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usisraelU.S.-Israel Cooperation  


The Pentagon officially selected a helmet design for the F-35 Lightning II Joint Strike Fighter made by an Israeli-American team consisting of Rockwell Collins and Elbit Systems. The helmet provides the pilot with a 360-degree digital view, allowing him to "look through" the airplane structure. Minister of Defense Moshe Ya'alon said the decision marked a "vote of confidence in Israel's defense industries and their people." Elbit Systems has also won a contract to supply the U.S. Army's OH-58 Kiowa Warrior helicopters with TC-100L SATCOM amplifiers as part of a weight reduction initiative.


At its San Antonio, Texas Land Vehicle Center, Elbit Systems of America, the U.S. subsidiary of the Israeli defense company, is restoring and upgrading old and excess U.S. military vehicles for future sales to allied governments. Once transformed, the vehicles undergo demanding tests at Elbit's 36,000-square-foot facility and 30-acre test track.


The Department of Defense is fast-tracking the deployment of the Micro Tactical Ground Robot (MTGR), an Israeli-designed, stair-climbing micro-robot to support special operations and explosive ordinance disposal. The MTGR, designed by Roboteam in Tel Aviv and manufactured by its subsidiary in McLean, VA, weighs less than 20 lbs., can carry its own weight in payload, and is fitted with cameras, a microphone, and infrared laser pointers to generate data. The Pentagon has earmarked 135 MTGRs for priority fielding. 


Secretary of Defense Chuck Hagel announced that the Pentagon will fast track the sale of six V-22 Ospreys to Israel. Already the first foreign purchaser of the tilt-rotor aircraft, Israel will begin to receive the aircraft in 2015.


Lockheed Martin announced that it would open a major subsidiary in Israel, seeking to employ hundreds of people and integrating itself into the Israeli economy. The announcement builds on earlier plans to open an information technology facility in Israel.


Boeing is evaluating Israel's RADA Electronic Industries' Tactical Multi-Mission Hemispheric Radar (MHR) for its Future Directed Energy Tactical Systems.


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techTechnology Watch 


The Israeli Ministry of Defense's Administration for the Development of Weapons and Technological Infrastructure (Mafat) is seeking to spearhead the next generation of military technology: unmanned submarines. Estimating that the industry could be worth $2 billion per year by the end of this decade, Mafat believes that Israel could be a leader in unmanned undersea systems like it has been for unmanned aerial platforms.


Israel Aerospace Industries (IAI) is in the preliminary stages of developing Israel's largest warship that will give its navy greater firepower. To move ahead with the project, it is seeking foreign investors and announced that several countries are interested. This project, along with the purchase of three new Super Dvora MK III patrol boats, is part of the Israeli Navy's unprecedented expansion.


The Israel Air Force recently approved a series of historic structural changes - the first in 40 years - in order to increase operational capabilities in the new strategic environment. The Chief of the IAF Air Group will be split into two positions, Chief of Aerial Operations and Chief of the Air Group, which will deal with instruction and training. The Chief of Aerial Operations will now oversee the Operations Division, which will consist of three categories: strike operations, defensive operations (including most of the active air defense systems), and joint operations with IDF ground forces.


The IDF Armored Corps is merging traditional infantry missions into Israel's future armored order of battle. To do so, it is training new specialty companies composed of reconnaissance, observation, and mortar platoons, to operate shoulder-to-shoulder with main battle tanks.


IAI will supply Israeli combat helicopters with a large number of LAHAT (Laser Homing ATtack) missile systems to be used as a primary weapon system. The LAHAT is an advanced lightweight guided missile with pinpoint accuracy at an 8km range.


IDF Ground Forces Command unveiled its first ever aircraft simulator, designed to train the Artillery Corps' Sky Rider drone unit, the only non-IAF drone operator in the IDF.


The Trophy active defense system successfully completed a series of tests for the LAV III Armored Personnel Carrier by General Dynamics Land Systems. Having installed Trophy on the IDF's Merkava Mk IV tanks, RAFAEL and its U.S. partner DRS Technologies hope that the rigorous testing will lead to future contracts for the Canadian LAV III APC and the Stryker APC used extensively by the U.S. Army.


The IDF has opened a $1 billion bid to replace its U.S.-designed M109 155mm self-propelled howitzers. The competition is expected to attract joint bids from Israeli-American and Israeli-European teams.


IAI's Ramta Division is developing an unmanned ground penetrating system radar sensor designed to detect buried and surface-laid mines and IEDs. The Mines and IED Detection System (MIDS) will be ready for testing next year.


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oldandnewOld and New Allies 


Israel Aerospace Industries recently delivered its Ground Target Acquisition System (GTAS) to a NATO country's Artillery Forward Observer Units.


Israel and Thailand are collaborating on the production of six of Elbit's Autonomous Truck Mounted howitzer System (ATMOS) 155mm self-propelled howitzer. Under the arrangement, the first platform will be built in Israel while the Royal Thai Army will build the subsequent five.


During the first ever visit to Israel by its head of state, Papua New Guinea's Prime Minister Peter O'Neill sought Israel technology and assistance in improving the standards of the PNG Defense Force. 


