Tag: military innovation

ISRAEL, AN INNOVATION POWERHOUSE, AIMS FOR HISTORIC MOON LANDING

Israeli Spacecraft Aims for Historic Moon Landing… Within Months: Stuart Winer & Shoshanna Solomon, Times of Israel, July 10, 2018— Save the date. On February 13, 2019, an Israeli-built unmanned spacecraft is expected to land on the moon…

A Match Made in Hi-Tech Heaven: Israel and South Korea: David Lee, The Media Line, July 5, 2018 — Israel and South Korea top the list of countries that spend the most on science and technology R&D.

IDF’s Cyber Defenders Prepare Their Responses for the ‘Unknown Threat’: Yaakov Lappin, JNS, July 4, 2018— The cyber defenders of the Israel Defense Forces are preparing to deal with future unknown threats that will not resemble the dangers known today, a senior cyber officer has told JNS.

Is Desalination the Answer?: David Brummer, Breaking Israel News, July 11, 2018— Over the last two decades, desalination has appeared to be the answer to Israel’s urgent potable water shortfall, but in reality it has produced damaging and problematic unintended consequences.

On Topic Links

Israeli Technology Providing Vital Communications Link to Cave-Trapped Thai Boys: Stuart Winer, Times of Israel, July 5, 2018

Israel’s Ladder to Space: Andy Blumenthal, Times of Israel, July 12, 2018

Israel70 | Innovation: Africa: Sivan Ya’ari, Fathom, July, 2018

8 Israeli Startups On World Economic Forum’s 2018 Technology Pioneers List: NoCamels, June 21, 2018

 

ISRAELI SPACECRAFT AIMS FOR HISTORIC

MOON LANDING… WITHIN MONTHS                                    

Stuart Winer & Shoshanna Solomon

Times of Israel, July 10, 2018

Save the date. On February 13, 2019, an Israeli-built unmanned spacecraft is expected to land on the moon, having blasted off from Earth two months earlier, project managers said at a news conference Tuesday. If all goes well, the SpaceIL spider-like craft will give Israel entry into the exclusive club of just three nations that have so far achieved a controlled landing on the moon’s surface.

The probe will be launched sometime in December from Cape Canaveral aboard a SpaceX Falcon 9 rocket, officials said during the media event, held at an Israel Aerospace Industries (IAI) space technology site in Yehud. It is scheduled to land on February 13, 2019. The project, begun seven years ago as part of a Google technology contest to land a small probe on the moon, was conducted together with IAI. “We will put the Israeli flag on the moon,” said Ido Anteby, CEO of SpaceIL.

“As soon as the spacecraft reaches the landing point it will be completely autonomous,” Anteby said. “The motor will brake the craft and it will reach the ground at zero speed for a soft landing.” “In the first stage the Israeli flag will be put on the moon,” he said. “During the landing the craft will photograph the landing area with stills and video and even record itself.”

The spacecraft will carry out a Weizmann Institute of Science experiment to measure the moon’s magnetic field, finishing its mission within two days. SpaceIL’s vehicle is just two meters in diameter and 1.5 meters tall standing on its four legs. It weighs 600 kilograms, making it the smallest craft to touchdown on the moon.

Israeli billionaire philanthropist and SpaceIL President Morris Kahn, who donated some $27 million to the project, told a gathering of journalists: “We are making history.” The idea, he said, is to inspire youth in Israel to take up science studies and to have the impact the Apollo lunar mission had in 1969, when astronauts landed on the moon, with people remembering forever where they were on that day. “This is a tremendous project,” Khan said. “When the rocket is launched into space, we will all remember where we were when Israel landed on the moon.”

The Israeli government has promised to fund 10% of the project, he said, but the money still has to come. “The government should recognize that space is very important for the future,” he said. “This is national history,” said IAI director Yossi Weiss. “The path to the moon is not easy. It is a very complicated route.” “The cooperation between SpaceIL and IAI is an example of the amazing abilities that can be reached in civil space activities — activities that combine education, technology, industry, knowledge and a lot of initiative.”

Whereas other previous moonshot spacecraft have taken just days to reach their target, SpaceIL will be fired into an elliptical orbit to gradually bring it closer to the moon, a journey that will take two months but will save on carrying the fuel needed for a quicker passage. Even so, the craft will travel at a speed that is 13 times faster than the maximal speed of an F-15 fighter jet, steering itself to the moon, which is some 384,000 kilometers (239,000 miles) from Earth, about 10 times the distance between Earth and communication satellites orbiting it. Through its elliptical journey, the Israeli spacecraft will cover some 9 million kilometers, the project managers said.

The Falcon 9 launch rocket’s primary load will be a much a larger communications satellite. The craft itself — the very same one that will land on the moon — was displayed in a so-called “clean room” on site. Journalists and visitors had to don white robes and hats and cover their shoes before accessing the space. Shiny gold insulating paper covered its spiderlike legs. The gold paper will cover the whole of the craft once it is finally ready, the creators said.

