Israeli Military News – Web Publications

by Gideon

The IDF remains in a state of readiness, prepared for every eventuality. These are few examples, collected from the web, about what the IDF has been doing lately.


USAF aircraft fly above Israel during Juniper Falcon 2017 exercise (Photo: IDF)

“A joint aerial exercise between the Israeli and US Air Forces, code-named “Juniper Falcon,” took place in early May, the Israeli military announced on Sunday. The goal of the exercise was to improve the operational capacity of both air forces as well as the advancement of relations between the two countries. Juniper Falcon takes place annually and features mock air battles over southern Israel between allied (“Blue Team”) and enemy (“Red Team”) forces. A US squadron of F-15E Strike Eagle fighter jets made up a part of the Blue Team, along with Israeli F-15 squadrons, with a total number of planes ranging between 20 and 24 aircraft.” – www.realcleardefense.com – May 21, 2017

“U.S. aircraft carrier George H.W. Bush docked in the port of Haifa, Israel — the first such visit of an American aircraft carrier in nearly 20 years. The planned port visit was meant to ‘enhance U.S.-Israel relations as the two nations reaffirm their continued commitment to the collective security of the European and Middle East Regions,’ per a  U.S. Navy press release. The Bush also hosted Israeli Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu on July 3 in what marks the first visit of a head of state to the carrier. ‘It is a timely show of American power projection and deterrence capability. American presence and influence in this stormy region is very important,’ Israel’s Minister of Intelligence and Transportation Israel Katz said of the Bush’s visit. The presence of the Bush acted as a show of American strength in a region rife with instability. Previously, the Bush faced off with Iranian Revolutionary Guard vessels in the Straight of Hormuz during a tense encounter March 22. IRGC speedboats came within 900 yards of the Bush in an action that was described as provocative and reckless by U.S. commanders, per an  AP report.” – www.navytimes.com July 6, 2017

“The IDF is keeping a watchful eye on Iranian attempts to manufacture precise weaponry in Lebanon and Syria, Chief of Staff Gadi Eisenkot told the Knesset Foreign Affairs and Defense Committee Wednesday. Eisenkot said that Iranian capabilities were so far limited and that IDF was employing a “number of measures” to keep abreast of developments and avoid a deterioration in the security situation. Eisenkot told the Committee that rolling back Iran’s influence in the Middle East was no less a challenge than defeating the Islamic State. Israel was reported at the end of June to have sent messages to Iran via European diplomats that it would not tolerate Iran setting up weapons factories to manufacture arms for Hezbollah. Maj. Gen Herzi Halevi said at the Herzliya Conference earlier in June that Hezbollah was setting up military industries on Lebanese soil with Iranian know-how. Eisenkot added that 11 years on from the Second Lebanon War, the IDF’s capabilities have improved exponentially, including in the field of intelligence, both in terms of quality and quantity. The Chief of Staff added that Hezbollah routinely violates United Nations Resolution 1701, which ended the 2006 conflict.” – www.breakingisraelnews.com  

 

Israeli Chief of Staff Gadi EIzenkot (center) seen during a visit to a drill attended by the IDF Armored Division brigade 401

 

“As part of a major, multi-phased upgrade of its armored forces, Israel will soon demonstrate a smart helmet-mounted system — almost identical to that used for the F-35 fighter and other aircraft worldwide — that allows commanders to essentially see through the walls of tanks for safe and effective ground-maneuvering combat. Developed by Elbit Systems, the vehicle-adapted Iron Vision aims to usher Israel into the era of so-called closed hatch operations, where crews operating in urban environments can locate, identify, track and engage enemy forces without the commander having to stick his or her head out of the turret and expose himself or herself to sniper fire.” – www.defensenews.com July 6, 2017

 

“The Israeli Air Force’s (IAF’s) Planning and Organization Department is currently implementing a plan aimed at ensuring Israel can sustain an unprecedented campaign of strikes if another full-scale conflict breaks out, a senior IAF source has told Jane’s . The department oversees the IAF’s planning relating to the force build-up process, weaponry, C4I capabilities, and air defences. The source said the current plan for 2020 is to ensure the IAF can direct ‘waves of massive, heavy fire’ at any potential enemy and reach a strike rate that ‘surpasses anything seen in Israeli military history – and even world military history – relative to the number of aircraft.” – www.janes.com 06 July 2017

“The Israeli Ministry of Defense (MoD) and the Israel Defense Forces (IDF) announced on 26 June that they had awarded a contract for the largest and most complex technological project in Israeli military history. The contract worth “hundreds of millions of shekels” was awarded to a consortium consisting of Israel Aerospace Industries (IAI), TSG IT Advanced Systems (which is 50% owned by IAI), and Leidos (formerly a division of Lockheed Martin) to integrate the IDF’s C4I and Cyber Defense Branch’s data centres. The IDF currently maintains data centres that are spread out in dozens of bases around the country. It is seeking to integrate them into a few modern centres to be built in southern Israel.” – www.janes.com 02 July 2017

