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[*] posted on 20-4-2018 at 11:57 AM


Israel pulls F-15s from US exercise amid border tensions

19 April, 2018 SOURCE: FlightGlobal.com BY: Arie Egozi Tel Aviv

Israel has cancelled the planned participation of its Boeing F-15 strike aircraft at a Red Flag Alaska-series exercise in the USA next month, after air force commanders decided that all its frontline fighters should remain at their bases to meet potential hostilities.

"The air force's participation in the Red Flag exercise in Alaska will take place as planned during May, [but] in light of the updated situation assessment, it was decided to adjust the participation of the aircraft in the exercise," the Israeli military says. "Other squadrons will participate, including Boeing 707 tankers," it adds.

Air force squadrons remain on high alert following a reported Israeli strike mounted against Iranian personnel at a Syrian air force base in mid-April. The action is believed to have been taken in response to an attempt to fly a UAV into northern Israel on 10 February. The Israeli military alleges that the aircraft – an Iranian copy of a stealthy Lockheed Martin RQ-170 Sentinel – was armed with explosives and was intended to strike an Israeli village.

An Israeli air force Boeing AH-64 Apache attack helicopter shot the UAV down, while one of the service's Lockheed F-16 combat aircraft was downed by a surface-to-air missile during an ensuing border clash.
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[*] posted on 24-4-2018 at 01:58 PM


Israeli Firms Scramble As Trump Administration Restricts Military Aid

By Arie Egozi

on April 20, 2018 at 4:00 AM

After years of subsidizing the Israeli defense industry, the US is now insisting Tel Aviv spend all the military aid it gets from America on American companies. The Israeli government and hundreds of Israeli companies are scrambling to adjust, with one estimate predicting 20,000 layoffs.

In the past, when the US provided Israeli with grants under the Foreign Military Funds program, Israel could convert 25 percent of the aid from dollars into shekels to buy Israeli products and support local R&D. But under the new 10-year FMF agreement signed in 2017, that percentage will gradually drop over time to zero.

Under the new agreement signed in September 2016, the US will pay Israel $34 billion over the decade from 2019 to 2028 — but eventually all FMF funds will have to be used for the purchase of US-made systems.

Retired Maj. Gen. Gadi Shamni, executive Vice President of land systems at Israeli Aerospace Industries (IAI), headed the special commission that was formed to prepare the needed changes. In an interview with Breaking Defense, he said that the Israeli defense forces will get approximately 5 billion Israeli shekels (about $1.4 billion) less each year when agreement is fully implemented.

“That may cause small companies to collapse or get into big problems,” Shamni said. “We will need to transfer some of the production to the U.S and that can be done with our American subsidiaries. But the real solution is in the hands of the Israeli government, which will have to increase the defense budget. Without that, I’m afraid , companies will get into problems but the greater risk is that less will be put into R&D. If that happens, in some years we will lose our technological edge.”

“There will be no choice but to increase the defense budget so that it will be possible to hold the procurement from Israeli companies in the current format,” a senior government source agreed.


Urban Aero “Air Mule” drone

Seeking Solutions

A few weeks ago, Israel’s industrial organizations sent a letter demanding that the Ministries of Defense, Finance, and Economics & Industry urgently establish an inter-ministerial team to decide how to deal with the decreased ability to purchase locally made systems with US funds.

Even before the new FMF agreement, Israelis were often unhappy with the strings placed on how they could spend US aid — strings that have been pulled tighter in recent years. This is an issue that companies are not happy to discuss openly, but they do behind closed doors.

“You make the best systems for combat missions, but still you are forced to buy them elsewhere” a top figure in one of the leading Israeli defense firms told Breaking Defense. The Israeli industry develops and manufactures more and more advanced systems that are being exported but which their natural customers, the Israel Defense Force, can’t always buy.

When the Israeli Air Force updated its (American-made) F-15I fighters, for example, it chose radars from America’s Raytheon over equally advanced electronics from IAI. And in areas such as drones, US companies are now competing on tenders that previously were considered only marginally profitable. “Now we find American companies in almost every competition,” a source in the ministry of defense said.

The Israeli defense industry isn’t waiting on government to take action, with many companies already taking steps to cope with the FMF restrictions. At IAI, for example, “we are reorganizing our activities in the U.S to be ready for the changes in the market,” said Joseph Weiss, president and CEO. The Israeli company currently operates in the US through local companies: IAI North America, Stark Aerospace, and ELTA US.

“We are in the process of building a new strategy for our operations in the US,” said Weiss. ” It will be based on proxy companies that will have U.S boards and will act separately from our other activities.

IAI is now evaluating some opportunities to purchase local American companies that will serve as proxies that will allow IAI to increase its sales in the U.S market, Weiss said: “The size of our American market is now about $850 million annually and we think we can increase it.”

