_Israel’s Military Is About to Get Even Stronger Thanks to One Thing
Seth J. Frantzman
The National Interest, July 11, 2020In the hours just before dawn on July 6, Israel’s top military brass, executives from Israel Aerospace Industries, and key defense companies waited for news of a successful orbit as Israel’s latest surveillance satellite lifted off from near Palmachim military base in central Israel. Ofek-16, the new satellite, is the latest success in Israel’s space program. Israel has been launching satellites since 1988 and has its own indigenous space program designed to make the country totally independent from end-to-end in building satellites and jamming them full of the latest imaging technology.Ofek-16 will join Ofek-11 and several other Israeli satellites, both commercial such as the Eros series, and communication such as the Amos satellites. The prime contractor was Israel’s premier aerospace defense company, IAI, and its Systems, Missiles, and Space Group. The Space Administration in the Directorate of Defense Research and Development of the Israel Ministry of Defense, pushed for the launch this summer despite the coronavirus pandemic. Israel seeks to put several satellites in orbit a decade so it was important to stay on one schedule.Israel used its locally-made Shavit launcher and fired the satellite west, instead of the way most satellites are launched to the east. Because of Israel’s sensitive neighbors, Israel can’t be shooting satellites over the West Bank, Jordan and Iraq. The satellite is now in orbit and will undergo tests before delivering imagery to Israel’s elite intelligence units of the IDF. The satellite’s payload was developed by Elbit Systems. The launch engines were developed by Rafael Advanced Systems and Tomer, a government-owned defense company.Rafael, best known for Israel’s Iron Dome defense system and Trophy active protection for tanks, which is used in the US, provided key elements for the launch. The defense giant produced the third stage propulsion for the launcher, the thrusters for the launcher’s reaction control system, full hydrazine propulsion system for the satellite, a payload structure made of unique composite materials and fueling for the site. Elbit Systems supplied the Jupiter Space camera which is 1.5 meters long and weighs 120kg. With a 700mm aperture it provides multispectral high resolution imaging of 50cm from an altitude of 600km. Each shot can capture 15 sq km, the company says. This is the unparalleled surveillance camera that Israel needs as it faces increasing Iranian threats, including Iranian weapons trafficking via Iraq and Syria to Hezbollah in Lebanon.Defense Minister Benny Gantz, who recently took up his post after signing a unity deal with Israel’s ruling party head Benjamin Netanyahu, said “this is another extraordinary achievement for the defense establishment, for the defense industries as a whole, and for Israel Aerospace Industries in particular.” He said the satellite will provide technological superiority and intelligence capabilities that are essential to the security of the State of Israel. “The fact that Israel is one of the thirteen countries in the world with satellite launching capabilities is not a given, and was made possible by the people who have been investing in these systems and advancing breakthrough capabilities over the years. We will continue to strengthen and maintain Israel’s capabilities on every front, in every place.” … [To read the full article, click the following LINK – Ed.]
______________________________________________________The Military Agreement Between Syria and Iran
Giancarlo Elia Valori
Israel Defense, July 19, 2020On July 8 last, Iranian Chief-of-Staff Mohammad Baqeri and Syrian Defence Minister Ali Abdullah Ayub signed an agreement in Damascus – defined as “comprehensive” – to strengthen military cooperation between the two countries.As they both said, this agreement strengthens military cooperation between Iran and Syria, especially in relation to the expected increase in U.S. pressure on the region. Furthermore, Iran will strengthen the Syrian air defence systems, in particular, as well as improve the training of troops and the armament currently available to the Syrian military.On July 1, Erdogan, Putin and Hassan Rouhani had met – by videoconference – within the so-called “Astana format” to regulate their relations within Syrian territory and to plan a future peace treaty with Syria, with the exclusion of the United States and other Western countries.Meanwhile, the Israeli Prime Minister has said: “We will not allow Iran to establish military presence in Syria”. It is an entirely natural choice, but we do not believe that – in a perspective of limited military confrontation between Israel and Iran – the United States would provide more than symbolic help to the Jewish State.
