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topNovember 2012


U.S. Israel Cooperation     Missile Defense     Gulf Watch


Levant Watch     Turkey Watch


Old and New Allies     Technology     Odds and Ends 

usisraelU.S.-Israel Cooperation


Austere Challenge The United States and Israel conducted their largest ever joint exercise in Israel, including the participation of 1,000 U.S. servicemen in Israel and 2,500 in Europe. Dubbed Austere Challenge 2012, the missile defense drill involved the deployment of U.S. Patriot missile batteries and the U.S. Navy's sea-based Aegis ballistic-missile defense radar system with Israel's Iron Dome, Arrow 2, and David's Sling missile and rocket defense systems. General Martin Dempsey, Chairman of the Joint Chiefs of Staff, was in Israel for the exercise and said the goal was "to demonstrate our commitment to Israel for their collected defense against ballistic missile attack, rockets and missiles." In a visit to an Iron Dome battery, Gen. Dempsey praised the system as "a great success" and that the U.S. was proud to partner in the initiative. Admiral James Stravidis, Supreme Allied Commander of NATO, also visited Israel to oversee the drill. Most of the exercise involved simulations, but some live-fire was also practiced.

In late October, the U.S. Navy successfully test-fired six of Rafael's Spike anti-armor, electro-optically guided missiles from a moving, unmanned rigid-hulled inflatable boat against a floating target two miles away off the Maryland coast. Mark Moses, the Navy's program manager for the armed drone boat project, hailed the test as the "first significant step forward in weaponizing surface unmanned combat capability." Although it might be years before the unmanned "Precisions Engagement Module" is operational, the Navy believes it could be used in homeland coastal defense, anti-piracy missions, and in the Persian Gulf. The demonstration was part of a joint project between the two countries with the Combating Terrorist Tactics Support Office.


Israel's Elbit Systems won a $17.5 million contract from Boeing to upgrade the Apache Block III AH-64D mission processor over a five-year period. Elbit's American subsidiary was also selected as the 2012 winner of the 3-Star Supplier Excellence Award by Raytheon Space and Airborne Systems.


Raytheon and Rafael have signed a co-operation agreement to market Rafael's Sparrow target series (Black, Blue, and Silver) to the U.S. Missile Defense Agency and other countries. The Sparrows are used to simulate incoming ballistic missiles.


In late October, the Israeli Ministry of Defense hosted 10 relatively small, privately-owned, and innovative Israeli defense companies producing innovative products at the Association of the United States Army's annual land warfare exposition in Washington D.C.


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missileMissile Defense


The Obama administration quietly announced that it had approved the sale of Lockheed Martin's Terminal High Altitude Area Defense (THAAD) missile defense system to Qatar. Unless blocked by Congress, the $6.5 billion sale includes two THAAD fire units, 12 launchers, 150 interceptors, two fire control and communications, two AN/TPY-2 radars, and one early warning radar. The Administration also approved a $1.1.billion sale of 48 THAAD interceptors and 9 launchers, as well as support equipment, to the UAE, which had purchased the THAAD system last December. Although the systems will not be operational for several years, they are part of a long-term U.S. effort to protect U.S. allies and assets from the Iranian threat.  


Israel defense officials revealed that, for the first time, Palestinian militants in Gaza had fired an antiaircraft missile at an Israeli helicopter. The IDF has long believed such missiles were in Gaza, as a consequence of the breakdown of security during the "Arab Spring."


Destroyed House The IDF successfully tested an upgraded version of its Iron Dome missile defense system, vastly expanding its' range. The fifth Iron Dome battery, possessing the enhanced system and produced with funding from the United States, will be deployed shortly. During a visit to an Iron Dome battery in southern Israel, Prime Minister Netanyahu pledged to extend the radius of fortified homes from 4.5km to 7km from the Gaza border. Currently, despite being under the Iron Dome umbrella, only schools were fortified beyond 4.5km from the border. October also saw a notable increase in rocket attacks from Gaza and over 160 rockets and mortars have been fired into Israel in just the past week, prompting Israeli officials to seriously threaten launching a ground operation to quell the fire. 


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gulfGulf Watch

On November 1, Iranian fighter jets fired at a U.S. Predator drone flying in international airspace in the Persian Gulf. Although the drone was not hit, the incident is another provocative Iranian action along the strategic waterway. Meanwhile, Iran's IRGC-Navy inaugurated its fifth naval base in the Persian Gulf in the city of Bandar Legeh and Tehran held the "Velayat-4" air defense exercise, the largest such air drill in the country's history.


