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U.S.-Israel Cooperation     Missile Defense     Iran Watch


Technology     Old and New Allies     Turkey Watch


Levant Watch     Gulf Watch    Odds and Ends 

 usisraelcoopU.S.-Israel Cooperation  


Prime Minister Netanyahu visited Washington where he met with President Obama; both leaders also addressed the AIPAC Policy Conference. Reports differed on whether or not Obama had promised Netanyahu GBU-28 bunker-buster bombs as well as aerial refueling planes in return for an Israeli pledge to delay striking Iran until 2013. Both governments denied the reports. U.S. leaders continued to publicly advice against any Israeli military action against the Iranian nuclear program at this time, though repeating that all options should remain on the table.


The Israeli Air Force is preparing to order a second squadron of 20 F-35 stealth fighters, despite the program's delays and Israeli defense budget cuts. Israel ultimately wants to acquire 75

Namer APC 

F-35s to replace its oldest F-15s and F-16s. Meanwhile, Congressional leaders introduced a bill that would expedite the delivery of the F-35 to Jerusalem.Israel has also emerged as a potential customer for the V-22 Osprey, a tilt-rotor aircraft used by the U.S. Marine Corps and the U.S. Air Force 

This spring, the U.S. Army will test the Israeli Namer APC (armored personnel carrier) in New Mexico as part of its search for a new infantry fighting vehicle.


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 missiledefenseMissile Defense 


In its' FY2013 budget proposal, the White House has reduced funding for missile defense programs, including several jointly managed with Israel. The White House budget proposal included a nearly 50% cut to the Israeli Cooperative programs from funds allocated in FY2012.


A new Arrow missile defense battery, to be stationed in central Israel, is due online in 2012. Israel's former missile defense chief expressed confidence that the Arrow systems are capable of intercepting Iranian missiles. Jerusalem announced that it would soon conduct a test of the Arrow 3 system, which is not expected to be operational until late 2014.


In the recent escalation of over 300 rocket attacks from Gaza over several days, Israel's three Iron Dome batteries intercepted 85-90% of the missiles it targeted, an increase on the 75% success rate in 2011. Iron Dome's achievements generated calls by top Israeli defense officials to prioritize the development of the system. Israel will deploy the fourth battery in weeks, but stated it needs 13 batteries overall to protect the entire country from the short-range missile threat.


The commander of U.S. Army forces in Europe confirmed that the U.S.-operated X-band radar station in eastern Turkey is online.  


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 iranwatchIran Watch


The Pentagon has notified Congress that it was bulking up its land and sea defenses in the Persian Gulf as a result of the increased tensions with Iran. Specifically, the U.S. military is prepositioning new mine-detecting and mine-clearing equipment and is expanding surveillance capabilities around the Strait of Hormuz. 


Iran WarshipIn mid-February, two Iranian ships passed through the Suez Canal, although reports dispute whether or not they docked at the Syrian port of Tartus. The ships were supposedly equipped with communication jamming devices meant to hinder opposition coordination. Yemen also announced that it had intercepted a weapons-laden Iranian ship bound for the Houthis, a Yemenite Shiite rebel group. 


Iran announced that a new submarine, the Fateh, would come into service at the end of March. It will also soon complete its second domestically-built destroyer, the Jamaran-2, which can carry helicopters and is equipped with torpedoes. Iran is also increasing production of its Shaheen anti-aircraft missiles, which reportedly can intercept aircraft at heights of up to 40km.


Iran's grip over its regional allies continues, as evident by a visit to Tehran by the Lebanese Defense Minister. Russia also upgraded a surveillance station it maintains in Syria reportedly to help provide early warning to Iran of potential Israeli airstrikes. The station's range now covers all of Israel and Jordan, as well as northern Syria. Meanwhile, Iran's air defense units conducted exercises aimed at an invading UAV force. 


According to a German newspaper, one of the nuclear tests carried out by North Korea in 2010 was performed for Iran.


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Israel continues to be a global leader in the development of unmanned aerial systems (UAS). First, the IDF announced that its "Sky Rider" unit, its elite UAV operating force, will increase the length of its training course from 8 months to 12 months in order to improve collaboration with other units. Officers will also receive a training course specific to the unit, rather than joining the combat officers' course. Moreover, Israel Aerospace Industries (IAI) established a UAS academy in Israel, which will provide training and courses to a wide range of customers. Second, HoverMastthe European defense corporation EADS announced that it was reducing its investment in European UAS, potentially opening a huge market for Israeli exports. Third, the IAF is now using satellites to communicate with its UAVs, which enables the control of payloads and information over lengthier distances. Fourth, the Israeli start-up Sky Sapience has produced the "HoverMast", a lightweight tethered hovering platform for surveillance, target acquisition, and communication. 