The spacecraft’s design and development is all Israeli, the organizers explained. The fuel is contained in balloon-like devices within the lightweight metal frame of the craft, with one engine at its center, and smaller engines on the side. The craft is equipped with solar panels, avionics, electronics and a control system – all of which were developed in Israel. It is also equipped with cameras and communication equipment so it can continuously be in touch with its operators on Earth.

The project is making “the moon reachable, which it never was before,” said IAI’s  Weiss at the event. “Going to the moon was a hugely expensive government-run mission. And this is going to be the first privately run mission to the moon.” This is the first time an enterprise, not a country, has gone to the moon at a reasonable cost, and it is “going to show the way for the rest of the world on how space is much more than just satellites.” Humanity is looking for ways to make it easier to get to the moon and other planets, he said, and this mission paves the way for that.

In the coming months the spacecraft will undergo a series of intensive checks and tests at IAI, including with the use of simulators, to prove that it will withstand the launch, flight and landing conditions, said SpaceIL’s Anteby at the event. In November the spacecraft will be sent to Cape Canaveral to ready it for the launch in December.

SpaceIL began in 2011 when engineers Yariv Bash, Kfir Damari and Yonatan Winetraub decided to compete in the Google Lunar XPRIZE, an international contest with a $20 million prize for the first privately funded team that puts a small, mobile craft on the moon. Although the Google contest was eventually scrapped in March 2018 after none of the teams managed to launch their probes before the deadline, the SpaceIL group kept going with its project, gaining funding from various donors including Kahn and the Adelson family. In total the project has cost some $95 million.

Only three countries have made soft landings of craft on the moon — Russia, the US, and China. The Russians were first in February 1966 with their Luna 9 probe followed by the US in June the same year with Surveyor 1, and then the Chinese with the Chang’e 3 craft in 2013. Other countries have succeeded in crashing scientific probes into the surface. Only the US has landed people on the moon, with the first human steps on the surface taken by Neil Armstrong on July 21, 1969, when he famously declared, “That’s one small step for man, one giant leap for mankind.”

 

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A MATCH MADE IN HI-TECH HEAVEN: ISRAEL AND SOUTH KOREA                                                         David Lee

                                                               The Media Line, July 5, 2018

 

Israel and South Korea top the list of countries that spend the most on science and technology R&D. Israel and South Korea have more in common than one would expect. Both are democratic countries that declared their independence in 1948 – the former gaining it only three months before the latter. Both countries also oversee some of the world’s most militarized borders.

They furthermore have strong economies supported by thriving hi-tech industries. According to data from the Organization for Economic Co-operation and Development (OECD), Israel and South Korea spend the same proportion of its GDP towards Research and Development (R&D) – 4.2 percent, the highest in the world.

For the past three to five years government ministries and companies around the world have been eyeing hi-tech’s steady march forward in the two countries, which have also not been shy about working together. Indeed, some would say it’s a match made in heaven. The Israel Innovation Authority reported that more than 140 joint Israeli-Korean technological innovation projects were launched in 2016 involving a total sum of $54 million. “Israel is the fourth-leading exporter [among Middle Eastern countries] to South Korea,” said Cho Kyung Jin, a senior manager at KOTRA, an agency that promotes South Korean trade and investment with other countries.

Cho’s office – a branch of KOTRA based in Tel Aviv – provides buyer and market information to companies in Israel and South Korea. “We observe the Israeli market for Korean companies so these companies can make appropriate adjustments to the local Israeli market,” Cho told The Media Line. He explained that the main Korean exports to Israel included automobiles, mobile phones, and household appliances. In fact, one of five cars sold in Israel is reportedly from Korea. Additionally, Korean mobile phone sales gained more than 50% of the Israeli market.

Korean companies, by contrast, were interested in about 3,500 Israeli venture groups in the areas of bio-tech, medical equipment, renewable energy and aerospace. Itzik Yona, the CEO of Yonaco, an Israeli consulting agency for businesses that are eyeing South Korea, told The Media Line that “Koreans cannot work without face-to-face interactions; the country has a very unique business culture.”

Yona got the idea of starting his own consulting firm when many Israeli businessmen came to him for help on how to navigate South Korea’s business culture. “For the last 15 years with Yonaco I’ve been negotiating transactions and promoting businesses in Korea. It started with Israeli companies wanting to do business and invest in South Korea. Now we have clients in Europe, Singapore and the United States,” said Yona.

He added that Israel was a powerhouse for innovation in medical devices, green technology, pharmaceuticals and robotics. Yet, Israelis face some setbacks after the innovation phase. “People in Israel are building companies to do one of two things: either to sell them or take them to an IPO [an initial public offering]. This means that after these companies reach a certain maturity and other interested parties step in, their technologies often exit Israel, the place where they originated.” He continued, “Koreans know how to take core technologies and make them into a product. The capabilities in South Korea are to design a product, execute quality control over the product and order the production chain in a very efficient way.”

