The Israeli defense budget has increased 9% year-over-year, helping to push the country’s deficit to more than 2.7% of GDP. Defense spending has now topped NIS 63 billion (approximately $16.7 billion), the highest in Israeli history.
CIA Director John Brennan and Joint Chiefs of Staff Chairman General Martin Dempsey visited Israel in early June and met with senior Israeli officials to discuss the Iranian nuclear deal. Dempsey called Washington’s relationship Jerusalem “unshakeable” and stated that if a political solution with Iran fails, a military answer might be the only course of action.
The U.S. Air Force (USAF) and Israeli Air Force (IAF) signed a strategic agreement that codifies their future relationship and creates a path for deeper cooperation. The deal helps facilitate joint trainings, such as Red-Flag, absorption of the F-35, and airborne medicine.
The IAF will participate in Operation Blue Flag, an exercise aimed at preparing for a war against a modernized political entity with strong air capabilities. The trainings will also include elements of the Italian and Greek Air Forces.
General Martin Dempsey being welcomed to Israel by Major General Yaacob Ayish, Israel Defense and Armed Forces Attache to the U.S., on Monday June 8, 2015. (Photo: U.S. Embassy Tel Aviv)
With the completion of 3 successful tests, the “David’s Sling” weapon defense system will be ready for operational deployment following the fourth and final test later this year.
Israeli Military Technology
Israel Aerospace Industries (IAI) is integrating the High Definition M-19HD Electro-optical/infrared payload system onto its Heron TP unmanned air vehicle. Successful flight tests show the M-19HD’s effectiveness and it is already being offered to customers.
IAI unveiled its new Suicide Harop UAV. The drone can be airborne for 6 hours and has long distance flight capabilities. It also can be launched from land or sea, possesses a 33-pound warhead, day and night sensors, and can halt an attack if civilians are present.
Israeli high command is aiming to revamp its special forces to focus on pre-emptive and rapid response operations. Proposals include creating a standing regiment like the U.S. Army Rangers and integrating elite air, sea, and ground forces into a joint command structure.
Following the completion of successful trials in 2014, IAI’s Barak-8 medium-range surface-to-air missile is starting to be delivered to customers, including the IDF and India. The new missile system includes a 2-way data link that uploads target information and downloads missile status, allowing operators to make on-the-fly corrections and adjustments.
The IAI recently completed development of the ULTRA-C1 radar arrays. The ULTRA-C1 comes in several sizes, with the smallest being able to identify the location of drones and planes over 300 miles away and the largest being able to identify ballistic missiles and satellites thousands of miles away.
Russia and Egypt conducted a weeklong coastal defense naval exercise. The trainings include the Russian guided missile carrier, Moskva, as well as five other Egyptian vessels.
France will send Egypt a FREMM-class frigate. The vessel has anti-air, ship, and submarine capabilities and will aid Egypt’s enforcement of the Gaza blockade and protection of its coastlines. However, France will remove its long-range cruise missiles and electronic warfare/defense suite from the frigate. Egypt is also preparing to receive 18 Rafales fighter planes from France. The Rafales will be equipped with AASM Hammer missiles that will greatly strengthen Egypt’s air-to-ground capabilities.
Cincinnati based GE Aviation has been awarded approximately 12 million for upgrades to F-16 engines. The upgraded F-16s are believed to be destined for Egypt.
Britain’s outgoing Ambassador to Bahrain said construction on a $23.7 million British Naval base in the emirate will begin in late summer. The base will likely be designed to accommodate the new Queen Elizabeth-class aircraft carriers and Type 45 destroyers.
France is currently finalizing a $1.13 billion sale of 24 Airbus-built Caracal-type military helicopters to Kuwait.
Qatar has recently signed a deal for four more Boeing C-17 Globemaster III Strategic Airlifters. QAEF deputy commander General Ahmed al-Malki stated that it will enhance “worldwide operations” and strengthen Qatar’s air capabilities.
Jordan unveiled a new phase of its border surveillance systems. The introduction of radar and surveillance towers will provide an effective defense against infiltration attempts, especially by Islamic State militants.
Lockheed Martin recently received a contract to deliver 10 Sniper Advanced Targeting Pods to the Royal Jordanian Air Force. The SATPs have increased capabilities regarding long range detection, identification, and continuous surveillance for both close and long range missions.
A Qatari C-17 Globemaster. (Photo: Boeing)
Last Wednesday the Lebanese military conducted a live-fire demonstration with U.S.-supplied missiles intended to combat Islamic extremists. The missiles, believed to be worth $10 million, were jointly financed by the U.S. and Saudi Arabia.
The Obama administration announced that it would send an additional 450 troops to help train Iraqi soldiers in the battle against ISIS. The mission, estimated to take several months, is intended to better prepare Iraqi forces and stem the Islamic State’s recent advances.
U.S. Marines conducted a TRAP exercise, focusing on speedy recovery of a downed pilot in territory held by the Islamic State.
The Dutch government has extended the stay of its troops in Iraq to continue the fight against the Islamic State.