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topMay 2013 


usisraelU.S.-Israel Cooperation


Hagel in Israel In his first tour of the Middle East since taking office, Secretary of Defense Chuck Hagel visited Israel, Jordan, Saudi Arabia, the U.A.E., and Egypt. During his trip, Israel's Minister of Defense, Moshe Ya'alon, took Secretary Hagel on a helicopter tour of Israel's north, emphasizing the country's small size and important topography. Secretary Hagel also announced a $10 billion arms deal to Israel, Saudi Arabia, and the U.A.E. The $3 billion sale to Israel includes V-22 Ospreys-the first such foreign sale of the aircraft-and KC-135 aerial refueling tankers, a new addition to the Israeli Air Force. 


Israel Aerospace Industries (IAI) signed a ten-year contract, worth potentially $2.5 billion, with Lockheed Martin to provide wings for the F-35 Joint Strike Fighter. IAI already produces wings for the F-16 and T-38.


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missileMissile Defense


April saw a noticeable rise in the number of rockets fired from Gaza, a sign that Israel's deterrence is eroding. Ten projectiles were fired from Gaza while two Grad rockets were fired from the Sinai.


The Obama administration has requested $220 million for Iron Dome and $95.7 million for the joint U.S.-Israel missile defense programs (David's Sling, Arrow 2, and Arrow 3) for FY2014. The request marks the first time Iron Dome has been part of the Pentagon's annual budget request.


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levantLevant Watch 

Earlier this month, Israel reportedly conducted two separate air strikes near Damascus, targeting missiles intended for Hezbollah. Israel has publicly stated that it would not permit the transfer of "game-changing" weapons to Hezbollah. Israel has also warned the United States that Russia intends to sell S-300 missile batteries, an advanced surface-to-air missile system, to the Assad regime. Meanwhile, stray rocket fire from Syria continues to fall in the Israeli Golan, a result of the Syrian civil war.


France, the United Kingdom, Israel, and Turkey have all confirmed that the Assad regime used chemical weapons, likely sarin gas, in violation of international law. The Obama Administration, despite tentatively agreeing, has refused to state whether the action crossed President Obama's "red line" and would prompt U.S military action.


Car Bombs in Turkey Spillover from the Syrian civil war continues. Syrian rockets struck Lebanon last month and double car bombs, likely sponsored by the Assad regime, killed 43 people in a Turkish border town. Syrian missiles have also hit Jordan. The Obama administration has deployed additional forces from the U.S. Army's 1st Armored Division to Jordan to establish a headquarters near the Syrian border.


More contributors to UN peacekeeping forces in Syria and Lebanon are threatening to withdraw their forces as a result of the increasing insecurity. After rebel forces briefly abducted another four peacekeepers, the Philippines, pending presidential final approval, announced it intended to withdraw its 342 soldiers. Similarly, Austria announced it was reassessing its presence. Meanwhile, the EU's ambassador to Lebanon threatened to withdraw its forces from the UNIFIL mission in southern Lebanon unless security was improved.


The Israeli Air Force shot down a foreign, likely Hezbollah-launched, unmanned aircraft off the coast of Haifa. Hezbollah has launched UAVs into Israeli airspace before, including as recently as October 2012.


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Israel continues to be a world leader in unmanned aerial systems (UAS). According to SIPRI, Israeli companies accounted for 41% of all UAS exports over the last decade. The IDF is heavily investing in UAS technology, which some see as the future of aerial operations.


Later this month, Israel will host its first international Command and Control, Computers, Communication, Cyber and Intelligence (C5I) conference. Participants will include senior decision-makers from militaries and defense industries.


As a result of the escalating rocket threat from the Sinai, all commercial aircraft taking off from the Eilat airport will be equipped with C-MUSIC, a laser-based missile defense system.


The IDF is in the process of developing and installing a new intelligence command and control system, "Castle of the Lake." The encrypted system, created in 2005 and a product of the IDF's C4I branch, links information from all possible sources, processes data, and presents it to military decision-makers.


