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topIn This Issue - October 2012


U.S. Israel Cooperation     Egypt Watch     Gulf Watch


Levant Watch     Technology     Missile Defense


Old and New Allies     Odds and Ends        

usisraelU.S.-Israel Cooperation


U.S. military personnel began arriving in Israel in anticipation of Austere Challenge 12, the large joint U.S.-Israel anti-ballistic missile defense drill occurring at the end of the month.


Honeywell, as part of a joint venture with Elbit Systems and Israel Aerospace Industries (IAI), was awarded a $735 million contract by the Israeli Ministry of Defense to supply Israel with F124-GA-200 turbofan engines for Israel's recently purchased fleet of 30 Alenia Aermacchi M-346 advanced trainer jets.


Ribbon Cutting Israel Aerospace Industries' new ELTA North America subsidiary opened its headquarters in Maryland last month where it will eventually grow to 100 employees over the next four years. A large Maryland delegation was on hand to welcome CEO Dave Machuga at the ribbon-cutting event including Governor Martin O'Malley, Lieutenant Governor Anthony Brown, Senators Ben Cardin and Barbara Mikulski, and Rep. C.A. Dutch Ruppersberger. ELTA North America had considered six states for their headquarters.


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egyptEgypt Watch


Security in the Sinai Peninsula continues to erode. In mid-September, a large group of gunmen attacked the headquarters of the Multinational Force and Observer contingent, the Sinai peacekeeping force in place as part of the Egyptian-Israeli peace treaty. The attack took place less than 10 miles from the Israeli border and the injured were evacuated to Israel. Later in the month, an Israeli soldier was killed by Sinai militants along an unfinished area of the Israeli border fence as he was administering humanitarian aid to African migrants. As a defensive measure, the IDF is preparing to deploy a new detection and alert system, the "Web," along the most volatile 40 km section of the border. The new sensor-based system is similar to the one used along the borders with Gaza and Lebanon and sends an immediate alert to all command posts if it detects a breach.


The U.S. and Egyptian navies are discussing joint war games that would be focused on helping Egypt patrol its territorial waters and fending off small boat attacks. The U.S. Navy is also looking to reestablish the conditions for American warships to dock at Egyptian ports. Earlier in September, Egypt held naval exercises with Saudi Arabia and this week is holding them with Turkey.


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gulfGulf Watch

IMCMEX 12 In late September, the U.S. and nearly 30 allied countries participated in the largest ever mine warfare exercise near the Persian Gulf, dubbed International Mine Countermeasures Exercise 12 (IMCMEX 12). Iran has persistently threatened to mine the Strait of Hormuz, which could cause a devastating oil price spike. The American contingent included six mine countermeasure ships (MCMs), a newly converted afloat forward staging base (AFSB)-the USS Ponce, as well as mine-sweeping helicopters, UAVs, and UUVs (unmanned underwater vehicles). The exercise took place at three locations with three different task groups: off the coast of Bahrain commanded from the Ponce, in the Gulf of Oman just outside the Strait of Hormuz commanded from the British amphibious ship Cardigan Bay, and in the western Gulf of Aden commanded from the Japanese minesweeper tender Uraga. France, Great Britain, Japan, Saudi Arabia, Yemen, Jordan, and the UAE were among the participating nations. The Vice Commander of the Naval Mine and Anti-Submarine Warfare Command, Rear Adm. Kenneth M. Perry, was also deployed to Bahrain as the theater mine warfare commander. 


Concurrent with IMCMEX12, Iran tested its Ra'ad anti-aircraft system. Additionally, Iran announced that it had test-fired four missiles near the U.S.-led exercise, but the Department of Defense denied that Iran had indeed done so. Iran also declared that it had developed a new UAV, the Shahed 129, and had deployed one of its Russian-made Kilo class submarines into the Gulf.


Yemen is to receive four AeroVironment RQ-11 Raven UAVs from the United States as part of its U.S. counterterrorism support package. The Raven, which the U.S. has also provided to Pakistan, is equipped with sensors for target acquisition as well as infrared cameras.


In an effort to continue rebuilding its armed forces, Iraq has signed a $4.2 billion arms deal with Russia, making it Iraq's second largest arms supplier after the United States. Baghdad also recently announced that it would purchase 28 L-159 training jets from the Czech Republic in a $1 billion deal.