Elbit Systems has been operating in the U.S through its subsidiaries ELBIT Systems North America and EFW. As a public company — Israel’s largest — Elbit was more active and more assertive than the state-owned companies, establishing a big presence in the U.S even before the new FMF agreement was planned. Recently ELBIT Systems announced that it completed the acquisition of a privately-owned American company, Universal Avionics Systems Corporation, for approximately $120 million.

State-owned Rafael Advanced Defense Systems is also getting ready for the new rules. The company’s CEO, retired Maj. Gen. Yoav Har-Even, told Breaking Defense that the company is preparing for the new FMF regulations. That includes expanding its current Orlando-based company CATS, which has been successfully operating in accordance with existing procurement requirements, as well as evaluating similar additional partnerships.

Military aid to Israel has long been controversial in the US, to the point of entering pop culture by being satirized in The Onion more than once. The new restrictions will definitely make life harder for Israeli firms at home — but they might find new opportunities in America.
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[*] posted on 24-4-2018 at 03:39 PM


How dare the US insist that US taxpayers funds for Israel's defence be spent in the US buying US defence products instead of propping up companies that compete against US made products.

Damn you Trump!




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[*] posted on 24-4-2018 at 03:50 PM
Obama


" new agreement signed in September 2016" thus one of the last acts of Obama so amazing Trump has not rescinded. (not that it is wrong....)
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[*] posted on 24-4-2018 at 03:53 PM


Actually, a lot of them are not US weapons per se, they are Israeli developments albeit some totally or partially funded by the USA...............Missile Defence is a classic example............ARROW 1, 2 & 3 are partially US funded, only Israel produces ARROW as it stands...........as is David's Sling, which is also Joint Development, and partially funded by, RAYTHEON in the USA..................Iron Dome was predominantly an Israeli development and funded by them.

NAMER APC/IFV is built in the USA by General Dynamics Land Systems at the Joint Systems Manufacturing Center in Lima, Ohio. Order numbers seem difficult to pin down though.............TROPHY and other Israeli systems tend to get installed on arrival.

The new EITAN wheeled, 8x8 AFV is a potential candidate to be built in the same facility?
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[*] posted on 2-5-2018 at 04:11 PM


Netanyahu and Iran’s Atomic Archive: What’s New and What’s Not

By Joshua Pollack
Editor, Nonproliferation Review

May 1, 2018


AP / Sebastian Scheiner

Among the new bits: Tehran's nuclear planners envisioned an arsenal so small as to make Kim Jong Un giggle.

Israeli Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu is nothing if not a showman. No world leader makes more effective use of props and visual aids, from the literal red line he drew on a cartoon bomb diagram at the United Nations in 2012 to the fragment of an Iranian drone he brandished at the Munich Security Conference this February. Few are so comfortable delivering public remarks in English, never mind someone who is not even a native speaker. Love him or hate him, the man has talent.

But speaking on Monday in a televised address from the Kirya—Israel’s Ministry of Defense—Bibi outdid himself. “Tonight,” he declared, “we’re going to show you something that the world has never seen before.” Striding across a stage, he revealed a collection of papers and CD-ROMs, representing a cache of documents recently snatched out of Iran by Israeli intelligence.

The Prime Minister then proceeded to walk his audience through the contents of what he called Iran’s “atomic archive.” Using a slideshow to make the case that “Iran lied” about never having pursued nuclear weapons, he appealed to President Trump to “do the right thing” about the “terrible deal” concluded with Iran in 2015 to constrain its nuclear program.

As Bibi knows, Trump must decide this May 12 whether to continue to waive sanctions against Iran, in keeping with the terms of the Joint Comprehensive Plan of Action, or “Iran deal.”

Failing to renew the waivers would effectively withdraw United States from the agreement, with unpredictable consequences.

Show, don’t tell

We can be sure that the President, well-known to be a visual learner, appreciated Bibi’s style of presentation. Unfortunately, Netanyahu showed very little that we haven’t already been told.

Indeed, if the “atomic archive” holds nothing more damning than the contents of Monday’s presentation, then it should increase our confidence that Iran’s weaponization work remains on ice. Nearly every point in his presentation corresponded to intelligence findings made public years ago, first in the “Key Judgments” of a 2007 U.S. National Intelligence Estimate, and later in a detailed annex to a 2011 report by the International Atomic Energy Agency, or IAEA, with the delicate title, “Possible Military Dimensions to Iran’s Nuclear Programme.”

“This is an original Iranian spreadsheet from the archives of Project Amad,” said Netanyahu, referring to Iran’s weapon-design project, which was suspended in the fall of 2003 and hidden away. “Look at what we have here. Yellowcake [uranium] production, centrifuge enrichment process, warhead project, simulation project, and [nuclear] test. And indeed, when we analyzed what’s in these archives, we found that Project Amad had the all the five elements, the five key elements, of a nuclear weapons program. I want to take them one by one.”

