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Copyright © 2019 The American Israel Public Affairs Committee

Defense Digest: January - February 2020



On Feb. 4, Israel’s Defense Minister Naftali Bennett met with U.S. Secretary of Defense Mark Esper in Washington reaffirming the close bilateral military partnership between the United States and Israel. ( Photo: DOD )

Israeli Counter-Drone Company Provides New System for U.S.


Israeli company D-Fend Solutions has been selected by the United States Defense Innovation Unit (DIU) to provide a new system for the FBI and U.S. military. The system, EnforceAir C-UAS (counter unmanned aerial system), will be used as the main radio-frequency system incorporated into a U.S. counter-drone system. The technology was co-developed with the Combatting Terrorism Technical Support Office (CTTSO), which has received congressional funding in recent years specifically designed for U.S.-Israel C-UAS cooperation. “Being selected as the best RF solution by the DOD [Department of Defense] is a remarkable achievement for D-Fend,” D-Fend chairman and CEO Zohar Halachmi said. “We are proud to be a unique and essential part of a mission-critical solution that protects U.S. assets, troops and citizens.”


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Israel’s Defense Minister Meets with U.S. Counterpart in Washington


On Feb. 4, Israel’s Defense Minister Naftali Bennett made his first official visit in his new position to the United States to discuss the threat of Iran and the new U.S. peace proposal with U.S. Secretary of Defense Mark Esper. During his visit, Bennett emphasized that Israel will continue to “act firmly” against Iran and its regional proxies. According to a statement from the U.S. Defense Department, the two officials focused on reaffirming the bilateral military partnership between the United States and Israel.


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Israel Aerospace Industries Awarded Major U.S. Air Force Contract


In January, Israel Aerospace Industries (IAI) secured a $240 million contract to produce wings for U.S. Air Force T-38 training aircraft. According to IAI, the company has been manufacturing the wings for the T-38s since 2011. The work will be completed in Israel and is estimated to be finished by 2033.


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Israel Aerospace Industries and California-Based Starburst Accelerator Open New Innovation Center


In late December, Israel Aerospace Industries (IAI) inaugurated a new innovation center in Tel Aviv. The Innovation Center was established in partnership with California-based Starburst Accelerator. The center is focusing on developing artificial intelligence-based technological solutions in aerospace, radar, robotics and autonomy. “The opening of the Innovation Center is another step in our strategy to encourage individual and business excellence that results in entrepreneurship,” said IAI CEO and president Nimrod Sheffer.


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U.S. Army to Utilize Israeli Long-Range Missile on Helicopters


In January, the U.S. Army announced its decision to field an Israeli-made, long-range precision munition on attack helicopters in the near term to get after greater stand off and long-range engagements. Brig. Gen. Wally Rugen—the leader of the Army aviation modernization—said that an Army Requirements Oversight Council decision has authorized the use of Rafael’s Spike Non-Line-of-Sight (NLOS) missiles before implementing a larger decision regarding the U.S. Army’s current and future aviation fleets.


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Israel’s Iron Dome Shot Down 100% of Targets in Recent Test


In January, Israel announced that an upgraded version of Israel’s Iron Dome battery successfully intercepted 100 percent of its targets in the latest round of tests. Some of the changes involve software enhancements and capability to target cruise missiles. These tests marked a decade since the first-ever Iron Dome interception. The advanced version of the Iron Dome used in the tests “simulated the future threats that the system may confront,” Israel’s Defense Ministry said. “When we deliver it to the Israel Defense Forces, the air force will be equipped to confront evolving threats in the region,” Moshe Patael, the head of the ministry’s Israel Missile Defense Organization said. The Iron Dome system currently protects against short-range rocket attacks.


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U.S. Interested in Israel’s Revolutionary Urban Warfare Technology


The world is paying attention to Israel’s advances in artificial intelligence. Israeli defense company Rafael has made several significant breakthroughs in the digital battlefield and various NATO countries are studying Rafael’s cutting-edge battlefield technology. The Israel Defense Forces has been working closely with Rafael to develop Fire Weaver—a revolutionary new system that creates 3D images from drones. America has expressed interest in Fire Weaver, and the U.S. military could potentially purchase the system.


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Israel Announces Serial Production of New Advanced Armored Personnel Carrier Co-Produced in U.S.


In February, Israel announced that it would begin serial production of a new, advanced armored personnel carrier (APC) after years of development. The “Eitan” will give troops greater speed and mobility, as well as better security. The Eitan was developed in Israel and the United States and its parts will be produced in more than 60 factories in both countries, not only protecting troops, but also creating jobs for Americans.


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Type: Defense Digest