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levantLevant Watch


The Syrian civil war continues to spill over into neighboring countries. On October 3rd, a Syrian shell landed in the Turkish border town of Akçakale killing five Turkish civilians, prompting sporadic Turkish shelling of Syria. In addition, Turkey has banned the use of its airspace to all Syrian planes and has intercepted multiple commercial planes headed for Syria under the suspicion of carrying arms for the regime. Multiple senior regime defectors have come forward with claims that the regime had tested chemical weapons and was considering transferring them to Hezbollah. Meanwhile, Syrian jets had also fired into Lebanese territory in mid-September. As a result of the deepening spillover, the U.S. military has sent a 150-person task force to Jordan, less than 35 miles from the Syrian border, to help that country deal with the influx of refugees.


Over the last month, Israel has been fortifying the entirety of its border with Syria. The work includes tens of kilometers of new fencing, trenches, and the deployment of new reconnaissance equipment as well as a new early warning system.


On October 6th, the Israel Air Force shot down an Iranian-made, unarmed UAV over the northern Negev, near Dimona. The UAV, which Hezbollah later claimed to have launched, was detected by Israel while still at sea, but was allowed to proceed for nearly 20 min over Israeli territory in order for the IAF to gather intelligence on it and recover the vehicle parts after it had been shot down. In response, Israeli planes circled over Lebanon, triggering sonic booms. Hezbollah had previously launched an explosives-laden UAV during the 2006 Second Lebanon War.


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The IDF has begun construction of its largest training base ever in the Negev, about 20 miles south of Beersheba. Slated to open in late 2014, the $650 million base will house 10,000 soldiers, transferring many of them from the Tel Aviv area. The 625 acre site will streamline combat support training, free up real estate in central Israel, and continue Israel's goal of developing the barren Negev.


The Israeli Navy has signed a deal with Elta Systems for the development and installation of Advanced Lightweight Phased Array (ALPHA) radars for its Saar 4.5 class missile corvettes


JEEP The IDF is testing a new jeep prototype, known as the "Wilderness," which can reach speeds of 85 mph and will be better adapted to the new threats along Israel's southern border.


IAI provided a sneak preview of its Maritime Heron UAV, which will be showcased formally at the Euronaval defense conference in Paris. The Maritime Heron, which Israel intends to use to defend its offshore gas fields, has a range of 600 miles, can fly for 20 hours without refueling, and can identify the flag of a ship from more than 5,000 feet above. The Maritime Heron is much smaller and lighter than the Heron Eitan, which is rumored to be able to fly to Iran and back without refueling.


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missileMissile Defense

The IDF postponed the first fly-out test of the Arrow 3, Israel's upper-tier missile defense system, due to an interceptor malfunction. The test of the interceptor, which was returned to Israel Aerospace Industries for repairs, will not occur until November at the earliest.


Following the shooting down of a foreign UAV over Israeli territory and concerned about spillover from the Syrian civil war, Israel deployed Patriot anti-missile batteries near Haifa.


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oldnewOld and New Allies 


Israel's Elbit Systems announced a series of foreign military sales. It won an $18.5 million contract with a Latin American country, likely Colombia, to build a mission training center for fighter aircraft by 2014. It also announced that it had won a contract from the Australian Defense Force to supply the Royal Australian Navy's landing craft with Battle Management Systems (BMS). Elbit already provides BMS to the Australian Army. Moreover, in a small deal, Elbit's Brazilian subsidiary has received an initial production contract for the delivery of unmanned turrets for the Brazilian Army's VBTP-MR Guarani armored personnel carriers. Lastly, Elbit won two contracts worth $50 million with an unidentified Asian country to supply the ATMOS autonomous artillery system as well as personal radio systems.


Indian media is reporting that Israel Aerospace Industries has won a nearly $1 billion contract to upgrade its fleet of UAVs, many of them Israeli-made


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oddsendsOdds and Ends 


The U.S. and China conducted their first joint anti-piracy exercise in the Gulf of Aden in mid-September. The drill featured a joint American-Chinese team boarding a "hijacked" U.S. vessel to rescue the crew.


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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. Look for Security Digest every month in your e-mail inbox. To give us feedback, simply reply to this email.
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