Defense Minister Benny Gantz approved on July 2 the deployment of 500 soldiers from the Israel Defense Forces (IDF) reserve to operate 10 Covid-19 staging areas to combat a second wave of the virus in Israel. The country now has over 20,000 active cases, 160 of which are in serious medical condition. Meanwhile, Gantz is in quarantine as a preventive measure after being exposed to a suspected coronavirus patient.
United Arab Emirates Group 42 signed a memorandum of understanding (MoU) with Israel’s Rafael and Israel Aerospace Industries (IAI). The companies will work on a joint project to fight the spread of the coronavirus with artificial intelligence and other unspecified technologies. The UAE still does not formally recognize the Jewish state.
The Israeli Air Force established the 7th wing of the Air Force to consolidate all IAF special forces under one unit. The new squadron will include units such as Shaldag and Unit 669, a dedicated intelligence unit.
Israel launched the Ofek 16 reconnaissance satellite into orbit on July 6. The satellite reached orbit and started sharing data, reports confirmed. Ofek 16 is an electro-optical reconnaissance satellite with advanced imaging capabilities. The launch was a combined effort between IAI, the Israel Ministry of Defense, and the Space Administration in the Directorate of Defense Research and Development.
Israeli Military Technology
In an attempt to increase intelligence gathering capabilities and situational awareness for naval forces, Elbit Systems and the Israeli Navy combined Elbit’s Skylark C mini unmanned aerial system (UAS) and the Seagull Unmanned surface vessel (USV). The Skylark C is capable of generating a visual feed and will give additional operational flexibility to the Seagull in its naval operations.
Foreign Weapons Sales
The German Army has renewed a lease contract for Heron One in Afghanistan and Mali, and extended the drone’s deployment until May 2021 and July 2021 respectively. The IAI-made Heron 1 has logged over 46,000 hours of flight in Afghanistan and 1,200 missions in Mali.
An undisclosed Asian navy awarded Elbit Systems a $53 million contract to equip several vessels for advanced reconnaissance missions. The ships will be equipped with maritime radars and satellite communication capabilities among other advanced technologies.
Elbit will provide more than 1,000 E-Lynx Software Designed Radio (SDR) to the Swedish Army. This order follows a 2018 contract between the two parties under which Elbit started providing SDRs to the Swedish Army. The E-Lynx radio facilitates advanced networking solutions through its open architecture and special waveforms which can be modified.
The U.S. State Department approved $7.5 billions in foreign weapons sales on July 6, $3 billion of which are destined for Israel. As part of the package, Israel will take delivery of 990 million gallons of fuel, including JP-8 aviation fuel, diesel, and unleaded gasoline.
JPC intern Sacha Warnod compiled this report.