Russian President Vladimir Putin announced that Israeli Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu will soon visit Moscow for talks on regional security and trade. The comments come as the Russian president hosted Israeli President Reuven Rivlin. Following his meetings with Putin, Rivlin said he sought assurances from Moscow that a Russian withdrawal from Syria would not bolster Hezbollah or Iranian forces in the country.
The Israeli Air Force will double the size of its Heron TP UAV fleet by the end of the year. The unit overseeing Heron TP operations, Eitan, will also be doubling its personnel to deal with the growing demand for running the long-endurance drone.
The IDF’s recently established Commando Brigade has begun adoption of a new Digital Ground Army command-and-control system. The new C2 infrastructure will generate digital battlefield maps that enable centralized commanders to monitor the movement of both friendly and hostile forces, as well as relaying information about offensive firepower.
Israeli Military Technology
Elbit plans to begin flight trails of its Flying Elephant cargo-carrying UAV in the coming months. Engineers hope a 300 horsepower engine will be able to support 3300 lbs of payload. Once the system is complete, frontline ground units will be able to receive shockproof pallets of equipment and supplies.
The IAF and Israel Aerospace Industries (IAI) are working to significantly increase the endurance of the Heron TP drone. With the current ability to fly for up to 36 hours continuously, additional flight time would transfer more manned intelligence missions to the platform.
Newly manufactured Namer Armored Personnel are now including Rafael’s Trophy HV active protection systems. Already installed on Merkava Mark IV tanks, Trophy intercepts incoming anti-tank and rocket propelled grenades.
Israeli Military Sales
Argentina and Israel have resumed talks about the sale of 14 IAI Kfir Block 60 aircraft to the South American nation. The aircraft, powered by GE J79 engines, are already in service in nearby Ecuador and Columbia.
The U.S. military has stationed ground-based rocket artillery systems in Jordan to support anti-ISIS operations in Iraq and Syria.
Raytheon won a $13.8 million foreign military sales contract to provide the Jordan Armed Forces with an automated command and control system.
Saudi Arabia Watch
Dutch parliamentarians voted in favor of banning arms sales to Saudi Arabia, citing the country’s domestic human rights record and military campaign in Yemen. The Netherlands has taken the strongest measures against the Kingdom since the European Parliament recommended an EU-wide arms embargo in February.
Egypt’s parliament approved taking a $3.7 billion loan from a consortium of French banks to pay for new military hardware. Cairo has ordered new fighter jets and warships from France in recent years, but also has made large purchase orders from Russia.
Saudi Arabia agreed to provide Egypt $1.5 billion to help development projects in Sinai. The funds will be used to to build 26 residential complexes and an agricultural center, as well as new hospitals and schools.
The Pentagon awarded a $18.9 million foreign military sales contract to Bell Helicopter to supply three UH-1H (Huey II) to the Lebanese Armed Forces.