And so he did, showing off interesting images and videos corresponding to each point. But in most respects, the 2011 IAEA report was even more detailed. It named and described the “AMAD Plan,” including documents on the chemical processing and enrichment of uranium, the development of a warhead design, modeling and simulation, studies to prepare for nuclear testing, and other areas besides—every point Bibi discussed, and quite a bit more. Much of the annex was derived from “the alleged studies,” a collection of intelligence gathered in 2005.

Did Iranian officials lie about the country’s past efforts to develop nuclear weapons, as Bibi maintains? You bet. Did we need his presentation to reach that conclusion? Absolutely not.

Still the best deal in town

It may seem curious, but Iran’s ability to develop nuclear weapons, and its past attempt to do so, are precisely why the United States, France, Britain, Germany, Russia, and China struck a bargain with Iran. What Iran had been up to was only too well understood. So if Iran’s leaders wanted relief from sanctions, they would have to accept unusually strict limits and monitoring on their civilian nuclear program. That’s the essence of the deal that Netanyahu and Trump both loathe so much.

Contrary to claims that the deal required Iran to “come clean” and be truthful about its past weapons research, it required only that Iran implement an agreement with the IAEA, facilitating its investigation into Iran’s past activities—which is what happened.

Everyone involved understood that Iran’s leaders were lying to save face. After more than a decade of denials, they would not undergo the humiliation of a public admission to the contrary.

It’s absurd to imagine otherwise.

To some, Iran’s regime is so pernicious that keeping the strongest possible sanctions going for as long as possible may seem more important than convincing Tehran not to indulge its nuclear ambitions. But this argument is rarely voiced openly, and is doubtful on the merits. Every other threat that Iran poses—terrorism, subversion, and missile proliferation—would only be abetted by its possession of nuclear weapons.

The unambitious arsenal

Perhaps only by accident, Bibi Netanyahu did place some fascinating new bits of information on the public record.

Showing images of documents without visible dates, he described the AMAD Plan’s vision for a nuclear arsenal. It was to have consisted of five nuclear devices suitable for ballistic missile delivery. Each was to have a yield of 10 kilotons, small by nuclear standards.

This is a remarkably miniscule, unambitious arsenal. It would make Kim Jong Un giggle. Only one country is known to have created anything like it: South Africa, which built a handful of very basic nuclear weapons in the 1980s, and then decided to dismantle them. Only later, after the end of Apartheid, did the new government reveal the story. According to a South African nuclear official, Waldo Stumpf, the idea was to keep the bombs secret; only if the country were threatened with invasion would it hint at its capability, or conduct a nuclear test to reveal it.

Did a similar idea motivate Iran’s AMAD Plan? We don’t know.

Not enough information has entered the public record. But it is worth asking whether this project amounted to a crash program to create a secret, fairly rudimentary nuclear capability, only to be revealed in an emergency.

According to the 2011 IAEA report, the AMAD Plan was not organized until some point in the late 1990s or early 2000s; most of its work appears to have been conducted “during 2002 and 2003.”

It was also in January 2002 that President George W. Bush’s delivered his famous “Axis of Evil” speech, lumping Iran in with Iraq and North Korea as mortal threats to the “peace of the world.” It would be a twist worthy of O. Henry if that speech, pointing to the threat of weapons of mass destruction, convinced the Iranian regime to reach for nuclear weapons as quickly as it could. If an appropriately sanitized version of the “atomic archive” ever becomes public, perhaps it will be possible to reach firmer conclusions.
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[*] posted on 11-5-2018 at 09:23 AM


Iranian rocket fire into Israel indicates strengthening of hardliners and increases likelihood of war involving Hizbullah

Columb Strack and Jack Kennedy - IHS Jane's Country Risk Daily Report

10 May 2018

Event

Iran’s Islamic Revolution Guards Corps (IRGC) launched 20 rockets from Syria at Israeli positions in the Golan Heights on 10 May 2018.

Four of the rockets were intercepted by Israel’s missile defence shield, and 16 fell in Syrian territory, according to Israeli officials. No casualties were reported.

Israel responded with the most extensive airstrikes in Syria since the Yom Kippur War in 1974. Israeli Defence Minister Avigdor Lieberman stated that Israel had struck “all Iranian infrastructure in Syria” (around 50 targets), but stressed that this was not the beginning of a larger military operation, a claim IHS Markit assesses to be credible.

(127 of 414 words)
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[*] posted on 11-5-2018 at 09:28 AM


Israeli strikes used 28 planes, 70 missiles: Russia

10th May 2018 - 13:45 GMT | by ​Agence France-Presse in Moscow

Israel's strikes on Syria saw 28 planes take part in raids with a total of around 70 missiles fired, the Russian Ministry of Defence (MoD) said on 10 May.

