Israel and the U.S.
The U.S. House of Representatives passed a $696 billion defense bill called the 2018 National Defense Authorization Act, on July 14, which provides $705 million for US-Israel missile defense cooperation.The act passed 344 to 81 and increases spending on these programs by $558 million more than President Trump’s original defense budget request. Israeli programs such as the Iron Dome short-range missile interception system, the Arrow 3 long-range interceptor program, and David’s Sling mid-range rocket interceptors will receive funding from this bill.
U.S. Ambassador to Israel David Friedman paid a visit July 20 to the families of the two police officers who were murdered in a terror attack at the Temple Mount. In addition to sharing his condolences, Friedman said he was very concerned about the escalation of violence at Temple Mount.
Israeli Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu visited Hungary in mid-July, marking the first visit to that country by an Israeli prime minister since the fall of communism there in 1989. During his visit, Netanyahu met with Hungarian Prime Minister Viktor Orban and signed a bilateral cultural agreement and a declaration of intent for mutual cooperation in technical innovation. Under the new cultural agreement, increased funding will support more Israeli artistic performances each year in Hungary, exposing more Hungarians to Israeli culture. The Israeli prime minister also meet with French President Emmanuel Macron.
Israeli Military Technology
A micro-satellite designed jointly by Israeli and French aerospace firms, called Venus, will launch early next month aiming to monitor climate change. The satellite monitors the impact of human activity on vegetation and observes water and carbon levels. Israel’s Rafael Advanced Defense Systems provided its electric propulsion system and Elbit Systems provided the high-resolution camera.The satellite will launch August 1 from French Guyana, and is scheduled to last three and a-half years.
Israel Aerospace Industries (IAI) and Honeywell Aerospace will co-develop and manufacture an advanced GPS anti-jam navigation system. The new system will combine IAI’s ADA GPS Anti-Jamming system with Honeywell’s embedded GPS Inertial Navigation System.
IAI and Polish state holding group Polska Grupa Zbrojeniowa signed a memorandum of understanding that permits the organizations to work together in various Polish programs. The agreement involves unmanned aircraft systems, aerial reconnaissance systems, electronic warfare systems, multi-mission tanker and aviation platforms.
Foreign Military Sales
Israel’s defense ministry approved an IAI request to propose the local production and assembly of Heron TP, medium-altitude long endurance unmanned air vehicles, in India. Earlier this month during Indian Prime Minister Narendra Modi’s visit to Israel, he received briefings on the Heron TP and Israel’s willingness to transfer production work to India if the type is selected. The Israeli company hopes to pursue further business opportunities with New Delhi.
Nine more Israel-made 155mm, 39-caliber towed howitzers arrived in the Philippine capital of Manila on July 17, completing a 12-howitzer purchase. The government bought the howitzers from the Israeli company Elbit. The newly delivered howitzers will go to the Marines and to the Philippine army.