The United States State Department announced on February 23rd that the U.S. embassy in Israel will be moving from Tel Aviv to Jerusalem in May, timed to coincide with the 70th anniversary of Israel’s founding. It will be located in buildings already owned by the U.S. government in the Arnona neighborhood until a more permanent compound is built.
Israeli soldiers in Unit 8200, a signals and digital intelligence command, played a pivotal role in preventing a major Islamic State terrorist attack last summer that would have downed a passenger jet, according to recently released army statement. Soldiers with the group provided vital intelligence to Australian police that led to the arrest of the suspects who were in the advanced stages of planning the attack.
Israel and the United States have successfully tested the Arrow 3 interceptor. The Arrow 3 is part of multi-layered defensive shield designed to counter long-range missile threats from Iran and Hezbollah.
The IDF held large-scale exercises on February 22 intended to simulate a war in Lebanon. The army said this training is intended “to improve preparedness on the northern front.” The simulation included both conscripted soldiers and reservists and come at a time of heightened tension between Israel, Iran and Hezbollah in the Golan Heights.
More than 2,500 United States soldiers and officers arrived in Israel in preparation for a two-week joint exercise named Juniper Cobra. The drills will include live missile interception tests as well as computer simulations to strengthen cooperation and coordination between the two militaries.
The Israeli Defense Ministry has begun the pre-qualification phase for a project intended to consolidate four military bases in Central Israel into one base near Ramle. This consolidation is meant to save money and make the army more efficient.
Israeli Military Technology
Israel Aerospace Industries (IAI) announced a collaboration with U.S. based aerospace and defense accelerator Starburst Ventures. As part of the agreement, IAI will assist selecting startups for the accelerator, as well as offering mentorship and investment money.
Foreign Military Sales
The United States Department of Defense awarded Lockheed Martin a contract for procurement of air vehicle spares for F-35 air vehicle deliveries valued at $13.9 million.
IAI has sold 100 units of the Iron Dome radar system to nine separate countries including Israel, Canada, and India for a total of about $2 billion, according to a company report.
Elbit has received regulatory approval to buy Israel Military Industries (IMI) after negotiations with the Israeli government. IMI programs will remain under government control but the acquisition will make Elbit Systems the largest defense and aerospace company in Israel.
India has placed both IAI and Rafael on its restricted procurements list in response to alleged corruption at both companies. The development makes the future of Rafael’s $900 million dollar missile deal with India unclear.