Israeli Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu visited Washington in February, meeting President Donald Trump. The two leaders held a press conference at which they discussed Iran, the prospects of negotiations with Palestinian leaders, and other regional challenges. President Trump also asked that Prime Minister Netanyahu temporarily “hold-off” settlement expansion, and said that he would be satisfied with a “one-state” solution if both sides could agree to it.
Israeli Defense Minister Avigdor Lieberman met with U.S. Secretary of Defense General James Mattis at a conference in Munich. According to press reports, Lieberman and Mattis focused their discussion on Iran’s threat to regional stability.
Israeli Military Technology
Command Arms and Accessories (CAA), a firm started by two former IDF commandos in 2008, bought licensing rights for the AK-47. The group, which has been known for creating new accessories for existing weapons, will use new manufacturing process and design enhancements to sell a sport version of the weapon in U.S. markets.
An updated version of the Iron Dome missile defense system successfully completed a series of tests, according to a Ministry of Defense statement. New U.S.-made Tamir interceptors will be better at destroying simultaneously fired projectiles at different ranges.
Foreign Military Sales
The Pentagon awarded Israeli Aerospace Industries (IAI) a $15.6 million contract to provide “21 Man Portable Aerial Defense System kits” to “counter-unmanned aerial systems.” While it is unclear exactly what system the U.S. military has purchased, news media speculation suggest that the Air Force has shown interest in Drone Guard, which could be used to electromagnetically disrupt ISIS (Islamic State in Iraq and Syria)-operated short-range drones.
Israel Aerospace Industries (IAI) and Kalyani Strategic Systems signed a memorandum of understanding (MOU), establishing a joint venture that will design air defense systems and specialized munitions.
IMI Systems, formerly known as Israel Military Industries, opened a permanent office in Hanoi following negotiations between the Vietnamese military and the firm’s chairman, Yitzhak Aharonovich. Aharonovich was quoted as saying that IMI’s presence will increase the defense cooperation between Israel and Vietnam, and grow the firm’s presence in the Asian market.
Elbit won a five-year, $102 million contract to provide Mortar Fire Control Systems to the U.S. military.
The Indian government will buy a new medium-range surface-to-air missile defense system (MR-SAM) at a cost of $2.5 billion. The new system, designed jointly with IAI, will be a land-based version of the Indian Navy’s Barak-8. New Delhi hopes to have the MR-SAM operational by 2023.