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topIn This Issue - August 2012 


U.S.-Israel Cooperation            Iran Watch            Technology 
Levant Watch            Gulf Watch            Missile Defense

Egypt Watch            Old and New Allies            Odds and Ends 

usisraelU.S.-Israel Cooperation    


[Editor's Note: In the version of the Security Digest sent out earlier today, it was incorrectly reported that the U.S.-Israel Enhanced Security Cooperation Act released $70 billion to Israel for the purchase of additional Iron Dome batteries. The correct amount is $70 million.]  


As expected, President Obama signed into law the bipartisan U.S.-Israel Enhanced Security Cooperation Act, which, among other things, enabled the release of $70 million of military aid for Israel to purchase additional Iron Dome batteries.


Photo - U.S. Embassy in Tel Aviv 

In addition to July visits by Secretary of State Clinton and National Security Adviser Tom Donilon, Secretary of Defense Leon Panetta visited Israel, as well as Tunisia, Egypt, and Jordan. Secretary Panetta met with all senior Israeli officials and also visited a U.S.-funded Iron Dome battery.


The Department of Defense has struck a $450 million agreement with Lockheed Martin that will allow Israel to install its own electronic warfare capabilities on its ordered F-35 fighter jets, such as radio and data link systems. The System Design and Demonstration agreement will allow Israel to continuously upgrade the aircrafts independently, lengthening their deployment to several decades. Israel has already ordered 19 F-35s, with an option of buying up to 75 at a potential total cost of $15.2 billion.


The IDF is purchasing 2,000 used U.S. military High Mobility Multipurpose Wheeled Vehicles (HMMWV), often called Hummers, following the withdrawal from Iraq. Holding the Hummers at various bases across the region, it is less expensive for the U.S. to sell them off at low-cost rather than to ship them back to the United States.


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iranIran Watch


Washington continues to bulk up its military capabilities in the Persian Gulf. The U.S. has deployed undersea drones, known as Seafoxes, which can detect and destruct Iranian mines and has positioned the Afloat Forward Staging Base, Interim (AFSB-I) USS Ponce (LPD-15), a converted amphibious transport dock, off the coast of Bahrain. The Ponce will serve as a base for mine-clearance helicopters and marine patrol boats. The U.S. Air Force also announced that the Massive Ordnance Penetrator, the 30,000lb. bunker-buster bomb, is ready for use.


Iran successfully tested an upgraded version of the Fateh-110, a short-range ballistic missile with a range of 185 miles. Meanwhile, the deputy chief of the Iranian Navy announced that Tehran was considering nuclear propulsion for its submarines.


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The IDF Home Front Command is introducing two new communications systems intended to improve emergency services coordination during wartime. "Roundtable" will enable Home Front Command and civilian emergency services to receive the same tactical data of an area struck by missiles. The second system will send warnings of incoming missile attacks to individual cell phones.


Rafael unveiled a new, non-lethal version the Protector, an unmanned patrol boat, with a high-pressure water hose. The Israeli Navy also completed its first successful ship-to-ship missile test in over a decade in exercises designed to protect its offshore gas fields from attack.


The IDF has instituted an international law class for all field commanders in order to help stave off future international inquiries such as the Goldstone Report.


Y Fort 

The IDF is procuring Y-Forts, new mobile, Lego-like forts, produced by the same Israeli company that is building Israel's southern border barrier. Each can house 50 soldiers and be built in less than 4 hours deep into enemy territory. Israel also intends to build three, large underground supply depots that will be protected during a major missile bombardment. The new depots would consolidate under one roof current warehouses that store food, fuel, ammunition, and spare parts separately.


Elbit Systems introduced a new version of its small UAV, extending by 15 kilometers the range of the new Skylark I-LE Block II that has seen extensive use by U.S. forces in Afghanistan.


New Israeli tanks could potentially operate with a hybrid engine and need as few as two soldiers to operate, according to the IDF team tasked with developing a successor to the Merkava series. The success of the Trophy anti-tank missile system, which again intercepted a rocket fired from Gaza in early August, mean that future tanks will require less armor, greatly reducing their weight.


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levantLevant Watch


The Syrian civil war escalated this month following a major bombing in Damascus that killed several key Syrian officials, including the defense minister and Bashar al-Assad's brother-in-law. The U.S. and Israel are increasingly concerned over the fate of Syria's non-conventional chemical weapons, as fears over their use by the regime or transfer to Hezbollah or Iran mounted. At one point, Syrian forces illegally entered the demilitarized buffer zone on the Israeli border, prompting a protest from Jerusalem.


Israeli authorities indicted 10 Israeli Arabs for smuggling 45 lbs. of explosives, as well as detonators and M-16 rifles, from Lebanon into Israel to carry out terrorist attacks for Hezbollah.


Spain announced that it would withdraw half of its 1,100 troops from the UNIFIL mission in southern Lebanon by the end of the year.


