Israel hosted air force delegations from seven countries, including India, at the Ovdah Air Base in southern Israel for the two-week Blue Flag exercise. Over 100 aircraft participated in the drill, which concentrated on coordinating joint operations and operational readiness.
Australian Prime Minister Malcolm Turnbull visited Israel in late October, meeting with Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu. Government representatives also signed a Memorandum of Understanding on defense cooperation between the two states.
Israeli Military Technology
Israel Weapon Industries (IWI) announced an upgraded variant of its Tavor assault rifle and other firearms at a defense exhibition in Thailand. The new Tavor is designed to need less maintenance be more accurate in short and medium ranges.
Israel is implementing “Simba” mobile sonar to track terrorist activity at sea, specifically emanating from the Gaza Strip. The new system will be better able to identify threats from enemy combatants as opposed to identifying marine life. The IDF’s current radar system was installed two years ago and is prone to false alarms.
Foreign Military Sales
The New Zealand firm Vector invested 10 million dollars in mPrest, the company that helped develop the software behind Iron Dome. The company hopes to use the software to combat summertime blackouts and limit its carbon emissions. mPrest CEO Natan Barak characterized the investment as the most meaningful and expansive collaboration between the two countries in years.
Elbit broadened a partnership with the Royal Thai Army to expand the latter’s Weapon’s Production Center and make an autonomous version of the Elbit 120mm Spear’s mortar and an autonomous self-propelled howitzer for mounting on trucks.
Rafael opened its first office in Australia comprising both Israeli and Australian staff. The Israeli defense firm already supplies weapons systems to the Australian ministry of defense, but hopes to expand “significant arming programs,” according to a statement.
The U.S. Federal Aviation Administration approved the Supplemental Type Certificate (STC) for IAI, following the firm’s conversion of a Boeing 737 from passenger to full-freighter configuration. The certification approves the installation of wide cargo doors on three Alaskan Airlines planes.
First responders in Israel, Palestinian Authority-administered territories, and Jordan participated in joint training exercises to prepare a coordinated response to cross-border natural disasters. The training, which includes 400 members of emergency services, helped officials share expertise and prepare for possible threats to their countries such as wildfires.
This report was compiled by Joshua Weintraub.