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usisraelU.S-Israel Cooperation  


Joint Exercise Last month, a unit of U.S. Marines visited the National Center for Urban Warfare Training in Israel and conducted a joint exercise with special forces units from Israel's Givati Brigade. The three-day exercise focused on urban warfare and the two militaries learned from each other's operational experience. 


The U.S. Navy and the Israeli Navy participated in Reliant Mermaid 103, a joint, ten-day search-and-rescue exercise that took place in early August. The Mediterranean-based activity involved a guided-missile destroyer from the U.S. 6th Fleet and missile boats from the Israel Navy.


Earlier this month, the USS San Antonio, an amphibious transport dock ship, arrived at Haifa for a routine port visit. Alluding to the many visits by U.S. Navy ships to Haifa, Captain Dykes explained that "if you have been here, you know what a great country Israel is" and that "our sailors and marines will have a great time."


As an example of how cooperation between the United States and Israel occurs at all levels of law enforcement, an Arizona-based bomb squad team visited Israel to learn improved techniques and tactics from their Israeli counterparts.


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missileMissile Defense


The IDF deployed its sixth Iron Dome battery last month, the first to be operated solely by a reserve unit. Six more batteries are expected to come online over the next two years.


In early September, Israel and the United States completed a successful test of the Silver Sparrow target missile over the eastern Mediterranean. Developed by Rafael, the Silver Sparrow is the most advanced version of the Sparrow missile family and is meant to simulate a long-range Iranian Shihab-3 ballistic missile. The Arrow 3 Super Green Pine Radar successfully tracked the missile and transferred the information to the Citron Tree Battle Management Control System. Although the test raised concerns in the region due to ongoing tensions surrounding Syria, it had been planned long in advance.


Israeli defense company Rafael and the U.S. Raytheon Company are seeking Pentagon approval to integrate the jointly funded Stunner interceptor missile, already in use in the medium-range David's Sling Weapon System (DSWS), into the fourth generation U.S. Patriot missile system. Under the Patriot Advanced Affordable Capability-4 (PAAC-4) plan, the two-stage Stunner with a multi-mode seeker would replace the single-stage, radar-guided PAC-3 missiles produced by Lockheed Martin.


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levantLevant Watch


The Obama Administration, unable to rally European allies or Congress to support punitive, limited air strikes against the Syrian regime's chemical weapons sites, embraced a Russian proposal to turn over Syrian chemical weapons to international control by mid-2014. Following the Assad regime's chemical weapons attack that killed more than 1,400 people on August 21. 


As a result of the continued shelling of Israeli communities in the Golan, the IDF has intermittently fired Tamuz surface-to-surface missiles at the source of fire in Syria. Syrian rebel groups and Assad regime forces continue to battle each other right on the Israeli border.


Meanwhile, four rockets landed near Nahariya, Israel at the end of August. While Car bombingthe incident appeared to be a one-off strike by a Lebanese jihadi group, Israeli jets bombed a terror site north  of Sidon. The Iron Dome system intercepted one of the rockets, although two evaded the system and landed in populated areas. There were no casualties.


Spillover from the Syrian civil war continues to have deadly consequences in Lebanon. Sunni-Shiite regional tension manifested itself in tit-for-tat car bombs in late August in Beirut, resulting in large numbers of casualties.


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turkeyTurkey Watch


Concerned by the unending Syrian civil war, Turkey is building a new military base on top of Kel Mountain, near the Syrian coastal city of Latakia. This week, Turkish jets shot down a Syrian government helicopter that had strayed across the border.


Ankara is undertaking a broad and ambitious effort to join the ranks of countries capable of orbital launches by 2023. As part of the effort, Turkey is working to develop an anti-missile capability, a long-range offensive missile capability, and to construct the country's first satellite launch center.


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techTechnology Watch 


Despite budget cuts, Israel's Minister of Defense Moshe Ya'alon announced that the Israeli government would resume orders from the 200 some companies making components for the Merkava tank. Funds for continued production of the latest model of the main battle tank were slashed in 2012.


In light of increase threats to its offshore gas fields, the Israeli navy intends to buy new Super Dvora Mk-III fast patrol craft to protect its coastal waters.


Mini jammer Israeli company Elbit Systems has introduced the Mini Reactive Jammer, a new generation vehicle jamming system that can isolate and jam an IED-specific frequency. Previously, jammers would block all frequencies. The Mini Reactive Jammer is already in use by the IDF. 


After successfully integrating its Digital Ground Army (DGA) command-and-control system at the division and brigade level, the IDF intends to expand it to the battalion and perhaps even company level. The DGA system generates and updates a comprehensive computer map of all army and enemy forces, allowing commanders a greater view of any evolving situation.


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oldandnewOld and New Allies 


Elbit Systems' Australian subsidiary was awarded a four-year, $35 million contract to supply the Australian Federal Police with an Investigation, Intelligence, and Incident Management Solution.


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gulfGulf Watch    


France has won a 1 billion Euro contract from Saudi Arabia to overhaul four frigates and two refueling ships. The deal is expected to be concluded during French President Francois Hollande's visit to Saudi Arabia later this fall.


Boeing and the Pentagon are in discussions to sell CH-47 Chinook helicopters to Libya, Saudi Arabia, and Qatar in the coming years. The discussions are occurring in the backdrop of over $13 billion in arms sales to Gulf countries over the past three months as U.S. contractors seek foreign sales to replace reduced American demand. Other discussions in the works include a potential sale of 200 M-2 Bradley Infantry Fighting Vehicles to Iraq and a $1.2 billion supply contract with Saudi Arabia for its fleet of F-15s fighter jets.


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egyptEgypt Watch     


Since the July 3 coup, the Egyptian military has launched a major operation to clear the Sinai of jihadi groups, clamp down on Hamas penetration of the Peninsula, and restore overall law and order. Over the past year, the Egyptian army has come under nearly daily attack by terrorists, including a particularly gruesome incident when Islamic militants executed 25 off-duty policemen. The army has also destroyed smuggling tunnels into Gaza, begun creating a buffer zone on the Gaza border, seized anti-aircraft missiles, and even foiled a bombing of an Egyptian border post, whose detonating wire led back through a tunnel to Gaza.


A newly formed jihadi group claimed credit for an unsuccessful, multiple-RPG attack on a Panamanian cargo ship passing through the Suez Canal. Such attacks mark an escalation in the jihadi campaign against Egypt.


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oddsendsOdds and Ends 

  • Up to 8,000 Libyan soldiers are expected to train at two joint U.S.-Bulgarian military bases in Bulgaria over the next five to eight years as part of the post-war effort to rebuild Libya.
  • Mabus
    Navy Secretary Ray Mabus meets with Moroccan Gen. Abdelaziz Bennani during a stop in Rabat, Morocco.
    U.S. Secretary of the Navy Ray Mabus visited Morocco in an attempt repair military relations damaged by the Moroccan cancellation of a training exercise four months earlier over the Obama Administration's support for a UN monitoring mission in Western Sahara. 
  • Israeli Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu and Minister of Defense Moshe Ya'alon extended IDF Chief of Staff Lt. Gen. Benny Gantz's tenure by one year, to end in early 2015.

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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 compiled by 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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