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topJuly 2013 


usisraelU.S-Israel Cooperation  


As a result of Sequestration, the United States reduced foreign military aid to Israel in FY13 by $175 million, a 5.6% reduction of the annual $3.1 billion package. An additional $21.5 million was cut from the jointly owned Israeli Cooperative-David's Sling and Arrow missile defense systems-an 8% reduction over the appropriated budget. American funding of Iron Dome was also cut by 8%, for a total of $16.24 million. Potential further funding reductions loom in FY14 and beyond due to the Sequester.


C130J The Israeli Air Force received its first Super Hercules C-130J aircraft during a ceremony at the Lockheed Martin production center outside Atlanta. IAF pilots are soon expected to conduct test flights in the United States. 


Israel will be the first non-U.S. operator of the F-35 Joint Strike Fighter in the world. Israeli pilots are expected to begin training on the F-35 in the United States in early 2016 and the first aircrafts will arrive in Israel a year later.


Lockheed Martin will build a technology development center in Israel, cementing security ties between the two allies. Lockheed will team with Israel's Bynet Data Communications to build the IDF's $210 million Intelligence Corps center in the Negev.


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missileMissile Defense


Last Friday, Israel conducted a successful test of a rocket propulsion system. While reports suggest it was likely a version of a Jericho ballistic missile, it could also have been the second fly-out test of the Arrow 3 interceptor missile.


A sixth Iron Dome battery will soon be operational with an additional two coming online by next January. Congress continues to push for U.S. participation in the program.


David's Sling interceptor missile, known as the Stunner, was on display at the Paris Air Show last month, providing a greater look at Israel's future middle tier anti-missile system.


Even as overall attacks from Gaza have declined since November, militants launched five rockets at Israel in June. Several were intercepted by Iron Dome; there were no casualties. 44 rockets and mortars have been fired in 2013.


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egyptEgypt Watch 

Egyptian President Mohamed Morsi was removed from power by the Egyptian military following multi-million person street protests. The Obama administration has not called the change of power a coup d'etat and, for the moment, intends to continue U.S. military aid to Egypt as well as the delivery of an additional 12 F-16 fighters over the coming months. Two U.S. Navy ships moved closer to Egypt's Red Sea coast as a precaution.


Following the coup, Egypt initiated a large military operation, with Israeli approval, against Sinai militants. Attacks on Egyptian security installations and Christians by jihadists, Hamas operatives, and Bedouin tribes have continued to increase.


With security continuing to deteriorate, Israel continues to shore up its southern border. The IDF has nearly completed the new border fence with Egypt and has decided to extend the fence into the Red Sea to prevent maritime infiltration. Even after the recent coup, a Salafist group managed to fire a rocket north of Eilat.


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levantLevant Watch


The death toll in the Syrian civil war surpassed 100,000 as the war continues to have regional repercussions. In light of the administration's assessment that the Assad regime had used chemical weapons, President Obama announced that the United States would begin to supply arms to rebel forces, although the quantity, type, and timeline of such supply remains unclear.


Clashes in Syria Twelve Lebanese soldiers were killed in Sidon as a result of Sunni-Shia clashes stemming from Hezbollah's involvement in Syria. Beirut was also on the receiving end of rocket attacks as well as a large car bomb.


Israel continues to be vigilant along the Golan Heights. Sporadic mortar shells continue to land in the Golan, so far causing no casualties. The IDF announced it had created a new regional division-the country's fifth-to operate in the north and defend the country from spillover from Syria. IDF Northern Command has also decided to deploy the Multi-Sensor System (MSS) along the Lebanese border, after already being deployed along Israel's southern border.


According to one report, Russia has evacuated all its military personnel from its naval center in Tartus, Syria. Although the Russian presence at Tartus dates back to 1971, the reported evacuation has not signaled a change in Russia's support for the Assad regime.


