The White House announced that Israel and Sudan would normalize relations, following the State Department removal of Khartoum as a state sponsor of terrorism – which also required Sudan to make substantial changes in its banking/counter-terrorism finance laws, put money in escrow to pay claims from American victims of terror, and agree to hand former President Omar Bashir over to the International Criminal Court. Formal diplomatic ties will help facilitate greater technological and agricultural investment in the impoverished African nation. Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu’s office also announced that it would send $5 million worth of wheat to Sudan as a goodwill gesture.
Following Israeli Defense Minister Benny Gantz meeting with U.S. Defense Secretary Mark Esper at the Pentagon last week, the Israeli government released a statement implying that it supports the sale of F-35 fifth-generation fighter jets to the United Arab Emirates (UAE). According to the press release, the U.S. agreed to Israel’s “procurement of advanced weapon systems that will significantly upgrade Israel’s military capabilities, maintain its security and its military advantage in the region as well as its qualitative military edge (QME) in the coming decades.” The Prime Minister’s office denies reports that it agreed to the sale of F-35’s to the UAE in exchange for normalizations of relations. Additionally, Israel might acquire V-22 Osprey tilt-rotor aircraft as one of the systems to maintain the Jewish States QME.
The IDF launched the Lethal Arrow joint training exercise earlier this week, testing the coordination of air, land, and sea forces in northern Israel. The drill will simulate aspects of a war with Hezbollah in Lebanon.
Israel’s cabinet voted to approve the normalization of ties with Bahrain, sending ratification of a formal agreement with the Emirate to the lawmakers in the Knesset.
A mission of diplomats embarked on their first official visit to Israel earlier this month. The Israeli parliament approved a peace treaty signed with the UAE on October 15. Media reports also indicate the UAE and Israel are in private talks over an oil pipeline that would connect the Red Sea and the Mediterranean Sea.
Foreign Military Sales
As the U.S. Army plans a new bidding process to upgrade its Bradley Infantry Fighting Vehicle to Optionally Manned Fighting Vehicle (OMFV), Elbit and BAE Systems announced a partnership to fulfill the Army’s requirements. As part of the agreement, Elbit will develop a high-tech turret system with active protection, specialized helmets, and autonomous driving technology.
Frontex, the European Border and Coast Guard Agency, awarded Israel Aerospace Industries (IAI) and Airbus a contract to operate high endurance drones for reconnaissance missions off the coasts of Greece, Italy, and Malta.
During the Euronavnal trade show, Rafael showcased new weapons adapted for use at sea, including the C-GEM, a ship-launched active decoy designed to counter anti-ship missiles. Spike ER and NLOS missiles also received range increases and sea launchers.
Elbit will supply advanced heads-up night vision display systems for U.S. Army aviators in a contract worth approximately $50 million over the next five years.
The Philippines military awarded Elbit a contract for its army’s light tank and wheeled armored personnel carrier acquisition program. Elbit will deliver upgraded vehicles based on the General Dynamics-made ASCOD.