Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu and other top Israeli leaders toured the Jewish State’s newest submarine. The German-made Dolphin-class submarine INS Rahav has a crew of 50 sailors and comes at a cost of $406 million. Analysts expect the sub is capable of carrying a nuclear payload with a second strike capability.
Following recent intelligence assessments, the IDF has created a new Yahalom (“Diamond”) elite Engineering Corps unit to confront the threat of chemical weapons use on land. The group’s mission will be to “detect, identify, and treat unconventional materials in a combat zone,” according to Israel Hayom. Officials expect the first recruits to complete training in eight months.
Flextronics withdrew its bid for Israeli Military Industries (IMI), leaving Elbit as the sole bidder to privatize the state-owned company. IHS Janes reports it it unlikely that the other bidders will continue acquisition plans.
mPrest, the firm that developed Iron Dome’s command and control software, raised $20 million in funding with the help of GE Ventures and OurCrowd. The Israeli company hopes to add new inputs to its scalable agronomic software, allowing it to manage electricity grids and other complex networks.
Israeli Military Technology
A new report in the Jerusalem Post showcased the advanced visual surveillance equipment now installed on every type of IAF reconnaissance aircraft. The previously undisclosed system named Fire Tower and built by Elbit, was first introduced in 2000. After several upgrades, the newest version can identify targets at farther distances than ever and capture HD video. Fire Tower is a critical part of the IDF’s plan to disseminate visual intelligence to more units as fast as possible.
IMI announced it is working on a third version of its MPR air-to-ground munitions. The new MPR-1000 will compliment the smaller MPR-500 and MPR-250, which are already in service with the IAF. Compatible with guidance systems on the traditional MK 80 series, the new munitions have a smaller damage radius but provide improved penetration capacity. Engineers expect the MPR-1000 will be able to push through almost five feet of concrete before detonating.
Israeli Military Sales
Germany is looking to buy the Israel Aerospace Industries (IAI) high endurance Heron drone, according to a report on Israeli Army Radio. The UAV, which has a range of up to 4,600 miles, would serve as a stop-gap until Germany, Italy, and France jointly complete their own UAV planned for 2025.
Elbit won a contract to provide its CyberShield cybersecurity training system to an unnamed Asian country for an unclosed sum. The training material addresses ways to protect against and respond to a variety of different kinds of cyber attacks.
Brazilian firm Harpia Sistemas will end its nearly five year joint venture with Elbit systems, likely due to budgetary concerns. The two companies had been working together to create a Brazilian Remotely Piloted Aircraft System (SARP).
War on ISIS
French Defense Minister Jean-Yves Le Drian says he estimates that the U.S.-lead coalition has killed 22,000 Islamic State jihadists since operations against the group began in 2014.
Turkish officials hope to finalize an agreement to produce the country’s first indigenously made jet fighter in the first half of 2016. Meanwhile, the Undersecretariat for the Defense Industry (SSM) is working to select one of three final design proposals for the plane.
Officials with the SSM announced that Saudi Arabia and Pakistan showed interest in buying the domestically produced Altay battle tank. Prototypes based on five different designs have been built, and are currently undergoing testing. The Turkish government expects to bid out the tank later this year.
The State Department approved the possible foreign military sale of F-16 weapons, munitions, equipment, and logistical support to Iraq worth $1.95 billion.
The delivery of 46 Russian-made Kamov Ka-52 Alligator attack helicopters will start being delivered Egypt in 2017.
France plans to deliver a second large shipment of weapons to the Lebanese Armed Forces (LAF) in April 2016 as part a $3 billion agreement financed by Saudi Arabia. As part of the deal, the LAF will receive 250 vehicles, seven Cougar multipurpose transport helicopters, and three Corvette-type warships.