While both countries have their strengths and weaknesses, Yona said they complement each other almost perfectly. “South Korea knows how to take core technologies and make products, while Israel knows how to make core technologies.” There are others avenues through which this type of joint cooperation runs. Korean conglomerates make investments in Israeli startups through venture companies. Another popular option for big names in South Korea, such as Samsung and LG, is to open up accelerators in Israel.

“Accelerators are [investment and support] initiatives that provide small companies with about $50,000 to examine their technology for six to eight months. They can screen technology and get closer to it,” explained Yona. Samsung Next and the LG R&D Center are examples of these accelerators which directly involve Israeli startups that want to work under the umbrella of tech-giants such as Samsung.

South Korea’s heavy investment in Israeli technology in the past few years may have been influenced by the aggressive investment strategies from its neighbors China and Japan towards the global market. Yet South Korea has a smaller stake of interests in Israel than do China, Japan and India. “While South Korea is not among the countries doing the most trade with Israel, I think this economic partnership will continue to grow exceptionally,” said Yona.

Sageworks, a company that provides financial analysis to hi-tech firms, reported that information-technology was the fastest-growing industry in the US. With businesses relying heavily on the fast pace of information exchange, it seems that this sector – which is dominant in both Israel and South Korea – will expand much more in the future. “Some industries in South Korea consider it a crucial strategy to trade in technology, consumer electronics, mobile technologies and networks. So, these Israeli companies will do business with South Korea for a long time to come,” said Yona…

[To Read the Full Article Click the Following Link—Ed.]

 

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IDF’S CYBER DEFENDERS PREPARE THEIR

RESPONSES FOR THE ‘UNKNOWN THREAT’

Yaakov Lappin

JNS, July 4, 2018

The cyber defenders of the Israel Defense Forces are preparing to deal with future unknown threats that will not resemble the dangers known today, a senior cyber officer has told JNS. Military assessments place cyber warfare on par with the potential damage that conventional weapons can incur. In some cases, cyberattacks can surpass the damage caused by known threats like missiles. A cyber arms race rages between Israel and its foes, parallel to the conventional arms race that is under way.

At a cybersecurity conference late last month in Tel Aviv, Israeli Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu spoke of the challenges Israel and all developed countries face from adversaries now bent on cyberattacks. “We cannot go back to the world of levers, pulleys and couriers. Since we are going forward, we are absolutely vulnerable,” he said. “Our airlines can be brought down; our fighter planes can be brought down.”

Netanyahu—who said that Israel receives about 20 percent of the global investment in the sector, and who noted Israel’s cybersecurity center in Beersheva that combines military, business and high-tech know-how—added that there is “no silver bullet” against cyber threats. “This is a supreme test for our civilization. It’s going to be tested not only by criminal organizations, by terrorists, but by other states. We have to combine forces,” said Netanyahu.

Sgt. 1st Class M, the head of the Cyber Department in the IDF’s Hoshen Unit, leads personnel that defend the military’s sensitive communications networks, without which the Israel Defense Forces could not function. Whether wireless, wired, or using satellites and phones, the Hoshen Unit is involved in enabling military communications, and its personnel are aware of the fact that Israel’s enemies are keen on being able to shut down the IDF’s networks if they could.

“One can naturally understand that the IDF has been marked as a priority [target],” M said. “We are the focus of enemies. So we must act all day and night proactively, to defend and track, and be able to intervene in case of an incident.” As part of that effort, the unit invests a great deal of thought into meeting threats that do not currently exist, he stated. “I can say that we are, all of the time, thinking about what will arrive tomorrow morning, about the non-trivial things. We use red teams [personnel that simulate the enemy] to attack ourselves, and we conduct surprise exercises on ourselves, at 2 a.m. on a summer night, when incidents come as a surprise. That is how we know what our defense levels are,” the officer said.

Last month, Hoshen’s Cyber Department organized a competition for all of the military’s cyber defenders to get them to think out of the box and prepare for tasks they are not used to carrying out. The “Capture the Flag” competition was hosted by Cisco Systems, an American networking hardware giant, at its offices in Netanya. Cisco works closely with the Hoshen Unit, as its association with the event symbolizes. “We took a whole day and brought personnel from across the whole of the military, split them up into groups and gave the participants cyber riddles with varying difficulty levels,” M said. “The goal was to win as many points as possible.”

The event included the participation of classified units, as well as cyber personnel from the Israeli Air Force and Navy. The goal was to get them to develop new abilities, M said. “Everyone has their forte—some are experts on the web, some do programming. Our goal was to take them out of their routine and expose them to things they don’t usually deal with on a day-to-day basis, so that they won’t be weak in those areas.” The event also took IDF engineers who don’t work directly in cyber warfare and gave them a crash course in the world of cyber defenses. “They came out of this on a higher level,” said M, “and that’s what matters.”