The MoD said in a statement: ‘28 Israeli F-15 and F-16 aircraft were used in the attack, which released around 60 air-to-ground missiles over various parts of Syria. Israel also fired more than 10 tactical ground-to-ground missiles.’

Russia said Syria's air defence systems shot down more than half of the missiles, while the extent of the damage was still being assessed.

The MoD said: ‘The locations of Iranian armed groups and also the positions of the Syrian army's air defences in the area around Damascus and in the south of Syria were attacked.’
Israel carried out the raids after it said around 20 rockets were fired from Syria at its forces in the occupied Golan Heights overnight.

It blamed the rocket fire on Iran's Al-Quds force, adding that Israel's anti-missile system intercepted four of the projectiles while the rest did not land in its territory.

On 10 May Russian Deputy Foreign Minister Mikhail Bogdanov called for ‘restraint on all sides’, adding that Moscow was ‘concerned’ at the development.

The strikes came a day after Israeli Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu held talks in Moscow with Russian President Vladimir Putin, whose country has provided massive military and diplomatic backing to the regime of President Bashar al-Assad in Syria's seven-year civil war.

At the meeting Putin also expressed ‘deep concern’ over US President Donald Trump's decision to withdraw from a key 2015 Iran nuclear deal on 8 May, a decision Netanyahu supported.

On 9 May the Russian leader called the situation in the Middle East ‘unfortunately very acute.’

Netanyahu had told Putin that ‘it is the right of every state, certainly the right of Israel, to take the necessary steps in order to protect itself from (Iranian) aggression),’ his office said in a statement on 9 May, referring to Iran's presence in Syria.
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[*] posted on 11-5-2018 at 09:30 AM


Netanyahu says Iran crossed 'red line' with rocket fire

10th May 2018 - 19:00 GMT | by ​Agence France-Presse in Jerusalem

Israeli Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu said Iran had crossed a ‘red line’ by firing rockets at Israeli forces from Syria, leading to major Israeli air strikes on 10 May in the neighbouring country.

Netanyahu said in a video posted on social media: ‘Iran has crossed a red line. Our reaction was a consequence. The Israeli Army carried out an extensive attack against Iranian targets in Syria.’

Iran has not claimed responsibility for the rocket fire.

Israel carried out widespread deadly raids against what it said were Iranian targets in Syria after rocket fire towards its forces which it blamed on Iran, marking a sharp escalation between the two enemies.

Israel said 20 rockets, either Fajr or Grad type, were fired from Syria at its forces in the occupied Golan Heights at around midnight.

It blamed the rocket fire on Iran's Quds force, adding that Israel's anti-missile system intercepted four while the rest did not land in its territory.

No Israelis were wounded.

Netanyahu said: ‘We are in a prolonged campaign and our policy is clear: We will not allow Iran to establish itself militarily in Syria.’
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[*] posted on 20-5-2018 at 04:49 PM


Australia defends voting against 'unbalanced' United Nations investigation into Gaza killings

By David Wroe

19 May 2018 — 4:48pm

Australia has defended its role as one of only two countries - along with the United States - to reject a United Nations Human Rights Council resolution to investigate the killings of dozens of Palestinians in Gaza on the grounds it prejudged Israel.

Australia and US were the only countries to vote against the resolution to send a commission of investigators, but it passed with the backing of 29 members of the 47-nation UN human rights body. Another 14 countries including Britain, Germany and Japan, abstained.

Foreign Minister Julie Bishop told Fairfax Media the resolution prejudged the outcome and failed to acknowledge the role of the Palestinian group Hamas in inciting the protests in Gaza.

Some 62 people were killed by the Israeli military's response.
"Australia voted against the Human Rights Council resolution because of our principled opposition to resolutions that fail the test of balance and impartiality," Ms Bishop said.

"The UNHRC resolution pre-judged the outcome of an inquiry into violations of international law in the context of large-scale civilian protests in the Palestinian Territories, including East Jerusalem.

"Nor did it refer to the role of Hamas in inciting violent protests."

She said Australia would still consider specific proposals for external investigations into the incidents "on their merits".

The council - which Australia joined in January after campaigning for two years - issued a statement condemning "the disproportionate and indiscriminate use of force by the Israeli occupying forces against Palestinian civilians, including in the context of peaceful protests".

It had gathered for an urgent meeting on Friday night, Australian time.

Israel's ambassador in Geneva, Aviva Raz Shechter, castigated the council for "spreading lies against Israel "during "five hours of ludicrous statements".

"Simply put, with this resolution, this council has reached a new height of hypocrisy, and the lowest standards of credibility," she said.