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gulfGulf Watch


Iraq continues to rebuild its armed forces in the wake of the U.S. withdrawal. The Pentagon announced it had placed the initial order for 18 F-16 fighter jets Iraq has ordered as part of a $4.2 billion sale announced two years ago. Iraq ordered an additional 18 F-16s in December. Iraq's acting defense minister visited Russia to possibly purchase air surveillance equipment and Jordan has signed an agreement with the U.S. to permit Iraqi pilots to train at the Royal Jordanian Air Academy in Amman. Meanwhile, the State Department's program to train the Iraqi police is being further scaled back from the original 350 police training advisors to 85 and now to 36. The United Kingdom also agreed to assist Iraq in eliminating leftovers from Saddam Hussein's chemical weapons program.


Qatar is seeking to purchase 24 AH-64 Apache attack helicopters and associated items for $3 billion. Qatar also selected the Swiss-made Pilatus PC-21 as its pilot training aircraft. 24 PC-21s are expected to arrive in 2014. Doha, like Saudi Arabia, has also expressed interest in buying 200 German-made Leopard 2 tanks for $2.5 billion.


The U.A.E. has ordered 750 MRAP (Mine Resistant Ambush Protected) all-terrain vehicles from U.S.-based Oshkosh Corporation. Delivery is expected in 2013.


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missileMissile Defense

The U.S. is installing an AN/TPY-2 radar, known as the X-Band radar, in Qatar as part of its European Phase Adaptive Approach to build a missile shield against Iranian ballistic missiles. The radar deployment in Qatar will mark the third such deployment in the Middle East, following ones to Israel in 2008 and Turkey in 2011. The three sites can detect launches from northern, western, and southern Iran.


Israel continues to upgrade the capabilities of its Iron Dome missile defense system. Longer-range interceptors will now increase operational range and two new batteries will be delivered in early 2013. The increased range means that fewer batteries will be needed to protect the country from missile attacks. An Iron Dome battery was recently deployed to the northern city of Safed as part of operational tests.


Israel's Arrow 2 upper-tier missile defense system has also been upgraded, increasing the system's range. An improved interceptor missile, the Block-4, and a superior radar, the Super Green Pine, have been installed. The IDF will also soon hold its first full-scale test of the Arrow 3.


Washington announced it was selling 60 Patriot missiles to Kuwait for $4.2 billion. The deal, involving 60 PAC-3s, 20 launching stations, 4 radar systems, and personnel training, continues the massive buildup of anti-missile systems by the six Gulf Cooperation Council countries, which enhances interoperability with the U.S.


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egyptEgypt Watch  


Burned out APC
Benjamin Netanyahu next to the burned out armored vehicle.
Instability in the Sinai continues to threaten Israel's southern border. After an Israeli construction worker was killed by terrorist fire in mid-June, snipers fired at an Israeli military bus from across the border. More recently, the IAF was forced to blow up an explosives-laden armored vehicle that had been commandeered from the Egyptian military by eight terrorists and had managed to cross the Israeli border. The gunmen had killed 16 Egyptian soldiers before seizing two vehicles. One truck was stopped at the border, but the strike by the IAF marked the first time an IAF aircraft attacked a target within Israel. Two weeks before the attack, the IDF announced it was expanding its elite reconnaissance unit stationed along its southern border from a company to a brigade.


Following the aforementioned attack, Egypt, with Israeli permission, increased its military presence in the Sinai, launching rockets from Apache helicopters-the first reported use of Egyptian air power in the Sinai since 1973-as part of a week-long military crackdown on the rising militant tide. New Egyptian President Mohammed Morsi fired the navy and air force chiefs as well as Defense Minister Tantawi and Chief of Staff Gen. Sami Anan, the two men who had headed Egypt's transition military government known as the Supreme Council of the Armed Forces (SCAF).


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oldnewOld and New Allies   


Israel and Greece conducted joint naval exercises in July for the second time this year. This followed a visit to Israel by the Chief of the Hellenic Navy and the continued rapprochement between the two countries.


Four Indian Navy warships made a four-day goodwill visit to Haifa to celebrate 20 years of diplomatic ties between India and Israel. One ship was equipped with the Israeli made Barak anti-missile system. An Indian delegation is expected in Israel shortly to study the IDF's approach to securing its southern border with Gaza and Egypt.


Elbit Systems signed a new contract with Colombia to provide it with Hermes 900 and Hermes 450 UAVs worth tens of millions of dollars.


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oddsendsOdds and Ends  


Targeting an Israeli tourist bus, a suicide terrorist bombing in Burgas, Bulgaria killed five Israelis as well as the Bulgarian bus driver in mid-July. While conclusive evidence has yet to be released, all signs of responsibility pointed to Hezbollah and Iran, which have a long history of targeting Israeli targets abroad.


DoD photo by Erin A. Kirk-Cuomo
As part of his swing through the Middle East, Defense Secretary Panetta visited Tunisia where he pledged increased U.S. security cooperation with the new Tunisian government and laid a wreath at the American military cemetery. 


Turkey continues to develop its domestic UAV industry, successfully testing its second drone, the Simsek, in as many months.


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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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