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IS DESALINATION THE ANSWER?

David Brummer

Breaking Israel News, July 11, 2018

Over the last two decades, desalination has appeared to be the answer to Israel’s urgent potable water shortfall, but in reality it has produced damaging and problematic unintended consequences. It is time to rethink Israel’s water strategy, especially in light of the April 2018 storms when millions of cubic meters of urban runoff simply flowed into the sea, rather than being redirected to replenish diminishing natural underground water reserves (aquifers). And beyond re-thinking the strategy, there are challenging questions about why Israel is proceeding with hugely expensive and energy-inefficient desalination rather than a proven cheaper and better alternative.

For at least the last five years, an acute lack of rainfall in drought conditions and an accelerating water deficit has been overtaxing Israel’s desalination and wastewater treatment plants. The received wisdom is that the only answer lies in the construction of more desalination plants, and indeed Israel’s Energy and Water Ministry has announced its intention to build two further such plants, which would be the sixth and seventh respectively – at a cost of approximately US$400 million each. Is this the most efficient and cost-effective response?

With the political and military temperature rising, and a standoff with Iran now teetering, investment in less targetable and more energy efficient water purification and storage sites would seem logical and appropriate. So why, when there is growing and significant evidence for more effective, cost-efficient and equitable solutions to the water crisis is there a myopic focus on the perceived impregnability of water desalination?

For Dr. Yaron Zinger, from the Center for Water Sensitive Cities in Israel (a unique platform, cooperating with Water Sensitive Cities Australia and headed by KKL-JNF, in collaboration with the Hebrew University, the Technion in Haifa and Ben-Gurion University), a number of pilot programs and field studies point to the efficacy and potential widespread implementation of biofiltration, which converts wasted urban runoff into a new secure water resource.

Biofiltration is the process of using selected plants and different soil densities to remove impurities from rain or storm water.  And it is an Australian model that provides the inspiration – Australia leads the world in biofiltration with thousands of bio-filtration systems in the city of Melbourne and many more in the city of Adelaide where hundreds of Dunams use biofiltration to create drinking water.

Zinger and Prof. Ana Deletic, a world-renowned academic and expert in water engineering, were part of a team that conducted a case study in Melbourne, and found that growing plants in certain areas and filtering rain and drainage runoff water through them, resulted in several positive outcomes: primarily, the treated water was cleaned, purified and stored; and secondarily, the ambient temperature surrounding biofiltration sites was reduced, and the vegetation and foliage at the sites enhanced the attractiveness to residents of nearby areas. A 2010 agreement between Water Sensitive Cities Australia and KKL-JNF to establish a joint Australia-Israel research center also led to examining broader questions about urban planning and use of water…

[To Read the Full Article Click the Following Link—Ed.]

 

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On Topic Links

Israeli Technology Providing Vital Communications Link to Cave-Trapped Thai Boys: Stuart Winer, Times of Israel, July 5, 2018—Rescuers working to save a Thai youth soccer team trapped deep inside a flooded cave are using an Israeli technology to maintain communication with the 12 boys and their coach.

Israel’s Ladder to Space: Andy Blumenthal, Times of Israel, July 12, 2018—Wow, what an unbelievable announcement in the last day that Israel is planning a lunar landing from aboard a SpaceX rocket taking off from Cape Canaveral towards the end of the year.

Israel70 | Innovation: Africa: Sivan Ya’ari, Fathom, July, 2018 —Israeli Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu has visited African three times in the last 18 months, with the continent increasingly being perceived as a strategic asset. BICOM CEO James Sorene spoke to Sivan Ya’ari the founder of Innovation: Africa, a New York based non-profit that brings Israeli solar, agricultural and water technologies to rural African villages.

8 Israeli Startups On World Economic Forum’s 2018 Technology Pioneers List: NoCamels, June 21, 2018—June 21, 2018 | Eight Israeli startups were on the World Economic Forum’s Technology Pioneers cohort of 2018 list, which was unveiled Thursday.

ISRAEL’S MILITARY POST-“ARAB FALL”: BEYOND ARROW AND IRON DOME, OFFENSIVE CAPACITY STRENGTHENED — IRAN A CONTINUING CONCERN, AND NAVY NOW FOCUSES ON GAS-FIELD DEFENCE

We welcome your comments to this and any other CIJR publication. Please address your response to:  Ber Lazarus, Publications Chairman, Canadian Institute for Jewish Research, PO Box 175, Station  H, Montreal QC H3G 2K7 – Tel: (514) 486-5544 – Fax:(514) 486-8284; E-mail:  ber@isranet.org

 

 

 Download an abbreviated version of today's Daily Briefing.

