Home Alliance Tracker Alliance Tracker: May 9, 2017

Alliance Tracker: May 9, 2017

Chairman of the U.S. Joint Chiefs of Staff Joseph Dunford, right, shakes hands with Defense Minister Avigdor Liberman in the ministry’s Tel Aviv headquarters on May 9, 2017. (Photo: Israeli Defense Ministry)

Israel and the U.S.

U.S. Chairman of the Joint Chiefs of Staff Gen. Joseph Dunford landed in Israel on May 8, where he was awarded a commendation for his service in strengthening the U.S.-Israel partnership. During his third visit to the Jewish state, he is expected to discuss regional security challenges, including Islamic State in Sinai and the Syrian Civil War, with Israel Defense Forces Chief of Staff Gadi Eisenkot and Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu.

The U.S. Naval Academy and Israeli Navy signed an agreement establishing an exchange program for cadets.

USS Ross, an Arleigh Burke-class guided-missile destroyer, made a port call in the northern Israeli city of Haifa. Cmdr. Bryan S. Gallo, the commanding officer of USS Ross, said that the visit “demonstrates our resolve to maintaining an active presence in the area and engaging with our partners on common security goals.”

The U.S. and Israeli Air Forces are scheduled to start exercises this week at Ovda air base in the Negev. Israeli media reported that the USAF sent F-15s to take part in the drill. Ovda will also host seven different countries at Blue Flag later this year.  

Israeli Intelligence Minister Yisrael Katz called on Washington to recognize Israel’s sovereignty over the Golan Heights amid the deterioration in security on adjacent Syrian territory over the past six years.


Israel and Japan signed separate cybersecurity and trade agreements in early May. The cyber accord includes “a joint training program, collaborative workshops and the contribution of Israeli experts to Japan’s Center of Excellence in Cyber Security,” according to The Jerusalem Post.  Officials say that the second agreement could double trade and will provide a framework for collaboration in “artificial intelligence, robotics, Internet of things, and autonomous driving.”

Israeli Technology

The IDF developed a training course using Oculus and Vive virtual reality headsets, according to a new Bloomberg report. The two technologies, developed by Facebook and HTC respectively, prepare soldiers for navigating and clearing Hamas tunnels from Gaza.  

Military Sales

Sikorsky/Lockheed Martin will meet with Israeli defense officials to pitch their CH-53K King Stallion as the IDF seeks to upgrade its heavy-lift helicopter capability. Boeing has also signaled it will compete for the contract, promoting its CH-47F Block-2 Chinook to replace Israeli’s aging CH-53 Yas’ur.

The U.S. State Department approved the possible foreign military sale of 13 76mm naval guns and supporting technical services for a cost of $440 million. The weapons system will be installed on the Saar 4.5 and Saar 6 Missile Patrol Boats in the Mediterranean.

Israel Aerospace Industries (IAI) delivered the last of three Super Dvora MK III patrol boats to the Israeli Navy. The latest C variant offers “improved communications equipment, the latest weapons systems, an upgraded machine room, and more space for the crew,” according to Israeli Defense.

Regional Developments

Palestinian Authority President Mahmoud Abbas visited Washington, meeting with President Donald Trump at the White House. The president set an optimistic tone for brokering future Israeli-Palestinian negotiations and raised concerns over PA payments made to the families of Palestinian terrorists.

Turkey’s domestically-produced Anka UAV test fired various munitions, according to an announcement from the government’s military procurement agency.  Pictures show the drone equipped with precision-guided bombs, rockets, and anti-tank missiles.    

The U.S. equipped the Lebanese Armed Forces with over a 1,000 machine guns with the goal of improving border security, according to a U.S. Embassy statement released in Beirut.