A senior Lockheed Martin official announced that Israel will be the second country after the U.S. to receive the new F-35A Lightning II Joint Strike Fighter. Delivery of two fighters is expected in December 2016.
The IDF may merge its offensive cyber command currently under the Military Intelligence Directorate with the C4I Corps’ Cyber Defense Division. Lieutenant General Gadi Eisenkot, the IDF’s new Chief of Staff, has ordered an analysis of the proposal.
Lockheed Martin F-35 fighter. (Photo: Lockheed Martin)
American and Italian drone operators began a two week training course with the Hermes 450 and Hermes 900 at Palmachim Airbase in Israel. The joint classes will help operators confront a variety of challenging missions and share their experiences.
A bipartisan bill introduced into the U.S. House of Representatives on April 21st would authorize $286 million in funding for the joint U.S.-Israel David’s Sling missile defense system. David’s Sling, which could be operational later this year, is designed to intercept medium range rockets with a range of 180 miles commonly launched by Hamas and Hezbollah.
Israeli Military Technology
Israeli defense firms unveiled a variety of hi-tech imaging equipment at the LAAD defense technology exhibition in Rio de Janeiro, Brazil. Controp showcased the Airborne Surveillance Mission System (A-SMS), an optics array certified by Brazil’s Civilian Aviation Authority to provide high performance video feeds, maps, and augmented reality images for helicopters and UAV operators. Rafael and the Brazilian company Mectron announced a new system that integrates air operations and control systems.
Meanwhile, Israeli Military Industries (IMI) displayed a Guided Mortar Munition (GMM) that uses a laser or GPS to hit its target. The smart shell is already in service with the IDF and is compatible with existing 120mm launching platforms. IMI says the GMM strikes targets with near-vertical trajectory, minimizing collateral damage.
Israeli Military Sales
Israeli Aerospace Industries (IAI) broke ground with its partner Lacit on a new EZ-Guard ELM2270 Over the Horizon radar system last month in southern Brazil. The Brazilian Navy will operate the radar array, which can provide surface surveillance of up to 200 miles beyond the shore using proprietary interference cancellation techniques.
Israeli defense firm Uvision will supply the special forces of an unnamed country with Hero-30 rapid-deployable, man-portable UAVs. The drone can provide short range reconnaissance to unit operators and can even deliver a 6.6 lb payload, often in the form of an anti-personnel warhead.
Hungarian lawmakers approved the deployment of up to 150 soldiers. The troops will protect a coalition training base in the Kurdish city of Erbil. Similarly, Australia will send 330 special forces soldiers to train the Iraqi army at a military installation in Taji, north of Baghdad.
The Pentagon awarded General Dynamics a $51.4 million foreign military sales contract to provide logistical support and training for M1A1 tanks to the Iraqi government.
Twelve A-10 Warthogs from the 127th Wing of the Michigan Air National Guard will be deployed for approximately six months to support Operation Inherent Resolve. About 350 airmen will provide maintenance and logistics for the aircraft as pilots fly close air-support missions to U.S. allies fighting the Islamic State in Iraq and Syria.
Iraqi officials said they hope to receive some of the 36 F-16 fighter jets they ordered from Lockheed Martin this summer following delays due to security concerns. However, the Obama Administration has suspended delivery of other weapons systems, including Apache attack helicopters and UAVs, because they worry Baghdad lacks the capability to effectively use such military equipment.
Following a contract signed with the Egyptian government last summer, the French naval defense firm DCNS announced it had begun work on the first of four Gowind 2500 Corvettes for the Arab state. Delivery of the first ship is scheduled for 2017, with the latter three built in Egypt by 2019 through a technology transfer partnership.
For the first time, the Egyptian and Bahraini militaries will conduct joint air and sea exercises under the mission name Hamad-1. Egyptian F-16s and four navy units will take part in the exercises scheduled to start April 20th.
An A-10 Warthog similar to those deployed in Iraq. (Photo: U.S. Air Force)
Five-thousand U.S. military personnel will join about 5,000 soldiers from other allied countries in a military training called Exercise Eager Lion on May 5th. The two-week exercise will consist of a joint response to simulated conventional and unconventional threats. Troops from Bahrain, Egypt, Iraq, Kuwait, Lebanon, Pakistan, Qatar, Saudi Arabia, United Arab Emirates and a variety of NATO countries will participate.
Saudi Arabia awarded Raytheon a $2 billion contract to supply the Kingdom with additional Patriot air defense batteries. The direct commercial sale will include “fully digitized new-production Patriot fire units with the latest technology for improved threat detection, identification and engagement”, along with training and support.
France began delivering the first round of $3 billion worth of Saudi Arabian-funded military aid. While most of the advanced hardware will be delivered over the next few years, the shipment did include 48 Milan anti-tank missiles.