The Israeli Foreign Ministry said it totally rejected the resolution, adding the entire purpose of the council was "not to investigate the truth but to compromise Israel's right to self-defence and to single out the Jewish state for demonisation".

Palestinian Foreign Minister Riyad al-Maliki welcomed the UN decision.

“The Human Rights Council's formation of an international committee of investigation is a step towards doing justice to the Palestinian people,” he said in a statement. He urged speedy implementation "to stop Israeli war crimes".

The special session of the Human Rights Council was convened after the bloodiest day for Palestinians in years on Monday, when 60 were killed by Israeli gunfire during demonstrations that Israel said included attempts to breach its frontier fence.

"Nobody has been made safer by the horrific events of the past week," UN human rights chief Zeid Raad al-Hussein said as he opened the debate.

Israeli forces had killed 106 Palestinians, including 15 children, since March 30, he said. More than 12,000 were injured, at least 3500 by live ammunition. Israel was an occupying power under international law, obliged to protect the people of Gaza and ensure their welfare, he said.

"But they are, in essence, caged in a toxic slum from birth to death; deprived of dignity; dehumanised by the Israeli authorities to such a point it appears officials do not even consider that these men and women have a right, as well as every reason, to protest."

Israel says the deaths took place in protests organised by Hamas, the militant group that controls Gaza, which intentionally provoked the violence, an accusation Hamas denies.

Israel and the United States complain that the Human Rights Council, made up of 47 states chosen by the UN General Assembly, has a permanent anti-Israel bias.

The US has stood by Israel during the past week's violence, which coincided with the opening of a new US embassy in Jerusalem. American charge d'affaires Theodore Allegra said the Council was ignoring the real culprit: Hamas.

"The one-sided action proposed by the council today only further shows that the Human Rights Council is indeed a broken body," he said.

Two million people live in Gaza, most of them stateless descendants of refugees from homes in what is now Israel at its founding in 1948.

The territory has been run by Hamas since 2007, during which time the sides have fought three wars. Hamas denies Israel's right to exist.

Israel and Egypt, on the other side of Gaza, maintain a blockade of Gaza for security reasons, which the United Nations says has led to the collapse of Gaza's economy.

With Reuters
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[*] posted on 26-5-2018 at 01:41 PM


Ministers reportedly pan air force chief for photo of F-35 over Lebanon

Hadashot TV quotes cabinet members saying revelation of picture showing stealth jet above Beirut was 'arrogant and showing off'

By TOI staff

24 May 2018, 10:51 pm 1


Incoming Israeli Air Force chief Maj. Gen. Amikam Norkin salutes during a ceremony at the Tel Nof Air Base on August 14, 2017. (Israel Defense Forces)

Senior cabinet ministers reportedly slammed Israeli Air Force chief Amikam Norkin for releasing a picture and details of an Israeli F-35 stealth fighter high above Beirut, saying the move was “arrogant.”

At a cabinet meeting held Wednesday, ministers condemned the display of the image as “unnecessary arrogance and showing off,” and also “inappropriate and unhelpful,” with one minister declaring it is the kind of thing that should not be revealed even to countries closely allied with Israel, Hadashot news reported from within the closed-door meeting.

Although the report didn’t identify which ministers made the comments it noted that Defense Minister Avidgor Liberman told the meeting that the photo was displayed without his knowledge, or that of IDF Chief of Staff Gadi Eisenkot.

The picture was reportedly shown by Norkin on Tuesday at a conference for visiting commanders and deputy commanders of over 20 foreign air forces, as he revealed that Israel had used the American-made F-35 in at least two attack missions, making it the first country in the world to use the aircraft operationally.

The photo was subsequently broadcast by Hadashot news on Wednesday night.

The Israel Defense Forces denied providing Hadashot news with the image and said it had not meant for the photograph to be shown outside the conference.


Israeli Air Force chief Amikam Norkin speaks to a crowd of visiting air force chiefs from around the world during a conference hosted in honor of the IAF’s 70th anniversary on May 22, 2018. (Israel Defense Forces)

Over 100 people attended Norkin’s speech. A photograph from the event, which was distributed by the IDF, appeared to show some audience members holding cellphones. At least two military photographers were also at the event.

The photograph, shot from a second aircraft, shows the F-35 flying past the Lebanese coast in broad daylight. Beirut and its Rafic Hariri International Airport are both clearly visible in the image. It was not clear when exactly the picture was captured.

The fifth generation F-35 stealth fighter, of which Israel currently has a fleet of nine, is considered one of the most advanced aircrafts in the world, capable of operating virtually undetected by air defenses.


A photograph of an Israeli F-35 stealth fighter jet flying over the Lebanese capital of Beirut, which was apparently leaked to Israel’s Hadashot news. (Screen capture)

The decision to reveal both the image and the operational use of the F-35, including in Syria, was seen by many defense analysts as a subtle threat to Israel’s nemesis Iran, with which it is fighting an ongoing, mostly quiet war in Syria.