In the wake of Austria's withdrawal of its 380-man UNDOF contingent, Fiji announced it would supply 170 troops by the end of the month to the beleaguered peacekeeping force. UNDOF is supposed to be comprised of 1,000 troops, but currently only has 341. Meanwhile, UNDOF has ended night patrols, closed some observation points, and will receive machine guns, extra body armor, and armored vehicles to boost the force's security.


Speculation mounted as to whether Israel was responsible for another strike in northern Syria. A depot of Russian-made anti-ship Yakhont missiles was destroyed. While neither Israel nor the Assad regime directly commented on the incident, the Free Syrian Army denied involvement and concluded that the strike was conducted either by air or by sea.


The Obama administration has increased its military deployments to Jordan in order to deter and respond to any potential spillover from Syria. Following last month's Eager Lion exercise, as many as 1,000 U.S. troops remain in Jordan, training Jordanians in how to handle a chemical attack, operating a Patriot anti-missile battery, and flying a fleet of F-16s that Washington decided would remain in Jordan for the foreseeable future.


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oldnewOld and New Allies


India is reportedly reconsidering its decision to not purchase Iron Dome after Israel expressed willingness to share some of the technology behind the system.


JHMCS II The Israeli and Bulgarian air forces completed a three-week exercise in Bulgaria this past month, involving Israeli F-16s and Bulgarian MiGs and Sukhois.


Elbit Systems of America is supplying second-generation joint helmet-mounted cueing systems (JHMCS II) for Alenia Aermacchi M-346 advanced jet trainers for the Italian, Israeli, and perhaps Singapore Air Forces. The JHMCS II replaces analog CRT displays with digital liquid-crystal displays and is capable of displaying data in color and high definition.


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Turkey Watch    


turkeyTurkey is reportedly preparing to adopt the Chinese long-range anti-missile and air defense system, the HQ-9, a system similar to the Russian S-300. The report is another cause for concern for Turkey's NATO allies after Turkey became a dialogue partner with the Shanghai Cooperation Organization earlier this year.


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gulfGulf Watch 


Three additional U.S. Navy patrol coastal (PC) vessels, the Tempest, Squall, and Thunderbolt, have arrived in Bahrain. After two more arrive next summer, 10 out of the Navy's 13 PC vessels will be based in the Gulf.


The U.S. plans to deliver over 1,000 M113A2 armored personnel carriers (APCs) to Iraq from its surplus stock.


Recent satellite imagery made public and analyzed by IHS Jane's Intelligence Review revealed a previously undisclosed surface-to-surface missile base in the central Saudi Arabian desert. The two launch pads appear to be aimed at Israel and Iran, respectively.


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Elbit Systems has launched a directional infrared countermeasure (DIRCM) system, dubbed "mini-Music which aims to protect Apache and Blackhawk helicopters from surface-to-air missiles. The system operates similarly to Elbit's larger DIRCM system of the same name, which has been purchased by the Brazilian and Italian air forces among others.


IDF Cyber
Lotam Unit 

The Israeli Navy is considering integrating the Panther, a tilt-rotor unmanned aerial system,  aboard its ships. Made by Israel Aerospace Industries and operational since 2011, the Panther is an ultra-quiet surveillance UAV whose tilt-rotor technology makes it a Vertical Take-Off and Landing (VTOL) vehicle, eliminating the need for runways.


The IDF offered a peek into its cyber-defense Lotam Unit.


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oddsendsOdds and Ends 

  • By the end of the month, the Israeli Knesset will vote for a new budget that will likely include major defense spending cuts. While the cuts are not yet final, Defense Minister Ya'alon portended a "different IDF," with cuts to armored, air, and reserve divisions in favor of cyber-warfare, precise ordinance, and electronics. In many ways, the cuts are a recognition of Israel's improving security environment, as the threat of large, conventional Arab armies has dissipated.
  • The American drone base in Niger, operated by 120 members of the Air Force, continues to track al-Qaeda affiliates across the North African Sahel region. 

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Security Digest newsletter is a monthly bulletin covering U.S.-Israel security cooperation and much more. 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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