 

Israel Plans Military 'Revolution' to Face New Regional Threat: Jonathan Marcus, BBC, 12 July 2013—Israel's armed forces – the most powerful and best equipped in the Middle East – are changing. Older tanks and aircraft will be retired. Some 4,000 – maybe even more – professional career officers will be dismissed. A range of other changes over the next five years are intended to make the Israeli military leaner but more effective.

 

Threats to Israeli Aircraft over Iran: James Dunnigan, Strategy Page, July 27, 2013—Iranian military leaders were relieved at the recent election of the “moderate” Hassan Rowhani to replace Mahmoud Ahmadinejad as president. Rowhani is known to be a superb negotiator and someone you can reason with. Ahmadinejad was neither of those things and his constant and hysterical threats to Israel made war with Israel an ever increasing possibility.

 

IDF’s Druze Battalion Tests New Techniques for Fighting Hezbollah: IDF Blog, July 4, 2013—The battalion developed techniques for fighting Hezbollah, based on years of experience operating in Israel’s northern border region; the new methods were tested in a battalion-wide exercise last week.

 

Israeli Technology Turns Air Into Drinking Water for Troops: NoCamels, Feb. 28, 2012—Military troops around the world, no matter where they are instated, know that even with the best training, personnel and arms, they cannot survive battle if they are lacking one vital thing: water. Among the concerns of military heads is  to ensure water sources are always available, even in the most arid of places.

 

On Topic Links

 

The Evolution of Israeli Military Strategy: Asymmetry, Vulnerability, Pre-emption and Deterrence: Gerald M. Steinberg, Jewish Virtual Library, October 2011

IAF's Flying Camel Squadron: Drones not Always Best: Linda Gradstein, Jerusalem Post, July 19, 2013

IDF Ground Forces Launch Groundbreaking Battle Lab: Yael Zahavi, IDF, Jan 17, 2013

Israel’s Military-Entrepreneurial Complex Owns Big Data: Matthew Kalman, MIT Technology Review, July 11, 2013

Gaza Crossing Weekly Report: COGAT/Israel Ministry of Defence, July 20, 2013

Israel’s Skylark Spy Plane: Ultimate Weapons-Robotics. Discovery Channel. Video

Inside an Israeli Defense Lab: Popular Mechanics.

 

 

ISRAEL PLANS MILITARY 'REVOLUTION'
TO FACE NEW REGIONAL THREAT

Jonathan Marcus

BBC, 12 July 2013

 

Israel's armed forces – the most powerful and best equipped in the Middle East – are changing. Older tanks and aircraft will be retired. Some 4,000 – maybe even more – professional career officers will be dismissed. A range of other changes over the next five years are intended to make the Israeli military leaner but more effective. Elements of the plans were set out by the Israel Defense Forces' Chief of Staff, Benny Gantz, earlier this week. Once implemented, they promise what some analysts have described as "a revolution" in Israel's military affairs.

 

In part, of course, this is all about money. The defence budget in Israel is under growing pressure – social protest has erupted on Israel's streets too. Significant cuts have to be made. This is one reason why units equipped with older tanks like derivatives of the US M60 will be disbanded, as well as some Air Force units with older aircraft that are much more expensive to maintain. Streamlining the career military may also save funds in the long run.

 

But what is really going on here owes less to budgetary pressures and more to the dramatic changes that are under way in the strategic geography of the region around Israel.

 

The Arab world is living through an upheaval that shows no sign of ending. The big military players like Egypt, Syria and Iraq are either facing political uncertainty, full-scale civil war, or have been exhausted by invasion and more than a decade of bitter internal violence.

 

The Israeli military's five-year plan has been postponed over recent years – partly due to the budgetary uncertainty and partly due to the dramatic changes sweeping across the region. As retired Brig Gen Michael Herzog, a former head of IDF Strategic Planning, told me: "The prospect of a conventional war breaking out between the IDF and a traditionally organised Arab army is now much less than in the past. However, the risk from non-state actors, of asymmetric warfare, and greater unrest along Israel's borders (with the exception perhaps of Jordan) is increasing and it is these threats that the Israeli military has to plan for."

 

So what will change ? Gen Herzog says there will probably be fewer tanks, but this goes much further than simply changing the IDF's order of battle. There will be a much greater emphasis upon intelligence and cyber-warfare. Given the instability in Syria, there will be a new territorial division covering the Golan front. There will be significant investment in the capacity to strike deep into enemy territory and to improve the co-ordination between air and ground forces.

 

There will be an even greater emphasis upon speed and the deployment of weapons that can strike targets rapidly and with great accuracy. The use of the Tamuz system, a highly accurate guided missile, during recent months against sporadic fire coming from Syrian positions is a pointer to the types of weaponry that will be more important in the future. Tamuz is actually a relatively old system, recently declassified, but its successors will play an important part in Israel's new order of battle.

 

"The Israeli military concept has always been to shorten the duration of any conflict, but this has become more important than ever before because of the growing missile arsenals of groups like the Lebanese Shia movement Hezbollah, which means the Israeli home-front is under threat like never before," Gen Herzog told me.