An important strategic fact is that this new agreement pushes the traditional relationship between Syria and Russia aside, both defensively and technologically and politically. Russia has already made its Pantsir and S-300 missiles operational on Syrian territory, but rumours are rife within the Syrian Armed Forces that these weapon systems have not deliberately been able to hit Israeli weapons and air raids in Jerusalem.
The issue is clear: Russia does not activate its S-300 missiles because it has no intention of hitting the Jewish State. Obviously, however, this is certainly not in the plans of Syria, which regards the air threat from Israel as an existential danger for the Syrian State. Iran’s role will be to hit Israel from Syrian territory or to penetrate the Israeli region with its own special forces.
Certainly, the sign of partial disengagement by Assad’s Syria from the Russian Federation is significant, although it does not appear to be decisive, considering that both Russia and Iran keep on supporting Syria. Nevertheless, it is an attempt at strategic “substitution” that could have long-term effects.
Furthermore, some Russian analysts note that – also in the hot phases of the war between Assad and the West-supported “rebels” – the presence of the Iranian troops was scarce, while many Shiite volunteers from various areas, Pasdaran and many military advisors were sent from Iran to Syria.
The Iranian presence in the Syrian war has never been massive but, certainly, it is still very important. Iran, in particular, has funded and trained the pro-Assad armed groups, but currently the Syrian President needs to stop – certainly without Russian qualms – the Israeli air attacks, which often hit areas where also the Iranian military operate.… [To read the full article, click the following LINK – Ed.]
Get Ready for a New Type of Israeli War
Jacob Nagel and Jonathan Schanzer
FDD, July 11, 2020
A string of credible reports suggest that Israel recently targeted Iranian forces and infrastructure in Syria. Reporters broadly describe these strikes as a continuation of the “War Between Wars,” a campaign whereby Israel erodes the capabilities of its enemies to forestall the next major conflict.
In a December interview shortly before he retired, Israel Defense Forces Chief of Staff Gadi Eizenkot revealed that Israel had destroyed thousands of military targets in Syria, taking credit for very few. Open-source reports suggest that Israeli strikes have continued apace since then. One high-ranking Israeli official, when asked for the exact number, responded:
The focus until now has been on when and where Israel strikes, and not what is being destroyed. But that is now changing.
The strike locations are not hard to determine. The majority are in Syria, which is in a state of chaos after years of civil war and now the coronavirus crisis. Iran continues to exploit this chaos by deploying personnel and weapons to the country, in an attempt to prepare for a conflict with Israel. This includes Iranian military brass and Shi’ite militias, but also advanced, lethal weapons. According to current Israel Defense Forces Chief of Staff Aviv Kochavi, the top concern (second only to Iran’s nuclear threat, which appears to have been targeted in recent days) is Iran’s provision of Precision Guided Missiles (PGMs).
Entire rockets, but sometimes just the components and technology to manufacture or convert “dumb rockets” into “smart missiles,” are transiting by way of a “land bridge” from Syria to Lebanon, where Hezbollah seeks to build a formidable PGM arsenal. The terrorist group’s leader, Hassan Nasrallah, is candid about this. Israel’s military strikes are an effort to prevent this arsenal from growing. Both Hezbollah and Israel have been careful to not spark another conflict, wary of an escalation that could have devastating effects. But as Israel has warned, if Hezbollah acquires enough PGMs to pose a strategic threat from Lebanese soil, or acquires the capabilities to produce them, there will be a devastating conflict.
The Iranian missile program started during the Iraq-Iran war (1980–1988), as Iranian forces and civilians came under fire from Iraqi missile salvos. Seeking similar capabilities, then-speaker of the Iranian Majlis Ali Akbar Hashemi Rafsanjani led efforts to obtain missiles from Libya, Syria, and North Korea.
In 1985, Iran procured its first Scud-Bs from Libya’s Muammar el-Qaddafi Muammar. Iran has developed additional capabilities with help from rogue states like China, Russia, North Korea, and Pakistan. China and Russia played an outsized role in helping Iran obtain missile engines, while North Korea provided Iran with whole ballistic missile systems. … [To read the full article, click the following LINK – Ed.]