Elbit Systems will provide South Korea with more advanced helmet-mounted displays for it new Surion helicopters under a four-year extension of a previous deal. Meanwhile, Rafael has taken a minority stake in South Korea's Pine Telecom in order to collaborate on the development and manufacturing of C4I for the Korean market.


Later this month, the IAF will conduct a two-week exercise with the U.S., Italian, Greek, and Polish air forces. Known as the "Blue Flag" exercise and flying out of the Negev, the drill will include over 100 aircraft and 1,000 officers. It will be Israel's largest multinational aerial exercise since Turkey vetoed Israeli participation in NATO exercises several years ago. 


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gulfGulf Watch    


In what was perhaps a signal to Iran, the IAF publicized an unusually large training exercise that involved mid-air refueling, exceptionally long-distance coordinated strikes, and dogfights.


Having decided against a military strike on Syria, the United States is bringing home the USS Nimitz aircraft carrier from the Persian Gulf region.


First announced in April, the Obama administration has agreed to sell $10.8 billion of advanced strike weaponry to Saudi Arabia and the UAE. For integration with their F-16 fighter aircraft, the UAE will receive 5,000 GBU-39/B bunker-buster bombs with their carriage systems, 1,200 AGM-154C Joint StandOff Weapon (JSOW) and 300 AGM-84H Standoff Land Attack Missiles-Expanded Response (SLAM-ER), expanding the fighters' air-to-surface and maritime strike capability. Saudi Arabia's purchase, worth $6.8 billion, includes 1,000 GBU-39/B bunker busters, 650 AGM-84H electro-optically guided Standoff Land Attack Missile-Expanded Response (SLAM-ER), 973 AGM-154C Joint Stand Off Weapons (JSOW), and 400 AGM-84L Harpoon Block II anti-ship missiles.


Saudi Arabia has also purchased two KC-130J aerial tankers. The deal is worth $180 million and the planes are expected to be delivered in 2016.


According to a German newspaper, Saudi Arabia wants to buy an initial five Type 209 German submarines, followed by an additional 25 over the long term. The plans are on hold until after the formation of the new German government.


The Royal Navy of Oman recently accepted a new 99-meter corvette, the Al Shamikh, fitted with an anti-aircraft vertical launch missile system.


Despite earlier rumors of cancellation, Iraq has begun receiving Russian arms under a $4.3 billion deal signed last year that includes helicopters and surface-to-air missiles. 


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levantLevant Watch


Israel was once again reported to have conducted airstrikes on advanced weaponry stored near Latakia, Syria. The weaponry was apparently determined to be transferred by the Assad regime to Hezbollah. It was reported that Obama administration officials leaked the incident to the media, infuriating their Israeli counterparts who have sought to avoid responsibility in order to lower the pressure on the Syrian government to respond.


Although the United States remains skeptical of Syrian cooperation, the destruction of Syria's chemical weapons program continues under international supervision.


Having weathered the threat of Western military intervention, the Assad regime seemed to have regained the military initiative, pushing back rebel gains in northern Syria. Hezbollah continues to be intricately involved in the defense of the Assad regime.


Syria's neighbors continue to be affected by the civil war. After an eight month captivity following his kidnapping in Syria, a Canadian UNDOF adviser was released last month. Syrian mortar shells fell on the Israeli Golan Heights last month and a recent bout of Sunni-Shia violence in Tripoli resulted in nearly 100 casualties.


Israel is considering building a security barrier, similar to the one it has built along its border with Egypt, along its border with Jordan.


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egyptEgypt Watch     


Militant attacks have spread beyond just the Sinai, as evidenced by last month's car bomb outside a military intelligence headquarters in Ismailia.


Egypt continues to destroy Hamas smuggling tunnels along its border with Gaza. Meanwhile, the IDF discovered and destroyed two professionally-built Hamas tunnels, including one that was one-mile long and reached Israeli communities, which led to clashes with Hamas militants.


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turkeyTurkey Watch


According to Washington Post columnist David Ignatius, in early 2012 Turkey disclosed to Iranian officials the identities of up to 10 Iranians who had been working for Israel's Mossad intelligence agency. U.S. officials were aware of the unprecedented disclosure, but didn't protest directly to Turkey. For decades, American and Israeli intelligence cooperated closely with their Turkish counterparts, often using Turkey as a base for operations in Iran. The revelation demonstrates the depths of Turkey's turn away from Israel and may have led to the cancellation by Congress of the sale of 10 Predator drones to Ankara.


The Turkish government agreed to purchase 10 Anka drones, Turkey's first locally produced UAV, from Turkish Aerospace Industries. Deliveries are expected in 2016.


Having earlier postponed an order to purchase its first two F-35 Lightning II Joint Strikes Fighters, Turkey will reissue the order in the coming months.


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oddsendsOdds and Ends   

  • Just this past week, an 18-year-old Israeli soldier, while sleeping on a bus near Afula, was stabbed to death by a Palestinian. October saw a small uptick in Palestinian terror attacks on Israelis, including the fatal stabbing of another Israeli in the Jordan Valley.

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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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