 

Israel already deploys a variety of defensive measures like the Arrow and Iron Dome anti-missile systems, but improving its offensive capability is seen as the key to managing the tempo and duration of any future conflict. By and large, Gen Herzog welcomes the new military plan. However, he says that "there are of course risks during any period of transition".

 

Budget constraints mean that in the short-term training is being cut back. This, he notes, "is the easiest way to save money in the short term". He points to the IDF's problems in Lebanon in 2006 as an example of an army that had spent too little time training for large-scale manoeuvre warfare. "Training is definitely down this year, but is set to rise in future years," he says, adding: "This is a risk albeit a calculated one."  Nonetheless, the assessment among the Israeli High Command is that this risk is bearable, given the disarray afflicting its Arab neighbours.

 

In Egypt, the peace treaty with Israel may not be popular but the Egyptian army is wedded to it, not least as the ticket that opens the way to large-scale US military aid.

Israeli soldier during military drill Budgetary constraints mean that military training will be cut back in the short-term Iraq is no longer a serious military player. Syria is in crisis and the regime's future remains in doubt. Instability and uncertainty characterise Israel's strategic environment with the risk of rapid escalation that could see conflicts on a number of fronts.

 

Many military analysts accept that reform is justified. Perhaps the greatest risk is that the government will not make good on future defence spending pledges and this ambitious programme could just look like retrenchment. Of course the Iranian nuclear challenge remains a potential threat, against which Israeli Air Force planners in particular are building up their capabilities.

 

New missions, too, are fast emerging, not least for the Israeli Navy which must now protect gas field installations off-shore which promise to make the country self-reliant in energy terms for a considerable period.

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THREATS TO ISRAELI AIRCRAFT OVER IRAN

James Dunnigan

Strategy Page, July 27, 2013

 

Iranian military leaders were relieved at the recent election of the “moderate” Hassan Rowhani to replace Mahmoud Ahmadinejad as president. Rowhani is known to be a superb negotiator and someone you can reason with. Ahmadinejad was neither of those things and his constant and hysterical threats to Israel made war with Israel an ever increasing possibility. This was made worse by the growing threat of Iran developing nuclear weapons. Ahmadinejad also liked to boast of how well prepared Iran was to kick Israeli ass if it ever came to a fight. Iranian military leaders cringed at this because they knew that the military power Ahmadinejad was boasting of was largely an illusion.

 

The constant stream of boastful press releases put out by the Iranian military were for building domestic morale, not to describe any real improvements in Iranian military capabilities. The Israeli’s knew this, as did Ahmadinejad (well, he was told) but the numerous threats against Israel caused the Israelis to threaten right back. The problem was that Israel was much more capable to attacking Iran than Iran was in defending itself.

While Israel has a huge stockpile of fuel, ammo, and other supplies for wartime (about 30 days’ worth), Iran has very little. While Iran pumps a lot of oil, it doesn’t have the refineries to produce much aircraft grade fuel. Iran has few smart bombs, missiles, and, well, not much of anything compared to Israel.

 

Israel can put over 500 aircraft (mostly F-15s and F-16s) a day (as in sorties) over Iran. That’s in addition to more than twice as many for any short range threat. Israel has over 25,000 smart bombs and missiles (not counting smaller missiles like Hellfire). Within a few days this Israeli air power could destroy what little Iran has in the way of major weapons systems (armoured vehicles, aircraft, warships, and weapons research and manufacturing facilities). Worse, the earlier claims of Iranian military strength would not only be exposed as false but greatly diminished from what they actually were before the Israelis came by. Iranian military leaders did not want this to happen, although the senior clerics of the religious dictatorship that rules Iran saw a positive angle to an Israeli attack; it would rally all Iranians behind the generally disliked government.

 

The Iranian problem is that three decades of sanctions has made it impossible to replace obsolete and worn out gear or even maintain the elderly systems they have to rely on. Thus, the best defences (anti-aircraft missiles and jet fighters) against an Israeli attack are largely absent. What is available is ancient and probably ineffective against Israeli SEAD (Suppression of Enemy Air Defences) capabilities.

 

For example, Iran has been having increasing problems keeping its 1970s era F-5s flying. The ones that are still flying tend to crash a lot, or not be available for use because of maintenance problems (including spare parts shortages). Spare parts for all U.S. aircraft Iran still uses have been hard to come by. Iran has managed, sort of. Nevertheless, the Iranian Air Force is largely a fraud. It has lots of aircraft that, for the most part, sit there but can't fly because of age and lack of replacement parts. Those that can fly would likely provide target practice for Israeli fighters.

