War on ISIS
The U.S.-led campaign to “degrade and destroy” ISIS is in full swing. Today, the United States, along with Jordan, the United Arab Emirates, Bahrain, Qatar and Saudi Arabia, conducted 22 airstrikes against ISIS targets in eastern Syria. Separately, the United States also bombed Khorasan, a group consisting mainly of foreign fighters, targets outside of Aleppo.
Over the past 6 weeks, the United States has conducted 190 airstrikes across Iraq. Washington is also immediately deploying an additional 475 troops to Iraq, which now total 1,600, as well as 300 airmen and 12 A-10 combat jets from the Indiana Air National Guard to the region. France joined the aerial campaign, bombing an ISIS supply depot in northeastern Iraq.
Meanwhile, Congress approved legislation that authorized the training of Syrian rebels to combat ISIS in Syria and the White House appointed General John Allen, the former top commander in Afghanistan, to coordinate the international coalition against ISIS. Several Western countries have pledged to arm and train Kurdish forces and are considering conducting airstrikes as well.
A September 9th intercept test of the US-Israel Arrow-2 missile defense system missed its target. Arrow-2 reportedly successfully acquired and tracked, yet failed to destroy its target.
An Arrow missile launches in central Israel, south of Tel Aviv. A recent intercept test of the Arrow 2 missed its mark. (Photo: Israel Aerospace Industries/AFP)
Last week, the Senate unanimously passed the United States-Israel Strategic Partnership Act. Among many provisions, the bill declares Israel to be a “major strategic partner” of the United States, increases the frequency and detail of U.S. government reporting on Israel’s qualitative military edge, and includes a provision that allows the U.S. to increase by $200 million the value of the War Reserves Stock Allies-Israel (WRSA-I), a stockpile of U.S. weapons housed in Israel now worth $1.8 billion. The House of Representatives adopted a similar bill in March and the two versions are expected to be reconciled and sent to the president before the end of the year.
The U.S. Coordinator for Cyber Issues, Christopher Painter, traveled to Israel to speak at a cybersecurity conference and meet with representatives from the Israeli National Cyber Bureau and the Ministry of Foreign Affairs.
Lockheed Martin has formed an Israeli subsidiary that will focus on cybersecurity, enterprise information technology, data centers, mobile, analytics and cloud. The technology center is headed by former Israeli Air Force Brig. Gen. Shelly Gotman in the company’s Beersheba office.
Israeli Military Technology
Operation Protective Edge marked a revolution in the use of close air support for ground troops. With an F-16 dedicated to every brigade, precision air power hit targets less than 350 meters away from ground troops within 20-30 minutes from being called in.
Israel will soon receive its second of four Lockheed Martin C-130J tactical transport aircraft, which it calls the “Samson.” Next year, the IAF will test a short field operating capability for its F-16 fighters, based on the use of a rocket-assisted take-off. Rocket assistance can be used by some military transports to provide additional thrust when an aircraft is heavy or a runway is short. As part of the new plan, rockets will be placed under the wing of the F-16 and released after they have burned out.
The AirMule, an unmanned vertical takeoff and landing craft utilizing internal lift rotors developed by Urban Aeronautics, is undergoing flight tests. It is being envisioned for use as an unmanned transport, ferrying supplies or taking out wounded soldiers in hard to reach areas.
Israeli Military Sales
Israeli Defense Minister Moshe Ya’alon visited Azerbaijan to bolster burgeoning ties with a strategic and defense trade partner that borders Iran. The visit coincided with ADEX-2014, the first international arms exhibition hosted by Baku, where 16 Israeli firms and Ministry of Defense export officials will market a full spectrum of air, sea, land and space systems, and is the first such visit by an Israeli Defense Minister.
Indian defense company Bharat Forge is teaming up with Elbit Systems to produce cannons, ammunition, and other military equipment. The first project executed by the joint venture will be the modernization of Howitzer systems.
Elbit Systems has provided Singapore’s ST Electronics with a Cyber Security Simulator, enabling users to locate, respond, and prevent cyber-attacks, while experiencing simulated network protection conditions.
Israel’s Channel 2 reported that the Israeli Foreign Ministry nixed a deal to sell drones to Ukraine in deference to Russia having recently halted certain arms sales to Iran and Syria.
Saudi Arabia has received at least the first three of its new AH-64E Apache Guardian attack helicopters. According to IHS Jane’s, the Royal Saudi Land Forces (RSLF) has ordered 36 AH-64Es, the Saudi Arabia National Guard (SANG) has ordered 12, and the Saudi Royal Guard is looking to buy 10. Combined with the 12 AH-64A/D helicopters already fielded by the RSLF, these orders will make Saudi Arabia the largest foreign Apache operator.
A file photo of the AH-64E helicopter. (Photo: US Army)
More details have emerged regarding the 560-mile long five layer fence Saudi Arabia is building along its border with Iraq. According to the Saudi Press Agency, the 10 km-deep barrier will consist of of a sand berm, two fences, and a patrol road that connects the various 78 watchtowers, eight command centers, 10 mobile surveillance vehicles, 32 rapid-response centers, and three rapid intervention squads, all linked by a fiber-optic communications network.
Starting in January, Spain will station a squadron of Patriot surface-to-air missile systems and send 130 servicemen to the region of Adana in southern Turkey, replacing the Dutch force that has been deployed there for two years.
Earlier this month, Boeing delivered its third Peace Eagle Airborne Early Warning and Control (AEW&C) aircraft to Turkey. A fourth aircraft is scheduled for delivery next year.
The United States is accelerating its support of the Lebanese Armed Forces. It has delivered Hellfire missiles, approved the $180 million sale of 18 Huey II helicopters, and has pledged to provide armed Cessna aircraft.