War on ISIS
ISIS militants in Iraq’s Anbar province have been firing mortars at the 320 U.S. soldiers stationed at an airbase in western Iraq on a “regular” basis, although they have yet to cause casualties.
After having donated $300 million worth of military equipment last year, the Pentagon intends to donate six M1A1 Abrams tanks and up to 50 armored Humvees to the Iraqi government over the next few months.
The Department of Defense awarded Raytheon a $2.4 billion contract to supply 10 Patriot missile firing batteries to Qatar. Raytheon was also selected to provide U.S. allies, including Oman, with almost $500 million in Advanced Medium Range air-to-air missile (AMRAAM). Meanwhile, Lockheed Martin will supply Saudi Arabia with two MC-130J, two HC-130J, three KC-130J, one C-130J, and two U.S. Coast Guard HC-130J by early 2018.
A Patriot missile battery. (Photo: Raytheon)
Israeli media reports that a new system to detect income mortar fire from Gaza should be operational within three to six months. Communities closest to the coastal enclave will now receive a five second warning for incoming projectiles.
The Israeli Navy is finalizing plans to integrate a new Dolphin-class submarine and a fleet of unmanned surface vessels (USVs) over the next few months. Last week, Prime Minister Netanyahu announced that Israel will also purchase four Sa’ar-class corvettes from Germany, a move likely aimed at protecting offshore natural gas facilities.
Chairman of the Joint Chiefs of Staff Gen. Martin Dempsey hosted Israel Defense Forces Chief of the General Staff Lt. Gen. Benjamin Gantz at the Pentagon on January 8th. The two military leaders held closed door discussions for more than an hour before addressing common challenges in the Middle East at a joint press conference.
Last week the Israeli government rewarded Elbit Systems with two contracts. The Haifa-based firm will locate avionics maintenance facilities for a variety of planes at an undisclosed IDF air base, costing the government approximately $90 million. Elbit will also provide maintenance and operate 16 planes with the Elad squadron tasked to fight wildfires.
Israeli Military Technology
The IDF’s C4i Maof Unit will activate the military’s new Radio over Internet Protocol (RoIP) in the coming days, according to a senior official. Nearly 120 military engineers and 80 supporting officers have worked to integrate the military’s radio infrastructure into a single unified system, allowing military commanders to speak to units in the field reliably and securely.
Flight Global reports that a new simulator for the Israeli Aerospace Industries Heron 1 unmanned drone will become operational later this year. The system, to be located at Palmachim air base, will help crews train for a variety of missions.
As the IDF continues to seeks technological advances against neighboring terrorist groups, analysts believe “swarmware,” a platform that would allow multiple unmanned vehicles to work together, could be a valuable asset to the military. The technology’s proponents argue that advancements in Artificial Intelligence, communication, automation, and scale will allow human operators to focus on more advanced tasks that require greater skill.
French peacekeepers with the United Nations Interim Force in Southern Lebanon engaged in a week long series of exercises with the Lebanese Army. Commanders say the trainings will increase operational readiness against conventional and asymmetric enemies, such as ISIS.
A Su-27 Flanker. (Photo: Vitaly V. Kuzmin)
Late last month, President Obama signed the 2013 Naval Transfer Act. The finalized text, however, omits the sale of decommissioned ships to Turkey primarily “due to concerns in Congress about Turkish political policies.”
The German cabinet approved a one year extension for approximately 240 troops supporting the NATO air defense mission in Turkey near the Syrian border. The deployment extension still needs approval from the parliament. Germany, the Netherlands, and the U.S. have been operating six Patriot batteries in southern Turkey for nearly two years.
Turkey’s military procurement agency, the Undersecretariat for Defense Industries (SSM), said Ankara would purchase four additional F-35 fighter jets and five CH-47F Chinook transport helicopters. Turkey now has six F-35s on order with the option to purchase dozens more.
Israeli Military Sales
Elbit Systems’ American subsidiary, announced it received a subcontract valued at $106 million to upgrade four Brazilian Grumman C-1A over five years. The enhancements will allow the aircraft to be designated a KC-2 COD (Carrier-On-Board) capable of air-to-air refueling missions.
Odds and Ends
Libya’s Air Force took delivery of four Russian-made Su-27 Flanker fighter jets from an undisclosed seller on January 5th.