 

The Iranian Air Force is still recovering from the effects of the 1979 revolution (which led to an embargo on spare parts and new aircraft). Despite that, many Iranian warplanes remain flyable but only for short periods. The main reason for even that is an extensive smuggling operation that obtains spare parts. Two of their aircraft, the U.S. F-4D and F-5E Tiger, were widely used around the world. Somewhere, someone had parts for these planes that Iran could buy. There are still about 40 of each in service, with less than half of them flyable at any time.

 

This was less the case with Iran's most expensive warplane, the U.S. F-14 Tomcat. Iran was the only export customer of this aircraft. Some F-14s have been kept flyable, despite the rumored sabotage of Iran's AIM-54 Phoenix missiles by U.S. technicians, as they were leaving. To demonstrate this, they sent 25 F-14s on a fly-over of Tehran in 1985. Today, Iran has about 20 F-14s, with less than half of them flyable.

 

Iran has sought to buy new foreign aircraft. In the 1990s, with the end of the Cold War and the collapse of the Soviet Union, they sought to buy from Russia. Despite the low prices, a combination of Western pressure (to not sell) and the lack of Iranian money for high-ticket items, not that many aircraft were obtained. One unforeseen opportunity was the 1991 Gulf War. Many Iraqi aircraft (most of them Russian-built) fled to Iran to avoid American attack. The Iranians never returned them. Iran ended up with up to 60 MiG-29s. There were also 18 Su-24s, a force that was expanded by more purchases from Russia. Black market spare parts have been available, but the MiG-29 is a notoriously difficult aircraft to maintain, even when you have all the parts you need.

 

Iran currently has about two hundred fighters and fighter bombers, but only about half can be put into action and then usually for only one sortie a day. The chronic shortage of spare parts limits the number of hours the aircraft can be flown. This means pilots lack good flying skills. The poor maintenance and untrained pilots leads to more accidents.

 

Iran is similarly ill-prepared when it comes to ground based anti-aircraft defence. Iran has managed to keep operational some of the American Hawk anti-aircraft missile systems it bought in the 1970s. But these are not very capable these days and the Israelis know all about the Hawk system. Iran has had limited success in buying new systems from Russia and China and, in general, is as ill-prepared as it is in the air to oppose an Israeli attack.

 

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IDF’S DRUZE BATTALION TESTS
NEW TECHNIQUES FOR FIGHTING HEZBOLLAH

IDF Blog, July 4, 2013

 

The IDF’s Herev Battalion, made up of members of Israel’s Druze community, has gained many years of experience performing unique missions near the Israel-Lebanon border. In the 2006 Second Lebanon War, for instance, Herev was the first force to cross the border and the last to return – exhausted from completing a range of complex missions that earned the unit a citation.

 

The Herev Battalion, referred to as the IDF’s “spearhead on the Lebanon border”, used its wealth of operational experience in the region to develop new combat techniques for fighting against Hezbollah. These new techniques were tested last week for the first time in an intensive battalion-wide exercise. “Combat in Lebanon demands the use of heavy armor and the slow advancement of troops,” explained Lt. Col. Shadi Abu Fares, commander of the Herev Battalion. He went on to explain that fighting Hezbollah requires a specific method of combat, which includes the intensive use of firepower.

 

 “In order to fight against the enemy in Lebanon in the most correct manner, we took the techniques that exist today in the IDF for fighting in open areas, and we made the necessary adjustments. With the help of the battalion’s experience, and combined with an understanding of what to expect next time, we managed to develop a better and more efficient method,” he said.

 

As part of the conclusions drawn from the exercise, a special document was drafted to present the techniques, which will be sent to officers throughout the IDF in order to assist in building a new combat doctrine for fighting against terror organizations. “The Herev Battalion must teach the entire IDF how to fight effectively against Hezbollah,” said Col. Zion Ratzon, commander of the regional brigade to which the Herev Battalion is subordinate.

 

“There are additional adjustments to be made, but the technique proved itself during the exercise. We can already see how the fighters are now speaking a new language and that there is confidence in the methods that we tested,” Lt. Col. Abu Fares said.

 

The new combat techniques were put to the test in the Herev Battalion’s most recent exercise, which took place last week and consisted of three days of non-stop fighting in the Upper Galilee and Golan Heights. The exercise simulated the battalion’s role during combat while functioning as part of a full brigade, in order to train the commanders to cooperate with other forces.

 

The troops were accompanied by a tank platoon on their journey through the hilly terrain, while combat engineering teams cleared paths through the thick scrub and artillery forces provided suppressive fire that shook the northern Golan Heights. The goal of the method: provide so much fire that “the enemy cannot lift its head.”

 

The exercise simulated as closely as possible full-fledged combat in Lebanon, requiring the troops to deal with enemy rocket fire falling on their staging areas, sudden changes in mission plans and evacuating casualties in armored personnel carriers (APCs). “It was a drill against Hezbollah in every respect,” Lt. Col. Abu Faris said. “Following [the exercise], I can say with certainty that the Herev Battalion is ready for anything.”

