Home Alliance Tracker Alliance Tracker: May 26, 2020

Alliance Tracker: May 26, 2020

After many false starts, Russia has indirectly confirmed a first sale of Sukhoi Su-35 Flanker-E fighters to Egypt, but details such as cost and delivery schedule have not been released.


Secretary of State Mike Pompeo met with Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu and Minister of Defense Benny Gantz during his visit to Israel earlier this month. Pompeo reportedly emphasized U.S. national security concerns over Chinese high-tech investment in Israel and the importance of coordination. Additionally, the three men discussed Iran and the status of President Trump’s plan for peace in the region. Shortly after the Secretary’s departure, Israel rejected a bid from Hutchinson, a Chinese construction conglomerate, to build the world’s largest desalination plant, and offered the tender to a domestic company.

Twelve leading lawmakers from the House and Senate sent a letter to Defense Secretary Mark Esper and Secretary of State Pompeo voicing warning against the removal of U.S. soldiers with the Multinational Force & Observers stationed in Sinai. 

Charlesbank, a U.S.-based private equity firm, invested $70 million in Cyberbit. The Elbit subsidiary focuses on providing cybersecurity hardware, software, and training. 

Unnamed Israeli security sources confirmed on May 21 that the Palestinian Authority (PA) had stopped providing security coordination with the Jewish State in response to recent discussions between the U.S. and Israel regarding the application of  Israeli sovereignty parts of the West Bank.

The United Arab Emirates sent a shipment of good for coronavirus relief to the Palestinian Authority on board a direct flight to Tel-Aviv. The PA rejected the aid, claiming it would help the normalization of relations between Israel and the UAE. Israel and the UAE do not have diplomatic relations, but informal relations have been expanded in the past few years. 

Israeli Military Technology

Starburst Ventures and Israel Aerospace Industries (IAI) graduated the first class of students from their jointly-run innovation accelerator. Teams at the academy worked over a 13-month period to further understanding in STEM fields such as robotics, AI, and space operations. The next cohort of entrepreneurs will start working at the accelerator at the end of May.

Israeli and Indian scientists will soon work together in order to develop a fast-result coronavirus test. The process will use artificial intelligence and big data technology to provide rapid results, starting at the Israeli Embassy in India.

German space company OHB and Israel Aerospace Industries (IAI) will announce a plan to launch a commercial lunar lander mission in 2022. OHB and IAI have been working together since 2019, when Beresheet, a previous mission to the moon, failed in its final landing stage.  The new module will have the capacity to transport 45 to 55 pounds and operate for eight days after landing.

Foreign Military Sales

IAI recently deployed its TaxiBot system to Schipol Airport in Amsterdam and to Bangalore, India. The TaxiBot is a vehicle that attaches to planes in order to move them within the airport. The plane does not have to turn on its engines while being taxied and therefore saves 85% of the fuel while being driven. 

Elbit systems signed a Memorandum of Understanding with Romanian companies Avioane Craiova and Romaero to build a production line and provide maintenance for Unmanned Aerial Systems for the Romanian Defense Ministry.

Regional Developments

Russian aerospace contractor Sukhoi started the production of Su-35 fighter jets for the Egyptian Armed forces. Egypt purchased 24 Su-35 for $2 billion in 2019. The first fighter jet was due to be delivered in 2020 but its actual delivery date  is now unknown because of the pandemic. Russia claims the Sukhoi Su-35 has fifth-generation features, although it lacks stealth technology. 

JPC intern Sacha Warnod compiled this report.