The Israeli Air Force and the U.S. Air Force signed an agreement to outline cooperation for 2017. Officials say that the roadmap ensures joint military exercises and will help the two countries integrate new F-35’s into their respective fleets.
A new report found the number of women in IDF combat roles increased by more than 400% percent over the past decade. The growth, which is expected to continue, can be attributed to an eased selection process, improved living conditions, and the opening of more mixed-gender battalions.
The IAF is close to selecting a new helicopter to train incoming cadets. The three contenders include the AgustaWestland AW119, Airbus Helicopter H125 and Bell Helicopter 407GXP, with a decision expected by the end of 2016.
Israeli Military Technology
Elbit announced the development of Skylark C, a new highly autonomous drone for maritime use. Based on the Skylark I, the UAV will provide enhanced target acquisition and reconnaissance for naval forces with its improved thermal camera and navigation systems.
The IDF’s Command and Control research unit has begun testing augmented reality systems for upcoming battlefield training. Developers have purchased two Microsoft HoloLens headsets and are writing software that will allow commanders to monitor troop movements against superimposed terrain. Other programs written for the HoloLens prepare medics for frontline surgeries.
Foreign Military Sales
After expressing interest in medium-altitude, long-endurance UAVs, Kazakhstan’s defense ministry signed an agreement to order new drones from Israel. The number and type of UAVs was not disclosed, however, some of the drones will be assembled in Kazakhstan.
Japan is in discussion with Israeli Aerospace Industries (IAI) to buy the Heron TP UAVs following concerns that U.S.-made Global Hawk UAV could have high maintenance costs.
Israeli defense contractors are testing upgrades to a Thai Army M60A3 Tank, according to a recent report. If the new firing and command and control systems work well, the Thai military could hire the unnamed contractor to update on other tanks as well.
The State Department approved the possible foreign military sale of over 150 M1A2S Abrams Main Battle Tanks and supporting equipment to Saudi Arabia.
The U.S. government announced it delivered $50 million worth of military equipment to the Lebanese Armed Forces (LAF) to help Beirut fight extremist threats. The shipment included “50 armored Humvees, 40 Howitzer field artillery pieces, 50 MK-19 grenade launchers and 1,000 tons of ammunition,” according to U.S. Embassy statement.