In addition to the general reminder to Iran of Israel’s technological superiority, the photograph from above Beirut would also serve as a warning to Tehran’s main proxy, the Hezbollah terrorist group, which has its headquarters in the Lebanese capital.

The air force chief made his remarks to dozens of commanders or deputy commanders of air forces from around the world visiting Israel as part of a three-day conference in honor of the IAF’s 70th anniversary.

Israel began receiving the fifth-generation F-35 stealth fighter from the United States in December 2016. The aircraft were declared operational approximately a year later.
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[*] posted on 27-5-2018 at 01:42 AM


Quiet frankly, after the flawless May 10th retaliatory air strikes, the IDF really has no need to "show off". That was a stunning show of operational art by itself.
In that context, I personally see the picture of the F-35 over Beirut more like a marketing coup. Mostly military tacticians keep May 10th in mind; this picture, especially so closely timed after May 10th, remains an easy warning that is more intuitively understood even on the streets.
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[*] posted on 27-5-2018 at 12:45 PM


Yup, his career may not be too long, certainly it'll be under a very close microscope from now on.

As you say, great marketing ploy for the manufacturer.
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[*] posted on 28-5-2018 at 12:14 AM


Quote: Originally posted by Wolftrap  
Quiet frankly, after the flawless May 10th retaliatory air strikes, the IDF really has no need to "show off". That was a stunning show of operational art by itself.
In that context, I personally see the picture of the F-35 over Beirut more like a marketing coup. Mostly military tacticians keep May 10th in mind; this picture, especially so closely timed after May 10th, remains an easy warning that is more intuitively understood even on the streets.


Not sure what the big deal is about this to be honest. Apparently the ‘chase’ aircraft was an F-16 and the F-35 in that pic is wearing it’s electronic ‘Lunesberg lens’ and flying in broad daylight, so they aren’t exactly trying to hide...

Arrogance perhaps? I don’t see it that way. Israel routinely flies over Beirut and everyone knows it. Bravado maybe? If so, why release a pic over territory they have been routinely flying over for decades? Now a pic over an Iranian base in Syria? That would set the cat among the pigeons...

They have been technically at war with Lebanon since 1948 so this isn’t even ‘illegal’ even if the aircraft is within the 12k international limit which it may well not be, given the altitude it is flying at and the slant angle of the picture...

So, yeah. Not sure what the ruckus is about really. Countries release ‘show of force’ imagery routinely. Is this worse than that?




In a low speed post-merge manoeuvring fight, with a high off-boresight 4th generation missile and Helmet Mounted Display, the Super Hornet will be a very difficult opponent for any current Russian fighter, even the Su-27/30
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[*] posted on 28-5-2018 at 08:59 AM


He did it without the knowledge of anybody in a senior position to him including the Chief of the Defense Force, and the PM............THAT is what the ruckus is about in Israel.............they are especially sensitive about "loose cannons"..............
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[*] posted on 29-5-2018 at 09:09 PM


Israel shoots down Gaza mortar fire

By Ari Rabinovitch

Updated29 May 2018 — 5:08pmfirst published at 3:43pm

Jerusalem: Gaza militants fired more than 25 mortar shells toward communities in southern Israel Tuesday, the Israeli military said, in what appeared to be the largest single barrage fired since the 2014 Israel-Hamas war.

No one was hurt and the military said most were intercepted by the Iron Dome defense system. But the high volume of projectiles came as tensions have been running high along the Israel-Gaza border.


IDF's Iron Dome intercepts rockets from the Gaza last year.

"A barrage of 25 mortar shells were launched towards several sites in Israeli territory. Most of the launches were intercepted by the IDF's (Israel Defence Forces) Iron Dome aerial defence system," the Iraeli military said in a statement.

Israeli media reported that one of the shells landed near a kindergarten shortly before it opened. Angry residents took to the airwaves to complain about how vulnerable they feel after 15 years of rocket fire threats from neighbouring Gaza, which will likely put pressure on the government to retaliate harshly.

The border area has been tense in recent weeks as the Palestinians have held mass protests aimed at lifting a blockade imposed by Israel and Egypt after Hamas seized power in 2007.

Israeli fire has killed more than 110 Palestinians, most of them during the Hamas-led protests, which climaxed on May 14 when at least 60 people were killed.

On Sunday, Israeli shelling killed three Palestinian militants from the smaller Islamic Jihad group after the troops found a bomb planted along the border. The Islamic Jihad vowed retaliation.

On Monday, a tank fired at a Hamas position in the Gaza Strip, killing one man and wounding another, after Israeli troops came under fire on the frontier while apprehending two armed Palestinians, the army said.

