 Aero Vodochody L-159 ALCA light attack and training aircraft to Iraq.
The United States has delivered an emergency shipment of weapons to Lebanon’s military, including mortars, M16-A4 assault rifles, and anti-tank missiles. So far, the U.S. had delivered 480 anti-tank guided missiles, over 1,500 M16-A4 rifles, and mortars with more on the way. Lebanon also received $2-million worth of bomb disposal equipment from the United States, including three robots for investigating suspicious objects, suits for explosives experts, water cannons for deactivating IEDs, high-tech X-ray equipment, communications devices, and various electronic tools and equipment used by explosives experts.
Odds and Ends
The Royal Moroccan Air Force (RMAF) will soon receive three ex-US Army CH-47D Chinook transport helicopters, which are currently being refurbished by Columbia Helicopters at Aurora State Airport in Oregon.
Tunisia received an additional two patrol boats as gifts from the United States earlier this month.
U.S. Africa Command has postponed until next year its training of Libyan military forces as a result of the escalating violence between rival militias.