Speaker of the House of Representatives Paul Ryan led a bipartisan delegation of U.S. lawmakers to Israel, meeting with his counterpart in the Knesset, Yuli Edelstein, and Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu. The leaders were said to have discussed the rising threat of Islamic State terrorists, Palestinian incitement, the U.S.-Israel cooperation.
Head of the IDF’s combat Medical Branch Lt. Col. Avi Yitzhak finished a course for brigade commanders. His graduation makes him eligible for a promotion to full colonel, enabling him to be the first Ethiopian Israeli to earn the rank. Yitzhak, who is also a doctor, served as a Paratrooper and in the elite Maglan unit.
Israeli Military Technology
The IDF reported its Romach “Spear” guided artillery rocket systems are now operational after a year of testing. The Israel Military Industries-made (IMI) rockets use GPS guidance and can be launched using a modified version of the Artillery Corps’ mobile M270 platform. According to IMI, the new system will be more accurate traditional artillery and have a range of up to 22 miles.
Israel Aerospace Industries (IAI) will produce C4 (command, control, communications and computing) systems for the Israeli F-35 Adir fighter aircraft.
Israel and India
The Defexpo 2016 exhibition in Goa, India hosted 28 Israeli defense firms showcasing a wide range of high tech systems. At the end of the conference, IAI announced it had made hundreds of millions of dollars of new sales to India over the past quarter.
Israel’s Rafael and India’s Reliance Defense Systems signed a $10 billion agreement to develop a air defense systems, air-to-air missiles, and surveillance balloons, among other systems.
Industry sources suggest that the Indian Army has decided to purchase Israel’s Spyder surface-to-air (SAM) missile system over its domestically produced Akash SAM. Rafael and IAI designed Spyder, which can intercept targets up to 12 mile away.
Israeli Military Sales
The Israeli Defense Ministry’s Export Organization announced that Israeli firms sold more than $5.7 billion worth of products and services in 2015, up from $5.6 in 2014. Asia-Pacific was the largest market for exports, worth $2.3 billion, with Europe buying approximately $1.6 billion of military hardware.
Elbit won a contract to provide end-to-end intelligence equipment to an unnamed country in Africa. The package is said to include cyber analysis and research systems.
Elbit will supply the Australian Royal Flying Doctor Service (RFDS) with a Beechcraft King Air B200 flight training simulator.
An unverified video seems to show the first field use of the IMI-made Harop suicide drone during the recent flare up in Nagorno-Karabakh. Reportedly sold to Azerbaijan, the loitering munition can be piloted remotely or can autonomously attack targets based on radar or radio wave emissions.
The U.S. government released statistics showing a sample of weapons heading through Turkish and Jordanian ports to Western backed rebels in Syria. Two shipments of Eastern European-made arms included AK-47s, machine guns, rocket launchers, and Faktoria anti-tank guided weapons.
The U.S. Navy is hosting the 30-nation International Mine Countermeasures Exercise (IMCMEX) from the Fifth Fleet base in Bahrain. Officials say the joint training is the largest such exercise in the world and will focus on subsurface threats, infrastructure protection, and maritime security operations.
U.S. Secretary of State John Kerry is reportedly discussing a possible security compact between GCC states and NATO. Such an agreement could see GCC systems connected to NATO’s integrated missile defense system and cooperation in other areas such as cyber security.
Paris and Doha signed a deal worth $7.5 billion to supply Qatar with 24 Dassault Rafale fighter jets. The package includes training for 36 pilots, 100 mechanics, and long-range over-the-horizon cruise missiles.
Kuwait will buy 28 Eurofighter jets from Finmeccanica in an agreement worth $9 billion. The fighter jets will also include a new electronically scanned radar system provided by EuroRADAR.