In November, U.S. Chief of Naval Operations Adm. John Richardson visited Israel. The trip included a meeting with Israel’s Chief of the General Staff Lt. Gen. Gadi Eisenkot, a visit to the northern border, a voyage on board a Sa’ar 5 class corvette, in-depth briefings by senior commanders in the Israeli Navy and a display of current capabilities of the Naval Commando Unit (Flotilla 13). Adm. Richardson said, “The United States Navy and the Israeli Navy have a strong and enduring relationship that is built on decades of cooperation and sailor-to-sailor friendships. Our two nations share common values. …I look forward to continuing to strengthen our alliance through exercises, personnel exchanges, and the sharing of information."
From Nov. 4-15, the Israeli Air Force’s (IAF) elite Airborne Combat, Search and Rescue Unit 669 hosted its first ever international rescue drill. The two-week exercise, called “Sky Angels,” featured elite units from six foreign nations: the United States, Italy, Croatia, the Czech Republic, Canada and the Netherlands. The IAF’s Unit 669, which is among the top four special forces of the Israeli military, has rescued more than 10,000 people across Israel and the world.
During the week of Nov. 16, the U.S. Air Force held its second annual F-35 Users Group Working Group (UGWG) in Israel. The week-long conference featured delegates from Israel and various European countries that have purchased the F-35 aircraft. Organized by the U.S. Air Force, the conference included a visit to the IAF headquarters, a discussion with Chief of the IAF Staff Brig. Gen Tomer Bar, and a trip to Israel’s Nevatim Air Force Base.
In recent months, top U.S. Army officials from the U.S. Tank Automotive Research, Development and Engineering Center (TARDEC) visited Israeli Aerospace Industries (IAI) facilities on a weekly basis to explore an array of Israeli robotics technologies, Breaking Defense reported on Nov. 12. The U.S. Army is looking into robots that can react in real time to immediate threats. If pursued, the first contracts for the IAI robots could be signed in early 2019, at which point production would be moved to the United States.
On Oct. 24, the USS Arleigh Burke arrived in Haifa, Israel, for a scheduled port visit to reaffirm cooperative efforts to establish conditions for security and stability in the region. The Arleigh Burke-class guided-missile destroyer is conducting naval operations in the U.S. Sixth Fleet area of operations to support American national security interests in Europe and Africa. “We’re so honored to be hosted in this beautiful country and we look forward to exploring during our time in Israel,” said the ship's commanding officer, Cmdr. Errol Robinson. “Visits such as these solidify working relations and partnerships among the United States, our allies, and partners.”