During IMCMEX12, the U.S.-led international mine warfare exercise held around the Persian Gulf last month, it was reported that fewer than half of the practice mines laid at sea were located. Although the Navy insisted that it learned a great deal through the exercise, the result is bound to question its ability to reopen the strategic Strait of Hormuz following a potential Iranian mining.


The Department of Defense approved the $6.7 billion sale of 20 C-130J transport planes and five KC-130J refueling planes to Saudi Arabia. Meanwhile, Iraq has canceled a $4.2 billion arms package with Russia announced just last month over corruption concerns.


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levantLevant Watch


Syrian Refugee The Syrian civil war continues unabated, with heavy casualties and increased refugee flows, and is increasingly spilling over into neighboring states. In mid-October, a powerful car-bomb killed at least eight people in Beirut, including Brig. Gen. Wissam al-Hassan, the intelligence chief of the country's internal security forces and a key member of anti-Hezbollah opposition forces. A Jordanian soldier was also killed by Salafi elements along the Syrian border and sectarian clashes erupted in Lebanon. Turkey also announced that it was considering acquiring and deploying Patriot missiles along its border.


After stray bullets and mortar shells emanating from Syria fell on Israel and three Syrian tanks entered the demilitarized zone in the Golan Heights, Israel returned fire, launching a highly accurate and costly Tamuz ground-to-ground missile as a warning shot on Sunday. Following continued fire from Syria reaching Israeli territory, on Monday an IDF tank fired upon a Syrian army mortar position responsible for the mortar fire, injuring several soldiers. Since then, the Israel Golan border area continues to receive stray bullets but a repeat of mortar fire has not occurred as November 16. The cross-border fire marked the first such incidents since the 1973 Yom Kippur War.


The U.S. Air Force has awarded a $26 million contract to modernize the Jordanian air force's command, control, and communications infrastructure to Lockheed Martin. The system, known as the Omnyx-tm, will provide an integrated, real-time air picture across multiple centers to better protect Jordanian airspace.


The deputy commander of CENTCOM, Vice Adm. Robert Harward, USN, visited U.S. troops stationed in the Egyptian Sinai as part of the Multinational Force and Observers mission, which has come under increasing attacks from jihadis and Bedouins as the security situation in Sinai has deteriorated.


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turkeyTurkey Watch


The U.S. participated in Mavi Balina 2012, a trilateral maritime training exercise off the Turkish coast involving Turkey and Pakistan focusing on surface and submarine warfare. U.S. Naval forces included the USS Forrest Sherman, a guided-missile destroyer, and a P3-C Orion maritime patrol and undersea warfare aircraft from Patrol Squadron 9 (VP-9).


Turkey is in the process of canceling its contract to lease three Aerostar UAVs produced by the Israeli firm Aeronautics. The Aerostar is a tactical UAV used by Turkey for reconnaissance against the PKK. While the cancellation of the contract and the impending return to Israel of the three UAVs is another indication in the destitute military relationship between the two countries, Poland had also canceled its Aerostar UAV contract in early October.


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oldnewOld and New Allies 


Italian General The Chief of Defense Staff of the Italian Armed Forces, General Biagio Abrate, visited Israel in mid-October, meeting with his counterparts and touring the country. 


The Israeli and Greek air forces recently conducted a two-day joint exercise in Greece. The two countries practiced dogfights, bomb raids, and aerial refueling with F-16s.


Following last month's announcement of a weapons contract in Brazil, another Elbit Systems Brazilian subsidiary was awarded a $25 million contract from the Brazilian army for remote-operate weapon stations.


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Israel's Heron UAV, produced by Israel Aerospace Industries (IAI), recently passed its latest flight test, a long-range, high-altitude flight across the Andes Mountains. The upgraded Heron flew upwards of 310 miles at altitudes of in excess of 25,000 feet through extreme weather. The Heron was fitted with a synthetic aperture radar (SAR), electro-optical/infrared sensors, and a communication intelligence system. Already in use over the Himalayas, the Heron is IAI's flagship UAV.


As previously reported, IAI unveiled the maritime version of the Heron 1 at the Euronaval 2012 trade show in Paris. Israel is a world leader in unmanned technology, which includes the Guardium recently-upgraded Shoval UAV built by IAI, and the in-development Flying Elephant cargo UAV by Elbit Systems that is designed to transport up to one ton of supplies to frontline troops.


The Head of the IDF Ground Forces Command's Weapons Development Division recently expounded on the IDF's plans to further integrate robotics into its ground forces.


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oddsendsOdds and Ends 

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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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