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topFebruary 2013 


U.S.-Israel Cooperation     Missile Defense     Gulf Watch


Levant Watch     Egypt Watch     Old and New Allies


Turkey Watch     Technology     Odds and Ends 

usisraelU.S.-Israel Cooperation


Gantz-Dempsey During a visit to Washington, IDF Chief of Staff Lt. Gen. Benny Gantz was awarded the Legion of Merit award by Chairman of the Joint Chiefs of Staff Gen. Martin Dempsey. During his visit, General Gantz also visited Arlington National Cemetery, where he laid a wreath on behalf of the IDF. 


Boeing and Elbit Systems signed a memorandum of understanding to jointly sell self-defense systems for Boeing military aircraft in international markets. Boeing will integrate Elbit's Directional Infrared Countermeasures (DIRCM) with its fixed wing and rotary wing aircraft. On such DIRCM, C-MUSIC, was recently successfully tested. C-MUSIC is designed to protect commercial aircraft against shoulder-launched missiles.


Delivery of the first aircraft may be several years away, but Israel is already making preparations to receive its first batch of F-35 fighters. The Israel Air Force has already begun constructing hangars and selecting the bases that will house the new fighter jets.


Israel Aerospace Industries is teaming up with Lockheed Martin to produce the new Cardom, self-propelled artillery for the IDF. The partnership will compete to replace the IDF Artillery Corps' M-109 self-propelled artillery, the Doher, which has been in service for forty years.


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missileMissile Defense


Israel successfully tested an upgraded version of Iron Dome. The short-range missile defense system successfully intercepted a mock Fajr-5 missile, suggesting that it may be able to protect Israeli cities against medium-range missile threats as well.


David's Sling, Israel's medium-range anti-missile system, successfully completed a simulated intercept test in late January. The joint U.S.-Israeli system is expected to undergo several more tests before becoming operational in 2014.


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gulfGulf Watch 

Earlier this month, the U.S. and two dozen nations conducted smuggling interdiction drills near the Persian Gulf. The exercise involved a headquarters simulation to examine coordination as well as military drills. Unrelated to the exercise, Yemen, assisted by the U.S. Navy, seized a boat laden with surface-to-air missiles, explosives, RPGs, and bomb-making equipment that it said Iran was trying to send to anti-regime Houthi rebels in Yemen. Iran has long been a supplier of arms to anti-U.S. groups across the Middle East and Africa.


Since the beginning of the year, a new Marine Corps Fleet Antiterrorism Security Team (FAST) has been deployed to Yemen. The 50-member team, based in Sanaa, is tasked with securing U.S. diplomatic facilities and replaces a team that was rushed there following the SeptemQaher-313ber 11, 2012 attacks on U.S. embassies across the Arab world.


Iran unveiled a domestically-manufactured combat jet, the Qaher-313, but many analysts suggested that the jet is a fake. Iran has a history of photo-shopping and exaggerating its military capabilities in order to intimidate its rivals.


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levantLevant Watch


The Syrian Civil War rages unabated-the death toll is approaching 70,000-and continues to threaten regional stability. Five Lebanese soldiers were killed following clashes along the Syrian border and the IDF, after repeated warnings, wounded a Syrian attempting to approach the border fence. Syrian rebels have made larger territorial gains in recent weeks.


According to reports, in late January, Israeli F-16s bombed an arms convoy northwest of Damascus that was believed to be carrying advanced, Russian-made anti-aircraft missiles to Hezbollah. Some reports suggested that Israel may have also attacked the Syrian Scientific Studies and Research Center, long known to be the nerve center for Syrian biological and chemical warfare research. Much like its strike on a Syrian nuclear reactor in 2007, Israel has not commented on the reports and, so far, has not faced any retaliation. In anticipation for possible reprisals, the IDF moved three Iron Dome batteries to northern Israel.


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egyptEgypt Watch


The United States delivered four F-16s to Egypt, as part of a 20-jet sale agreed to in 2009. To date, Egypt has bought 224 F-16s, with the most recent four being of the Block 50/52 variant. Several U.S. Senators have opposed the delivery in light of the ongoing instability in Egypt and the new Egyptian president's anti-Semitic commentary.


Egyptian forces have flooded many of the smuggling tunnels along the Sinai-Gaza border. Although the number of tunnels has shrunk since Israel expanded the number and type of goods it would allow into Gaza, they are still the major transit point for arms to Hamas.


