Israeli Defense Minister Moshe “Bogie” Ya’alon resigned on May 20, saying he has found himself in “difficult moral and professional controversies with the Prime Minister.” The former Defense Minister and the Prime Minister have recently clashed in public whether to allow Israel’s top military commanders to voice concerns about moral issues facing the IDF. Avigdor Lieberman, head of the Bayit HaYehudi (Israel Home) party, will replace Ya’alon.
The U.S. House of Representatives approved an amendment to the National Defense Authorization Act allocating $600 million for missile defense cooperation with Israel. Approximately $270 million will be spent on medium-to long-range systems such as Arrow and David’s Sling, $62 million will go to Iron Dome, and another $269 million will be spent on other research and development. However, the bill must be reconciled with a Senate version if approved.
Israeli Military Technology
Israel successfully tested an Iron Dome missile defense system at sea for the first time, in an effort to provide offshore gas platforms and other sea-borne assets protection from rocket attacks.
Rafael unveiled a specialized warhead for its Spike SR short-range shoulder-launched guided missile. The penetration blast fragmentation (PBF) warhead will “breach enemy cover and structure with a lethal blast effect,” according to a representative for the firm.
Farmers in North Dakota could use Elbit’s Hermes 450 unmanned aerial vehicle (UAV) to capture images of their fields after testing the drone in Hillsboro, ND earlier this month. Agriculture experts are examining whether using UAVs to count seedlings and other crops is more efficient than employing small manned aircraft or satellites.
Israeli aerostat maker RT announced it has integrated a new payload from Israel Aerospace Industries (IAI) subsidiary Elta called the ELI-3332. The upgraded payload will include electro-optical (EO) and radar sensors for use on its Skystar 330 lighter than air craft. Elta said the sensors can detect vehicles almost 10 miles away.
Israeli Arms Sales
Elbit supplied an unnamed Latin American country with its SkyBreaker interconnected multi-cockpit mission training center, enabling the nation to conduct realistic flight excises.
Elbit won a contract to provide an undisclosed European Country with advanced tactical communications systems, such as IP radios, for $40 million.
U.S. Arms Sales
The first round of mine-resistant, ambush-protected vehicles (MRAP) were delivered to Egypt, according to the U.S. Embassy in Cairo. While the number of vehicles now under Egyptian military command was not disclosed, Washington plans to send a total of 762 MRAPs to help fight insurgents such as Islamic State in Sinai.
The Pentagon awarded Lockheed Martin a $332 million foreign military sale to provide Israel, Jordan, and other U.S. allies with Guided Multiple Launch Rocket System (GMLRS) launching pods.
Raytheon announced it will begin deliveries of TOW (tube-launched, optically tracked, wireless-guided) missiles to Jordan later this year, following Pentagon approval. The contract, which did not specify weapon quantities or costs, was disclosed at the Special Operations Forces Exhibition (SOFEX) convention in Amman earlier this month.
Jordan unveiled a new Quick Reaction Force (QRF) at the SOFEX convention, having the unit perform a tactical demonstration. The QRF will take on time-sensitive operations such as border incursions from Islamic State and other extremist groups. Military planners hope the use of Sikorsky UH-60 Black Hawk Helicopters will also decrease the unit’s response time.