Rafael is introducing the Spike SR, a 22lb., short range, man-portable, guided missile, with a range of up to 800 meters. As a "fire and forget" missile, the Spike SR can operate at day and night and will save significant logistics, power, and weight to field units.


In preparation for the next round of fighting with Hezbollah, Israel is increasing its "jungle warfare" capabilities. Israeli units have increased their tunnel training, including the use of robots and dogs, in anticipation of Hezbollah's tunnel network. Soldiers at the anti-terror school are now undergoing 3-week courses in the art of using nature as camouflage. 


Israeli bomb shelters are becoming increasingly sophisticated as municipalities worry about the Iranian missile threat. Large public buildings and arenas are making contingency plans for large shelters. 


CockpitBoeing has selected Israel's Elbit Systems' Large Area Display as its advanced cockpit system of choice for upgrading certain F/A-18 and F-15 models. The advanced cockpit is expected to be ready for production by 2015.


Israel unveiled a new "bunker-buster" bomb, a demonstration not lost on Tehran. The 500lb MPR-500 is a laser-guided projectile that can penetrate double-reinforce concrete walls without breaking apart. 


In a wide-ranging interview, the IDF's chief artillery officer announced that  the artillery corps would soon be equipped with precision guided munitions and new, automatic, self-propelled cannons, dramatically enhancing the fire capabilities in the field.


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oldandnewOld and New Allies


Israel's newest German-built, Dolphin-class submarine appeared publicly at a harbor in northern Germany. The 68-meter submarine, the largest built by Germany since World War II, equipped with a stealth acoustic signature. It is slated for delivery to Israel in late 2012, followed  by two more deliveries in the coming years.


In mid-February, Prime Minister Netanyahu visited Cyprus, the first ever visit by an Israeli premier. Together with Cypriot President Demetris Christofias they signed a  bilateral search-and-rescue deal and began a feasibility study of an underwater electricity cable, known as Euro-Asia Interconnector, that will connect Israel, via Cyprus and Greece, to the European electric grid.

Cable Map 

Italy's Alenia Aermacchi M-346 Master will be the new advanced combat trainer aircraft for the Israeli Air Force following Israel's rejection of a South Korean bid. Israel has agreed to purchase 30 Italian jets at a cost of $1bil. In return, Italy pledged to buy over $1bil in Israeli military platforms. Israel also announced the sale of $1.6bil worth of UAVs, anti-aircraft, and anti-missile systems to Azerbaijan. The Shiite Muslim majority state has increased its ties with Israel, as it is wedged nervously between Iran and Turkey.


For the first time, the Polish and Israeli air forces conducted a joint training exercise in the Israeli Negev. Polish F-16s flew alongside Israeli F-15s and F-16s.


India announced a ten-year ban on Israel Military Industries sales. IMI, as well as five other firms, were blacklisted as a result of a 2009 inquiry into bribery.


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turkeywatchTurkey Watch

levantwatchLevant Watch    


The civil war in Syria continues to emit regional ripples. Russia continues to arm the Assad regime while the U.S., Jordan, and other allies have begun preparations to secure Syria's stockpiles of biological and chemical weapons should the regime collapse. Meanwhile, prominent U.S. Congressmen and Senators have begun calling for direct U.S. military intervention in Syria, despite opposition from the Obama administration. Saudi Arabia, as well as Qatar and the U.A.E., is suspected of arming and funding the rebel groups while Iran has backed the regime. 


A French newspaper reported that Germany would supply Jordan with four U.S. Patriot missile batteries to be deployed in the north of the country to protect itself and Israel from Syrian missile attacks. Meanwhile, Secretary Panetta met with a visiting Jordanian military delegation as part of the Defense Department's annual bilateral consultation with the Jordanian armed forces. Amman has also begun receiving the first of twelve HIMARS truck-mounted rocket launchers it ordered from the U.S. three years ago.  


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gulfwatchGulf Watch  


Following a visit to Riyadh by India's Defense Minister, India and Saudi Arabia have created a Joint Committee on Defense Cooperation in order to boost defense ties between the two countries. Meanwhile, Saudi Defense Minister suggested creating a "unified Gulf army", based on the existing Peninsula Shield Force, in order to defend the Gulf Cooperation Countries from Iranian meddling. 


In early April, the Bahraini air force is expected to conduct a joint training exercise. Dubbed "Main Connection 2012", 22 planes from Gulf countries, Egypt, Turkey, Pakistan, and the United States are expected to participate.  


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Security Digest newsletter is a monthly bulletin covering U.S.-Israel security cooperation. Distributed by e-mail, Security Digest is edited by JINSA Visiting Fellow Gabriel Scheinmann. Each issue features news articles covering all aspects of U.S.-Israel cooperation with a focus on the military as well as an analytical article by Mr. Scheinmann. Look for Security Digest every month in your e-mail inbox. To give us feedback, simply reply to this email.
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