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oldnewOld and News Allies  


Aerostat Israel's Iron Dome and David's Sling missile defense systems were both showcased by Rafael at Aero India 2013 in Bangalore this month, the first time either system was displayed abroad. However, the Indian Air Force Chief said that Iron Dome was unsuitable for India's needs, noting India's longer borders, but that it was potentially interested in David's Sling. Prior to the air show, the Indian Air Force Chief visited Israel, where he pressed Israel to speed up their joint development of a medium-range surface-to-air missile (MRSAM) project. The MRSAM seeks to deliver at least 18 firing units, each with 16 missiles, to India. Israel and India are also negotiating additional deliveries of aerostat systems that will help tighten the latter's control of its border with Pakistan. 


Brazilian-owned Avibras and Embraer are partnering with Israel's Elbit Systems to develop unmanned aircraft in Brazil. The joint venture, known as Harpia Systems, aims to increase Brazilian aerial border patrols in time for the 2016 Olympics.


The Italian Air Force trained with the Israel Air Force over the Negev in early February. The Italians flew Tornadoes and AMX fighter jets while the Israelis flew F-15s and F-16s as the two countries practiced dog fights and aerial bombardments.


The European Union and Israel have launched the Aeroceptor Project, a three-year research program to develop UAVs for law enforcement. The EU itself is contributing 75% of the initial $6.4million for the project, which involves the Israeli Ministry of Public Security.


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 turkeyTurkey Watch   


On February 1, a suicide bomber from a Marxist group killed a Turkish guard at the U.S. embassy in Ankara, Turkey. The explosion rocked the compound, but the terrorist never breached the security checkpoint.


Several of the NATO-deployed Patriot missile batteries in southwestern Turkey are now operational. All six batteries will soon be activated.


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Israel is quickly building up its cyber defenses, investing larges resources in both offensive, defensive, and intelligence related cyber capabilities. A year after the National Cyber Bureau was inaugurated in the Prime Minister's Office, Israel has defended against cyber attacks from Iran, Saudi Arabia, and Hamas.


Elbit launched a maritime version of its Hermes 900 UAV, which it unveiled at the Aero India show in Bangalore this past week. The maritime Hermes 900 can carry payloads of 770 lbs. and has extensive surveillance and electro-optical capabilities. Elbit's announcement comes after Israel Aerospace Industries unveiled its maritime version of the Heron last summer. USE PIC


In the next five years, the IDF will have its own secure cellphone network, dubbed Golden Ring. The current network will be replaced as the IDF relocates many of its assets to the Negev.


Simulator In order to improve efficiency and reduce costs, the IDF has invested in the use of digital simulators to train its soldiers across its various branches. The simulators allow soldiers to experience battlefield situations with better analytics in order to improve their performances. 


The Economist profiled one of the godfathers of unmanned aerial systems, Israeli Abe Karem, who built the first "drone" right after the Yom Kippur War.


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oddsendsOdds and Ends

  • 2013 began with several positive announcements regarding Israel's fight against Palestinian terror. 2012 marked the first year since 1973 that no Israeli was killed in a terror attack in the West Bank or Jerusalem. While only 10 Israelis, six civilians and four soldiers, were killed by Palestinian terrorism, the number of wounded and the number of incidents rose compared to the previous year. Moreover, since the conclusion of Operation Pillar of Defense, only a single projectile has been launched from the Gaza Strip, the longest period of quiet in a decade.
  • In mid-January, al-Qaeda linked militants attacked and seized a large gas facility in eastern Algeria, near the Libyan border, holding upwards of 800 hostages. The four-day assault to retake the facility by Algerian special forces resulted in the death of at least 38 hostages and 29 militants. The collapse of the Qaddafi regime in Libya has led to an upsurge in militancy across vast, ungoverned spaces in Libya, Algeria, and Mali. One report even suggested that one of the terrorists in the Algeria attack also participated in the attack against the U.S. consulate in Benghazi last September.
  • Responding to the increased instability across the Sahel in North Africa, the U.S. is reportedly preparing to establish a drone base in northwest Africa in order to increase surveillance against al-Qaeda's growing regional presence.
  • After a long investigation, Bulgaria formally implicated Hezbollah in the July 2012 suicide bombing that killed five Israeli tourists and a Bulgarian bus driver. The announcement confirms initial Israeli and U.S. suspicions and will put increased pressure on the European Union to designate Hezbollah as a terrorist organization.

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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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