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turkeyTurkey Watch


Despite nascent reconciliation with Israel, Turkey continues to block Israeli cooperation with NATO. Ankara postponed a meeting of NATO's Mediterranean Dialogue group in order to prevent Israeli participation.


Last month, Turkey became a "dialogue partner" with the Shanghai Cooperation Organization (SCO), the Chinese and Russian-led Central Asian security group. Turkey is the SCO's first NATO partner.


Turkey continues to develop its domestic arms industry. Last year, Otokar unveiled Turkey's first locally constructed main battle tank and recently announced the production of the Tulpar, a tracked armored tactical vehicle. Turkish Aerospace Industries has also begun conceptualizing a fifth-generation fighter jet that could eventually replace Turkey's reliance on F-16s.


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gulfGulf Watch   


While Secretary Hagel was in the Gulf, the U.S. announced a $10 billion arms package, which includes $5 billion for the U.A.E. and $2 billion for Saudi Arabia. The U.A.E. is purchasing 26 F-16s and both countries will receive advanced air-launched missiles.


41 nations, led by the United States, are participating in this year's International Mine Countermeasures Exercise (IMCMEX) in the Persian Gulf Region. Hosted by the U.S. Navy's Fifth Fleet, IMCMEX 2013 includes the participation of 35 ships, 18 unmanned underwater vehicles, and more than 100 explosive ordinance disposal divers.


The U.S. Navy announced it was sending an additional five coastal patrol ships to Bahrain. Once all five have arrived by 2014, 10 of the Navy's 13 coastal patrol ships will be operating forward in the Persian Gulf.


Germany announced a $2.47 billion arms deal to Qatar, including the sale 62 Leopard 2 main battle tanks and 24 PzH 2000 155mm self-propelled artillery systems. Meanwhile, Saudi Arabia has agreed to buy an unspecified number of Turkish Altay tanks.


NATO has widened relations and boosted military cooperation with Bahrain.


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iranIran Watch   


Iran announced that it had built a new, radar-evading UAV, known as the Hemaseh. Meanwhile, during a visit to Tehran by the commander of the Sudanese navy, the commander of the Iranian Navy announced that Iran was prepared to train Sudanese naval forces.


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oldnewOld and New Allies   


Germany is considering purchasing Israeli-made Heron TP unmanned aerial vehicles, also known as the "Eitan." Germany already possesses the Heron 1, an unarmed version of the "Eitan."



Israeli Navy Commander Rear Admiral Ram Rothberg with other officials at the inauguration ceremony of the INS Rahav
Late last month, Israel received its fifth Dolphin-class submarine in an official ceremony in Germany attended by the Israeli naval commander and the Director-General of Israel's Ministry of Defense. INS Rahav will arrive in Israel next year after the installation of some systems and operational exercises. 



Canadian Chief of the Defence Staff General Thomas J. Lawson visited Israel last month, meeting Minister of Defense Moshe Ya'alon and emphasizing Canada's commitment to prevent a nuclear Iran. 


Two Israeli companies, IAI and Elbit Systems, are vying to supply Canada with UAVs capable of delivering search-and-rescue supplies for Arctic missions. IAI's Heron and Elbit's Hermes 900 are among the platforms eyed for the over $1 billion deal.


Israel and Cyprus completed a joint search-and-rescue exercise off Limassol. The scenario involved an explosion in an engine room of a cargo ship and has added significance due to the blossoming energy cooperation between the two countries.


Beginning in 2014, Elbit Systems will supply electro-optical observation and surveillance systems for the Brazilian border security program known as "SISFRON."


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oddsendsOdds and Ends

  • War games between the U.S. and Morocco, initially cancelled by Rabat over Washington's support for a UN plan that would broaden the Western Sahara peacekeeping force's mandate to include rights monitoring, were conducted on a smaller scale than originally planned. African Lion 2013 was originally a three-week exercise with 1,400 U.S. servicemen and 900 Moroccan soldiers.
  • Elbit Systems won a $40 million contract to provide its Wise Intelligence Technology system for intelligence analysis and cyber defense to an unnamed African country.

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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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