“‘The Northern front and Hezbollah remain the IDF’s highest priority,’ IDF Chief of Staff Gadi Eizenkot said Wednesday at an event marking 11 years to the Second Lebanon War. Eizenkot said the Lebanese Shi’ite group has significantly strengthened its capabilities in the time that had passed since the war, but added that the group now finds itself in a difficult situation due to its involvement in the Syrian civil war and elsewhere in the Middle East. ‘Hezbollah finds itself in a very complex strategic reality,’ Eizenkot said. ‘Around a third of its force is fighting in Syria, Iraq and Yemen and it has lost around 1,700 men with and around 7,000 of its fighters have been injured.’ Eizenkot also noted that Hezbollah was suffering from severe financial difficulties as a result of its foreign adventures, the moral of its fighters is low and it has lost two of its commanders in the past eight years – Imad Mugniyah, who according to foreign sources was killed in a joint Mossad-CIA operation, and Mustafa Badreddine, whom Eizenkot has said in the past was killed by his own officers. But despite those losses, Eizenkot warned, the group remains a major threat and has gained valuable battleground experience fighting in large formations alongside the Bashar Assad regime in Syria, as well as in the civil wars in Iraq and Yemen. Most observers believe another round of fighting between Israel and Hezbollah is only a matter of time, and Israeli intelligence believes the terror group has more than 100,000 short, medium and long-range rockets pointed at every area of Israel. In addition, a particular matter of concern is the possibility that the group has now become so deeply entrenched in Syria that it could open a second fighting front, if and when there is a war.” – www.breakingisraelnews.com   

Israeli armored vehicles cross over the border fence which separates Israel from Lebanon near the Israeli village of Avivim – Saturday July 22, 2006

“The Israel Air Force (IAF) will declare its Lockheed Martin F-35A jets fully operational in December, a military source has told Jane’s. The operational status will apply to the five F-35s already delivered to the IAF as well as all future jets on their arrival. Israel has ordered 50 jets to equip two full squadrons, with final deliveries expected in 2022.” – www.janes.com 22 June 2017

“The Israeli Air Force will host flying forces from seven nations later this year in the largest and most complex air exercise in its history. Nearly 100 aircraft and several hundreds of air warriors and support crews from the United States, Greece, Poland, France, Germany, India and Italy will converge here in the autumn for Blue Flag, a biennial, two-week drill aimed at honing the type of planning, targeting and coordinated command and control demanded by coalitions operating in high-threat theaters. ‘It will be a massive exercise; the biggest ever for the IAF. Seven nations plus Israel,’ said Lt. Col. Richard Hecht, the Israeli Air Force’s chief of international affairs. Of the seven confirmed participants, four have never before actively participated in Blue Flag, which began in 2013 and continued in 2015 as a four-way exercise involving Israel, the U.S., Greece and Poland. This year, however, four new nations are participating, along with officers and attaches from nearly 40 countries who are expected to attend as observers.  ‘Everybody wants to engage and cooperate with the IAF. It’s a privilege,’ said Hecht, who spent four years on the Israel Defense Forces’ J5 planning staff, primarily coordinating bilateral issues between the U.S. and Israel.” – www.defensenews.com March 21, 2017

A Polish F-16 fighter jet takes off during the ‘Blue Flag’ exercise at Ovda Airfield near Eilat on October 26, 2015. (Israeli Air Force)

“The US Army is considering various systems to better shield tanks and armored vehicles from RPGs, antitank missiles, and other enemy fire… The Army intends to outfit Abrams tanks with the Israeli-made Trophy APS and Bradley vehicles with the Iron Fist system, which is also Israeli-made. It plans to put the US-made Iron Curtain system on Stryker vehicles. (The Army leased several of the Trophy systems last spring, working with the Marine Corps to test them.) The one that is farthest along in terms of installing it is … Trophy on Abrams,” Lt. Gen. John Murray, the Army’s deputy chief of staff, said in a statement. “We’re getting some pretty … good results. It adds to the protection level of the tank.’…Israeli’s Merkava comes standard with the Trophy, as does Russia’s new T-14 Armata. Both Israel’s and Russia’s tanks, as well as the UK’s Challenger 2, are considered by US officials to be close to or at parity with the US’s mainstay, the Abrams tank. (Though some officials don’t consider the Armata fielded.)” – www.businessinsider.com Jun. 10, 2017

“Chief of Staff Gadi Eisenkot recently announced the establishment of a commando brigade that will consolidate four of the IDF’s most elite Special Forces units: Maglan, Duvdevan (both currently affiliated with the Paratroopers Brigade), Egoz (affiliated with Golani Brigade) and Rimon (affiliated with Givati Brigade).  The decision comes as part of the IDF’s multi-year “Gideon” plan, meant to increase Israel’s efficiency and ability to respond in crisis situations. The brigade will be subordinate to the IDF’s 98th Paratroopers Division or Fire Formation… An IDF spokesperson statement on the decision to establish the brigade said that the move would strengthen the Special Forces by increasing cooperation and communication, turning the IDF’s elite into an even more effective response team during emergency protocol. During appointment discussions held Monday in the IDF, it was decided that Colonel David Zini, who is currently the operations officer for the Central Command, will become the brigade’s first leader. The separate units that will be transferred to the brigade are expected to continue functioning independently, or in conjuncture with brigade-level combat teams, and not as one fighting unit. The character and the operational purpose of the units is not expected to change, and the IDF said the goal of the unification is to affix every unit with a purpose relevant to the current terrorist threats. The new brigade draws further parallels between Israel’s Special Forces and those in the US, as the model of unified command mirrors that of the Ranger brigade in the US Special Forces.” www.ynetnews.com July 07, 2015

“The new brigade, dubbed the Commando Brigade, will be comprised solely of infantry special-operations units removed from their previous chain of command structures to create this new tactical formation. – www.breakingisraelnews.com December 28, 2015

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