The U.S. Senate allocated $600 million to Israel for missile defense programs as part of a larger $619 billion National Defense Authorization Act. The money will help fund Iron Dome, David’s Sling, and Arrow-3 defense systems. Separately, Congress also approved two bills to enhance cybersecurity cooperation with the Jewish State, establishing a joint research and development fund to invest in projects protecting infrastructure and counter commercial espionage.
Israel took delivery of two F-35 fighters at Nevatim Air base on December 12. U.S. Defense Secretary Ash Carter attended a ceremony at the base with Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu and expressed Washington’s continued security commitment to Israel. Last last month the Israeli security cabinet approved the purchase of another 17 F-35, bringing Israel’s total purchase of the stealth fighter to 50 planes.
Kemal Okem began his tenure Turkish ambassador to Israel earlier this month, helping to restore diplomatic relations after six years without formal ties between Ankara and Jerusalem. During a ceremony with the new ambassador, Israeli President Reuven Rivlin also conveyed his condolences to the Turkish people following recent terrorist attacks in Istanbul.
The British Navy’s amphibious assault command and control ship HMS Bulwark made a brief visit to Haifa’s port in November to demonstrate “the growing relationship between the Royal Navy and the Israeli Navy,” according to a UK government statement.
Israeli Military Technology
The IDF plans to update Segev unmanned ground vehicles (UGV) that patrol the Israeli border with Gaza. Elbit will install a fully autonomous navigational system and weapons array on the modified Ford F-350, allowing an operator to pick a location for the vehicle to patrol.
Israel Military Industries (IMI) demonstrated a new generation of artillery systems earlier this month. Named Magic Spear, the 155mm surface-to-surface rocket automous rocket is guided by GPS can drop a warhead within 30 feet of a target.
Foreign Military Sales
India signed two contracts with Israel Aerospace Industries (IAI) last month totaling $1.4 billion. As part of the agreement IAI will upgrade two Phalcon/IL-76 Airborne Early Warning and Control Systems (AWACS) system and will purchase 10 armable Heron TP UAVs.
The Pentagon awarded Elbit a $103 million contract to provide new mortar weapons system for the U.S. Army.
Brazil suspended talks to acquire two Boeing 767-300ER Multi-Mission Tanker Transport (MTTT) planes that were to be refurbished by Israeli Aerospace Industries. IHS Jane’s said budget constraints probably influenced the decision.
Greece and Egypt began Medusa 2016, a five day joint aerial and naval exercise, on December 8. The drill will concentrate on maritime interdictions and securing offshore entities.
The State Department approved the possible foreign military sale of 28 Apache AH-64E ground attack helicopters and auxiliary services to the UAE for $3.5 billion.