Turkey, Israel And Iran Have Built Some Very Lethal Loitering Munitions
Forbes, July 19, 2020
In recent years, the armed forces of Turkey, Israel and Iran have produced an array of loitering munitions, often dubbed “suicide” or “kamikaze” drones, that could very soon revolutionize the way wars are fought in that extremely volatile part of the world.
The proliferation of armed drones in the Middle East over the past decade is alarming. A significant number of Chinese-made drones have been imported by the United Arab Emirates, Iraq, and Jordan and been used in combat.
On the other hand, Turkey, Israel and Iran design and manufacture their own drones and have made significant progress in developing ever more sophisticated ones.
One field these three countries have made significant progress in is the building of loitering munitions, drones that could very soon fundamentally change the way wars are fought in the region.
The Turkish military plans to buy 500 Kargu-2 loitering munitions. The 15-pound ‘multicopters’ are designed so they can operate in ‘swarms’ of 20 and attack their target, evade or penetrate its defenses and detonate their three-pound warheads.
The drones carry three different types of warheads, each designed to exert maximum damage on its specific target. The tiny unmanned aircraft can operate autonomously, meaning they can search for and destroy targets using computer algorithms rather than completely relying on their operator’s guidance.
When the drones acquire their targets, they can increase their speed up to 90 miles per hour (mph) on their final attack run.
The CEO of Defense Technologies and Trade Inc. (STM), which builds the Kargu-2, claimed that the tiny drones even have facial recognition technology, meaning they can seek out and identify individual human targets and then assassinate them.
Such technology would be useful for Turkey, which has been assassinating senior members of its Kurdistan Workers’ Party (PKK) adversary with targeted airstrikes over the past two years.
STM has stated that the drone “has been engineered specifically for anti-terror and asymmetric warfare scenarios.”
The use of the drones for swarm attacks could well give the Turkish military a new capability that one analyst described as “game-changing.”
Israel has also developed a similar drone called the FireFly, designed for use in close quarters urban fighting. The FireFly has a much smaller warhead compared to the Kargu-2, weighing a mere 400 grams. It will likely prove lethal against the opponents its designed to eliminate in support of its operators in combat, such as insurgents using sniper rifles or suppressing machine gun fire. When the FireFly locates its target, it can reach a top speed of over 40 mph on its attack run. The drones may soon be operated from infantry vehicles. … [To read the full article, click the following LINK – Ed.]
For Further Reference:
Military Intelligence Directorate Launches New, First-of-its-kind Drone Unit: Lilach Shoval and ILH Staff, Israel Hayom, June 25, 2020 — The IDF Military Intelligence Directorate last week inaugurated a new, first-of-its-kind drone unit responsible for gathering high-resolution intelligence.
Report: IDF Develops New Tech to Locate Suspected Terrorists in Real-Time: i24, July 1, 2020 — The Israeli army has developed an augmented reality mapping application to locate suspected terrorists in real-time, US publication Forbes reported Tuesday.
Israel Combines Special Forces into New Air Force Unit: Seth J. Frantzman, Defense News, July 17, 2020 –Israel is combining the capabilities of several elite units under one roof as part of its multiyear plan to prepare the military for future warfare.
Israeli Defence Companies Sign ‘Historic’ Deal With UAE Artificial Intelligence Firm: Middle East Eye, July 3, 2020 — Two Israeli defence behemoths have signed a landmark agreement with an Emirati tech firm specialising in artificial intelligence, in the latest sign of growing ties between their countries.
US–Israeli Cooperative Missile Defense Program funding included in Senate Defense Bill: Chris Galford, Homeland Preparedness News, July 6, 2020 — As the U.S. Senate considers the latest National Defense Authorization Act, U.S. Sen. Kirsten Gillibrand (D-NY) announced last week that $500 million had been added to benefit the U.S.–Israeli Cooperative Missile Defense Program.