 

A senior officer in the sector explained last week that Hezbollah’s actions in southern Lebanon are becoming more and more aggressive. Israeli forces stationed on the border observe well how Hezbollah agents work around the clock in the villages of southern Lebanon to gather intelligence on the IDF. The Herev Battalion, whose soldiers’ families live in northern Israel and are likely to be the first to suffer from a Hezbollah attack, continues to prepare for the “day after” on the sensitive Lebanese border.

 

“Changes in the region obligate us to be ready for war,” the regional brigade commander said at the end of the exercise. “For every eventuality that will be needed, with the Herev Battalion I feel more confident than any other battalion.”

 

Contents

 

 

ISRAELI TECHNOLOGY TURNS
AIR INTO DRINKING WATER FOR TROOPS

NoCamels, Feb. 28, 2012

 

Military troops around the world, no matter where they are instated, know that even with the best training, personnel and arms, they cannot survive battle if they are lacking one vital thing: water.

Among the concerns of military heads is  to ensure water sources are always available, even in the most arid of places.

 

One Israeli company took up the challenge to ensure water can be readily available, anywhere and at any time, by extracting it from the most common of things: air. Water-Gen, based in Rishon LeZion, Israel, specializes in water generation and water treatment technologies integrated with tactical military vehicles and ground units. Their technology extracts water from the ambient air humidity, and turns it into drinking water.

 

Initially, the system filters the air so that water can be extracted and accommodated in containers. Then, it is cooled and purified into drinking water. This water can be served from a tap within the system or inside the cabin. Chairmen and co-CEO, Arye Kohavi, says that “water transportation is one of the most common reasons for the departure of convoys across Afghanistan. These convoys are attacked and have casualties.” He adds that “if we can produce the water at the exact point where it is consumed, we spare the need to transport water and reduce the risk and expenses.”

 

According to the Water-Gen, the device, which can be fitted onto vehicles, produces 10-20 gallons (40-80 liters) of pure drinking water a day, even in harsh weather and field conditions. The system, which is operated by solar or electric energy, is designed to meet military needs and standards, the company adds.

 

The company has wide-scale pending patents for the systems and technology. In 2011, it completed a three-week experiment with US Army ground units (Army Expeditionary Warrior Experiment), in which its systems provided the soldiers drinking water throughout the drills.

 

Eventually, Water-Gen hopes the technology can be implemented not just in the military, but in water-scarce regions around the world too. The United States, India, The UK, Spain and the UN Refugee Agency (UNHCR) have already shown interest in the company’s products.

 

Contents
 

The Evolution of Israeli Military Strategy: Asymmetry, Vulnerability, Pre-emption and Deterrence: Gerald M. Steinberg, Jewish Virtual Library, October 2011—When the nascent Israeli leadership met on May 14, 1948, in Tel Aviv to declare independence, the country was already being attacked by neighboring Arab armies. Israel overcame these hurdles in 1948 and in subsequent military confrontations, yet despite the development of formidable military capabilities, the inherent asymmetries and existential threats to the Jewish nation-state remain.

 

IAF's Flying Camel Squadron: Drones not Always Best: Linda Gradstein, Jerusalem Post, July 19, 2013—While more and more armies around the world are using unmanned aerial vehicles (UAVs), or drones, for intelligence gathering, Israel, itself a leader in drone technology and a leading source of UAVs to other countries, continues to use manned aircraft for many of its missions.

 

IDF Ground Forces Launch Groundbreaking Battle Lab: Yael Zahavi, IDF, Jan 17, 2013—The IDF Ground Forces Command has unveiled a state-of-the-art battle laboratory integrating the latest simulation technology to create life-like operational scenarios. By accurately representing enemy figures, weapons and territory, the new system – which was unveiled last month – allows for the simulation of company-sized operations without the danger of a live-fire exercise.

 

Israel’s Military-Entrepreneurial Complex Owns Big Data: Matthew Kalman, MIT Technology Review, July 11, 2013—Two years ago, a half-dozen programmers and entrepreneurs started working together in a Tel Aviv basement to create one of Israel’s 5,000 high-tech companies. It was a stealth company, but these 20-somethings were used to secrecy. Most had served together in the same military intelligence unit of the Israel Defense Forces.

 

Gaza Crossing Weekly Report: COGAT/Israel Ministry of Defence, July 20, 2013. pdf—The Coordinator of Government Activities in the Territories (COGAT) and the Ministry of Defence are responsible for traffic through the two Israeli crossings into Gaza. In a weekly report they itemize what has been let in or out of Gaza. Some interesting numbers.

 

Israel’s Skylark Spy Plane: Ultimate Weapons-Robotics. Discovery Channel. (Video)—A series of short videos documenting a few of Israel’s military innovations now in use.

 

Inside an Israeli Defense Lab: Rachel Nuwer, Popular Mechanics, Mar. 2013—A series of slides showing new developments in Israel’s defence labs. 

 

 

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