War on ISIS
Despite daily American airstrikes, ISIS forces have made stunning advances, encircling the Syrian Kurdish enclave of Kobani along the Turkish border and conquering several Iraq military bases on the road to Baghdad. U.S. forces have been using Apache attack helicopters to hit ISIS targets, highlighting the American combat role. Meanwhile, French, British, and Australian warplanes have now conducted airstrikes against ISIS targets in Iraq and Spain announced it would send 300 soldiers to help train the Iraqi Army.
For the first time since 2011, a U.S. Army division headquarters will deploy to Iraq. Of the 500 soldiers deploying with it, 138 will be in the Baghdad joint operations center, 68 in Erbil, 10 at the Iraqi Ministry of Defense, and the remaining will be elsewhere in the region. The soldiers are preparing for a one-year mission.
A proposed $6.17 billion sale to Iraq of Apache AH-64E helicopters has fallen through because Baghdad failed to sign the offer sheet in time. Iraq has a number of light attack helicopters and it recently began receiving Mil Mi-28NE attack helicopters and Mi-35 platforms from Russia.
After signing a co-marketing agreement in 2011, Rafael has awarded Raytheon a nearly $150 million contract to supply Tamir missiles for Iron Dome. The incorporation of U.S.-made interceptor components will help ensure sufficient volumes of available Tamir missiles.
After halting deliveries due to diplomatic tensions during the Gaza war, the Obama Administration has resumed the supply of Hellfire missiles to Israel.
Lockheed is providing Israel with two F-35A Conventional Take-Off and Landing full mission simulators to Israel for $31 million. Meanwhile, Nammo Talley was awarded a $63 million contract to provide the IDF with M72 Light Assault Weapons
After a contentious debate, the Israeli cabinet passed a 2015 budget that includes a $1.6 billion increase in defense spending, most of which will go towards paying the costs of Operation Protective Edge. The Defense Ministry maintains it will still seek an addition $1.34 billion increase, but the budget is expected to pass the Knesset later this fall.
Israeli Military Technology
Several months ago, the Israeli Navy successfully tested an upgraded anti-missile system designed to protect naval vessels from Hezbollah’s and Syria’s Russian-made Yakhont anti-ship cruise missiles. The exercise involved a mock-Yakhont missile fired from sea, which was successfully intercepted by the Barak missile, fired from an Israeli Navy missile boat.
During this summer’s operations, the IDF made extensive use of BlueBird Aero Systems’ SpyLite UAV. The drone performed more than 700 high-tempo sorties, each lasting over 3hrs.
This week, Israel Aerospace Industries is unveiling its new CIMS (Counter IED and Mine Suite), an integrated suite of sensors for protection of tactical maneuvering vehicles. The CIMS suite can detect both surface and sub-surface IEDs and includes a groundbreaking side-looking radar. It delivers accurate real-time mapping and can be adapted to any combat tactical vehicle.
Israeli companies have unveiled two new UAVs, Flying Production’s Da Vinci, a compact, lightweight, vertical take-off and landing design that is ideal for urban warfare, and Aeronautics’ Orbiter 3b, a catapult-launched, vehicle-mounted system that can fly at altitudes of 18,000 ft. and at speeds of 80 mph. Carried by one soldier, the Da Vinci system is capable of controlling multiple air vehicles simultaneously and operates without line-of-sight communications. The Orbiter 3b’s can mark surface targets for laser-guided weapons launched from other platforms.
Israeli Military Sales
While the value of Israeli arms exports declined by $1 billion in 2013 compared to the previous year, Israel’s arms sales to Africa more than doubled. Israel sold $223 million worth of arms to African countries in 2013, compared to $107 million in 2012. The overall decline is being attributed to the austere defense budgets in much of the Western world. Asian countries continues to be Israel’s top arms customers, buying $3.9 billion worth in 2013.
During a meeting with Indian Prime Minister Narendra Modi in New York, Israeli Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu reportedly invited India to participate in a joint effort on cyber-defense, a project that will link civilian and military authorities in both countries and would work alongside the Israel National Cyber Bureau. The Washington Post ran an informative article describing Israel’s cyber prowess. Meanwhile, the Modi government finally cleared the long awaited acquisition of 262 missiles to arm the Israeli Barak-I anti-missile defense systems.
The Obama Administration announced its intention to sell 202 Patriot Advanced Capability (PAC-3) missiles and associated equipment to Saudi Arabia for $1.75 billion. Meanwhile, Raytheon expects the Administration to soon complete its long-announced, multi-billion sale of PAC-3s to Qatar. Once finalized, Qatar will become the 13th country and fourth out of six Gulf Cooperation Council state to operate the Patriots.
The Administration also announced the $2.5 billion sale of over 4,500 used Mine Resistant Ambush Protected (MRAP) vehicles to the United Arab Emirates. The UAE will also conclude a $900 million arms purchase that includes: 12 High Mobility Artillery Rocket Systems (HIMARS) Launchers, 100 M57 Army Tactical Missile System (ATACMS) T2K (Block IA Unitary) Rockets, and 65 M31A1 Guided Multiple Launch Rocket (GMLRS) Unitary Pods among other items.
The United States is deploying 2,100 Marines to Kuwait as part of Special-Purpose Marine Air-Ground Task Force (SPMAGTF) Central Command. The SPMAGTF is designed to perform non-combat evacuation, humanitarian assistance, infrastructure support, tactical aircraft recovery, fixed-site security and theater sustainment missions. The unit’s air assets will include attack aircraft, the AV-8B Harrier, as well as the MV-22 Osprey and KC-130 Super Hercules.
The U.S. Army is awarding Lockheed Martin a $90 million contract to help Qatar’s air force enhance its Apache helicopter attack fleet with the “Arrowhead” system, known formally as the Modernized Target Acquisition Designation Sight/Pilot Night Vision Sensor. The system helps Apache pilots improve their “long-range, precision” targeting and vision at night and in adverse weather conditions.