Hamas has said that a boatful of students and medical patients is to set sail out of Gaza City's port on Tuesday, aiming to break 11 years of naval blockade imposed by Israel, which could spark further conflict.

Hamas has vowed to continue the border rallies. Israel says it is defending its border as well as its communities nearby. It accuses Hamas of trying to carry out attacks under the cover of protests.

AP
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[*] posted on 1-6-2018 at 09:07 AM


Israel targets Hamas’ naval capabilities

Yaakov Lappin, Tel Aviv and Jeremy Binnie, London - IHS Jane's Defence Weekly

31 May 2018

Israel Defence Forces (IDF) targeted “advanced naval capabilities” developed by Hamas in the Gaza Strip to carry out “maritime terror attacks”, the IDF announced on 30 May.


An image released by the Israel Defence Forces on 30 May 2018 shows what it said was the Hamas naval base that it targeted the day before. (Israel Defence Forces)

The Palestinian militant group’s naval capabilities where targeted in a series of strikes that the IDF carried out in response to a large-scale rocket and mortar attack against Israeli communities and military posts on 29 May. Three Israeli soldiers were wounded.

“It’s a fact that there [were] weapons made in Iran used last night and this shows the involvement of Iran in the Gaza Strip,” an IDF official in Southern Command said on 30 May.

The events represented the largest escalation between the IDF and Gaza’s armed groups since the end of the 2014 conflict, but ended on 30 May after intensive talks between the militants and Egypt.

The IDF said it hit over 65 Hamas and Palestinian Islamic Jihad (PIJ) targets, including storage facilities containing unmanned aerial vehicles (UAVs) that can drop bombs, a UAV flight training centre, storage facilities housing Strela-2 (SA-7) manportable air defence systems, military compounds, training facilities, and munitions production sites.

“I think Hamas got hit very hard this night and it knows it. It lost some things that mean a lot to it. It will have to calculate the next step,” the Southern Command official said. He added that the targets hit were chosen specifically and that the IDF was very careful to avoid harming non-combatants. “What Hamas will do next, we can never know. But for us, the goal was achieved.”

The escalation began after the IDF reported that it had thwarted a PIJ border bombing and killed three of its operatives on 27 May.

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[*] posted on 22-6-2018 at 02:48 PM


Israel Spends With Eye On Iran Strikes In Shifting Mideast

By Arie Egozi

on June 21, 2018 at 2:47 PM


Israeli rampage missile

TEL AVIV: Israel is preparing to buy a range of new weapons in preparation for a possible attack on Iran should that country appear to restart efforts to develop a nuclear weapon.

Israel has reportedly already invested more than $2 billion preparing for a possible attack against Iran.

On Israel’s shopping list: a new aerial refueling aircraft and new weapons such as the IAI/IMI Rampage missile just unveiled by Israeli Military Industries Systems (IMI Systems) and Israel Aerospace Industries (IAI) This long-range assault missile was developed jointly by the two Israeli companies.

The Rampage would be used by Israel’s F-35s in a strike against Iranian forces but can be used on most other Israeli strike aircraft. The companies say the Rampage is designed to destroy targets such as command and control centers, air force bases, maintenance centers, infrastructures and valuable targets protected by sophisticated anti-air systems.

IAI and IMI say the Rampage offers simplified operation, with no need for a “man in the loop.” The total weight of the missile is 570 kg and it is 4.7 meters long. Range is estimated at 150 km.

Israeli Defense Minister Avigdor Lieberman said after the U.S decision to pull out of the JCPOA that, despite Iran’s threats, he thinks they will remain in the nuclear agreement.

“The Iranians here are walking on the thin line and trying to signal, trying to blackmail, threaten, but I doubt if they end up going to go out of the deal because they understand that, at that moment, it will strike very hard even in the markets inside Iran and in all parameters of the Iranian economy,” he said in a closed meeting early last week.

However, that doesn’t mean Israel will be passive about the Iranian threat: “We have never lowered any option on Iran, all the options on the table.”



The Israeli plan to buy new weapons is made more likely by President Trump’s decision to leave the Iran nuclear deal, known as the JCPOA. But Israel’s intent to beef up its strike capabilities comes as part of a wider reordering of the strategic situation in the Middle East.


Israeli F-35A, known as Adir.

Iran and Saudi Arabia have been engaged in a secret war for some decades trying to gain regional supremacy from Iraq to Syria and Lebanon to Yemen.

President Donald Trump has strongly backed Saudi Arabia in its efforts to counter Iran’s influence in the region. For their part, the Saudis have praised Trump for pulling out of the Iran nuclear deal, which they considered meaningless paper, just as Israel does.

Amos Gilead, former head of the Military Intelligence Research Division and director of Policy and Political-Military Affairs at the Ministry of Defense, told Breaking Defense that the Iranians will not be deterred by Trump’s threats: “The nuclear deal serves them and will allow them, after 10 years, to dash quickly to the bomb.”

