Israel and American military representatives held talks earlier this month aiming to include U.S. forward-deployed Terminal High Altitude Area Defense (THAAD) batteries in next year’s Juniper Cobra exercise. The IDF expects to test David’s Sling during the exercise.
Israel F-15s joined more than 100 planes and over 2,500 military personnel from other NATO members for Exercise Red Flag at Nellis Air Force Base in Nevada this month. Israeli Air Force KC-707 Tankers reportedly escorted five Jordanian F-16s across the Atlantic to the trainings.
The U.S. Navy concluded Reliant Mermaid 2015, a series of exercises with the Israeli Navy in the Mediterranean Sea. The trainings this year featured Arleigh Burke-class guided-missile destroyer USS Porter and helped prepare sailors for search and rescues, as well as boarding and seizure tactics.
In a sign of Israel’s growing military alliance with India, the Indian naval vessel INS Trikand visited the port of Haifa on August 19th. During the four day stay, sailors engaged in a variety of professional meetings and social engagements to deepen cooperation.
Israeli Military Technology
Indian Navy warship INS Trikand. (Photo: Indian Navy)
Rafael, the manufacturer of Iron Dome, could release a laser-based missile and mortar defense system within the next five years. The system would be a more cost effective method of combating incoming projectiles fired at Israel. According to estimates, about 100 kilowatts of power may be needed to intercept mortars with a half second energy burst. Boeing is also developing its own prototype that could be ready in 2018.
In response to the rising threat of surface-to-air missiles targeting Israeli jets in future combat zones, such as Russian-made S-300s in Iran, Israel’s Air Force is reconfiguring its F-16I fighters. Officials have not disclosed exactly what payload changes they are making. Separately, the IAF is equipping one squadron of F-16Is with U.S.-made GBU-39 Small Diameter Bombs.
The Israeli government plans to do most of its maintenance, repair, and overhaul (MRO) work for the F-35 within the country, as opposed to at regional sustainment centers.
The Israeli Navy’s equipment division released a design overview of its upcoming purchase of four German-made Saar 6 Corvettes, which will be deployed in Israel’s Economic Exclusion Zone (EEZ) off the Mediterranean coast.
Israeli Military Sales
Spain is considering Israel Aerospace Industries (IAI) Heron TP as a finalist in an acquisition competition to purchase a new medium-altitude, long-endurance (MALE) UAV. General Atomics Aeronautical Systems’ MQ-9 Reaper is also being considered for a five-year, nearly $200 million contract for four drones and two control centers. Elbit Systems announced it was awarded a $27 million contract to provide an unnamed Asia-Pacific country with ATMOS long-range artillery over the next three years.
Russia gifted a Molniya missile ship to Egypt on August 15th following the ship’s participation in a celebration for the expanded Suez Canal. The advanced ship features surface-to-surface missiles and electronic warfare systems and is another sign of the deepening Russo-Egyptian military partnership.
Amman agreed to buy nine Pilatus PC-9 M two-seater fighter jets for training Jordanian Air Force pilots. The deal will also include simulators and related logistical support.
The U.S. military plans to withdraw two Patriot missile defense batteries protecting the Turkish-Syrian border this fall. Ankara has voiced dismay at the decision, but officials in Washington insist the threat from Syrian missiles has ebbed. U.S. military planners also say the batteries are in high demand and need modernization. Two German batteries may also be removed by the end of this year, leaving one Spanish-manned interceptor.
Ankara plans to provide structural upgrades to 25 F-16 Block 30 fighter jets, the oldest of the F-16 models owned by the country. The measure will provide interim reliability improvements until, officials hope, an indigenously-made fighter jet takes flight in 2023.