Home Alliance Tracker Alliance Tracker: February 23, 2016

Alliance Tracker: February 23, 2016

A F-35 fighter in the skies over California. (Photo: Lockheed Martin)


The U.S. and Israel began biennial defense training program Juniper Cobra 2016, focused on interoperability between Israel and the European Command, specifically as regards ballistic missile defense.  More than “1,700 U.S. service members, civilians and contractors” participated in the eight-day program, but the IDF did not disclose which specific tests would be performed.

The Israeli Ministry of Defense launched a bidding process to establish a new centralized IT facility that would unify dozens of computer clusters in southern Israel. The plan is part of a wider relocation of the C4I Branch and the Military Intelligence Directorate to bases in the Negev.

The Pentagon requested $145.8 million in its fiscal year 2017 budget request for defense programs in Israel, which would include joint projects such as Iron dome.

Israeli Military Technology

Israel Aerospace Industries (IAI) showcased high-tech weapons systems at the Singapore Airshow earlier this month. Drone Guard will use 3D radars and electro-optical sensors to identify incoming drones and also includes a Electronic Attack jamming transmitters to disrupt the UAV’s flight. Slow, low flying UAVs will be detectable up to 12 miles away. The firm also unveiled a series of loitering munitions, including a short range Rotem L quadcopter and the canister-launched Green Dragon, both of which can be carried by infantrymen.

Elbit systems unveiled Skylark 3, a new drone to compliment its series of mini-tactical UAVs, and designed for use by “brigade-level and division-level units.” With a flight endurance of six hours and range of over 60 miles, the larger Skylark 3 will be launched pneumatically from a vehicle or ground station.

An unnamed Israeli firm based in Hod Hasharon has developed a specialized UAV sensor array which is able to use short-range infrared technology to cut through clouds and fog. The mission specific payload will help defend border areas from ground attacks, especially in the early morning, up to 12 miles away.

Israeli Military Sales

Lockheed Martin has contracted with IAI to produce an additional 40 wing sets for the F-35 fighter jets. In total, the Israeli firm is scheduled to produce more than 800 wing pairs for the program over the next 15 years, worth an estimated $2.5 billion.

Germany will lease between three and five IAI-manufactured Heron TP drones starting in 2018 a cost of about $640 million. The UAVs will be stationed in Israel and will serve as a stopgap until Germany, France, Italy, and Spain finish a co-venture to develop their own drones by 2025.

The Philippines will purchase three ELM-2288 long-range mobile air defense radar systems from Elta in a contract valued at $56 million.

Indian media reports suggest that Prime Minister Narendra Modi could seek his cabinet’s approval for a $3 billion defense deal with Israel ahead of his upcoming visit to the Jewish State. Rafael’s Litening-4 navigation and targeting technology for installation on Russian-made Sukhoi-30MKIs fighter jets and the Spike advanced anti-tank guided missiles could be included in the sale.

Levant Watch

Saudi Arabia suspended a $3 billion military assistance package for the Lebanese Armed Forces (LAF), which was to enable Beirut to buy French arms. The first batch of offensive and defensive weapons was delivered in April 2015, but rising concern over the influence of Hezbollah and other Shiite groups made the Riyadh government uncomfortable continuing the deal.

Egypt Watch

The Egyptian Navy is expected to take delivery of two French-made Mistral-class amphibious assault ships in June and September. Crews for the ships will arrive in France in March for training.