One-hundred seventy-three U.S. paratroopers stationed with EUCOM participated in a joint training with the IDF’s elite Egoz guerilla warfare unit last week in Israel. The allied forces simulated recapturing a small village overrun by militants and practiced different techniques needed for mountain and urban combat.
The Pentagon awarded Boeing a $9 million contract to provide support and logistical services to Harpoon anti-ship missiles systems for U.S. allies including Israel, Saudi Arabia, and the United Arab Emirates.
Israeli Military Sales
Switzerland will receive Hermes 900 heavy fuel engine systems as well as command and control equipment from Elbit as part of a 4-year, $200 million agreement.
Israeli Military Technology
Elbit announced that its SkyShield aircraft defense system passed a series of NATO trials on an Airbus C-295 transport plane. The Israeli tech firm hopes to sell SkyShield, which uses sensors and lasers to intercept shoulder fired missiles (MANPADS), to Brazil and NATO countries for use on both civilian and military aircraft.
A U.S. soldier at a joint training in Israel. (Photo: IDF)
The Israeli Navy and Israel Aerospace Industries (IAI) concluded the first successful test of the Barak 8 interceptor in late November. The missile, made jointly with India, is designed to protect naval vessels and offshore platforms from aerial attack. Officials hope to have fully operational missiles and launchers on ships within the next two years.
In a speech to the Association for Unmanned Vehicle Systems International in Israel, the head of the Ministry of Defense’s research and development division Brig. Gen. Nir Halamish outlined the government’s strategy for the future of autonomous systems. With respect to infantry forces, the Israeli military plans on deploying unmanned ground vehicles (UGVs) ahead of manned forces on battlefields. In the air, it hopes to improve existing civilian gliders but also create a range of autonomous hovering craft capable of lifting small objects up to 90lbs. Halamish said that the goal for new systems is to operate 90% autonomously.
With the help of a U.S. military grant, the IDF is working to upgrade its infantry training by constructing a new advanced urban and subterranean combat center in the Golan Heights. Named Snir, commanders plan to start training ground forces at the facility next year with live fire simulations and have the base fully operational by the end of 2017.
The Israeli Air Force (IAF) signed a 15-year deal with manufacturer Pratt and Whitney worth hundreds of millions of dollars to provide engine maintenance for F-15I and F-16I fighter jets. Defense officials said the agreement will “ensure that the IAF will have at its possession, at any time, a quantity of working engines” to sustain operational readiness.
Meprolight, an Israeli optics company, announced it plans to deliver thousands of advance red dot MEPRO sights to the IDF for use on the M5 rifle in December. Powered by an AA battery, the targeting system allows for ‘both-eyes-open’ shooting and can even be used with night vision goggles.
Russia and Egypt began pre-contract delivery negotiations for the Antey 2500 (S-300VM) anti-ballistic missile system and Bulk air-to-air missiles as part of a $1 billion upgrade to Cairo’s air defense systems. Negotiations include command and control infrastructure and other technical components with deliveries expected to be completed by the end of 2016.
Lockheed Martin was awarded $38 million contract to provide advanced training to the Iraqi Air Force for its F-16s pilots through 2020.
The Pentagon approved a $61 million foreign military sale for DynCorp to supply maintenance to Saudi Land Forces Aviation Command.
BAE made the first international delivery of the Advanced Precision Kill Weapon System (APKWS) to Jordan. The air-to-ground weapon will provide new guided rocket capability to operators or certain turboprop aircraft and helicopters.
War on ISIS
The Obama administration announced that it plans to deploy a “specialized expeditionary targeting force” to Iraq to “conduct raids, free hostages, gather intelligence, and capture ISIL leaders”. The unit will work with both Kurdish peshmerga fighters and central government forces in Iraq, but conduct “unilateral operations” inside Syria. Such raids, often conducted at night, have provided a valuable way to gain intelligence and kill or capture high value targets. An unnamed U.S. official estimated the unit would include about 200 people, including special forces soldiers and their support staff. The troops will join the approximately 50 special forces military advisors already embedded with U.S. ground allies.
The UK began airstrikes on IS targets in Syria after ministers in Parliament approved the use of force inside the Arab country.