How does the U.S pulling out of the Iranian nuclear deal affect the situation in Syria, host to a great number of Iranian military personnel?

“Israel is determined not to allow Iran to get a strong foot hold in Syria. The Russian interest is not to allow Iran to gain too much influence in Syria” Gilead said.

Is there operational coordination between Israel and Russia as to what Israel can do to block the Iranian build-up in Syria, I asked Gilead? “Israel does not notify Moscow on planned attacks on Iranian targets in Syria. They cannot be trusted. When, according to foreign sources, Israel attacks Iranian targets in Syria, the Russians are passive.”

But Israel is looking at Iran not only in the nuclear context. Iran has been trying to build a military capability on the Israeli-Syrian border.

In recent months, the Israeli airforce and other IDF units repeatedly destroyed shipments of advanced arms that Iran has sent to Syria, sometimes just hours after they were offloaded from Iranian cargo planes.

Meanwhile, Israel’s intelligence apparatus has been busy getting more and more facts to support the claim that the U.S and Europe were misled by Teheran.

Meanwhile, there are unconfirmed reports by the Kuwaiti newspaper Al-Jarida that Israeli F-35 fighter jets entered Iranian airspace over the past month.

The Iranians dismissed the report, but Ayatollah Ali Khamenei replaced Brig. Gen. Farzad Esmaili as commander of Iran’s air defenses just a few days later. Brig. Gen. Alireza Sabahi Fard is the new commander. And the ayatollah decreed that Brig. Gen. Sabahi Fard would now command Khatam al-Anbia Air Defense Base, central headquarters of Iran’s air defenses.

The U.S has increased stockpiles of military hardware stored in Israeli bases recently. The U.S. stores equipment in Israel by virtue of a special clause in U.S. foreign aid law governing war reserves stockpiles for allies. According to the clause, the equipment can be utilized by American forces throughout the world, and also, in an emergency, by the military in the country where the equipment is stored. The clause was originally intended to allow South Korea to use of American equipment in case of a surprise attack by North Korea.

Amos Gilead says that the U.S stockpiles of military hardware in Israel are only intended for use by the American forces; “any other use is subject to decision to be made in Washington.”

Israel and the U.S. share the assessment that Iran could use its regional militant allies or proxies , to retaliate against airstrikes on Iranian targets in Syria allegedly perpetrated by Israel.

Iran’s greatest achievement is Hezbollah that has formed a “country within country ” in Lebanon but the organization has been hardly battered in the Syrian war. Supporting embattled Syrian President Bashar Assad has resulted in hundreds of its fighters killed and wounded.

Amos Gilead says that with 120.000 rockets, the Hezbollah in Lebanon, is deterred from using them against Israel. “The Israeli operations in Syria and Lebanon , are aimed at foiling the organization’s target of building a second layer of longer range, more precise rockets made in Iran”

Mordechai Kedar, an Israeli expert in Middle Eastern affairs, says that if it is true that Russia is acting to get Iran out of Syria it will be a colossal loss for Teheran. “They put billions of U.S dollars in their presence in Syria, and that’s without mentioning the loss of hundreds of (members of) the Republican Guards and other militias led by Teheran.”

Kedar says Russia and America share the goal of keeping Assad in power. “That is why the Russians will swallow that bitter pill, because they know that without Assad the chaos will be even bigger and, as a matter of fact, uncontrollable.”

Iran has dismissed president Trump’s threats heard after the U.S pulled out of the nuclear deal . Can it really dismiss these threats ?

“No way. Trump, unlike Obama, means business and the Iranians know it” Kedar told Breaking Defense.

Yemen is another country that must be looked at in the context of Iranian influence.

Yemen’s Iranian-aligned Houthi movement, which destroyed the Saudi-backed government in Yemen in March of 2015 and now controls northern Yemen, has fired more than 100 missiles into Saudi Arabia.

Those missiles have targeted the Saudi capital and key oil production facilities near Yemen, as well as Saudi oil tankers.
The United States and the Saudi-led coalition that intervened in Yemen’s civil war in 2015 accuse Iran of providing the missiles to its Houthi allies, which Tehran denies.

The Saudi-led coalition has launched thousands of air strikes on Yemen in the past three years, some of which have hit hospitals, schools and markets, killing hundreds of civilians while bringing Riyadh little closer to military victory.

The kingdom has said hundreds of its own soldiers and civilians have been killed in Houthi mortar and short-range missile attacks across their rugged southern border.

Kedar said that the Iranian aim is to crush Saudi Arabia using what he calls a “nutcracker” movement. When Obama was in the White House he did not care about Saudi Arabia. Now there is a new boss in the Oval Office, and things will be handled differently.”
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