Aerospace & Defense News February 2014

Aerospace & Defense

What Cut?
Despite a planned cut in its budget, Israel’s defense establishment will receive an increase in government funding in wake of late-December government decisions. In economy moves last year, Finance Minister Yair Lapid reduced the defense budget to NIS 51B (about $14.6B) for 2014. But even before 2014 started, the government approved an additional NIS 3.2B–NIS 2.8B from state revenues that were not anticipated when the budget was passed, NIS 300M in revenues from the sale of land in the center of the country as a result of the plan to move IDF bases to southern Israel, and NIS 100M to finance the absorption of ultra-Orthodox Jews into the Israel Defense Forces. The sums include 75% of the $3.1B in annual defense aid from the U.S.

Beersheba Center
Lockheed Martin and EMC have announced plans for a joint center in Beersheba. The center, which will employ workers from Ben-Gurion University and other places, will develop systems to be integrated into products of the two firms. EMC has another Israeli tech center, in Herzliya.

Arrow 3 Success
Israel’s Arrow 3 missile defense system passed another successful test firing in early January. The Defense Ministry said that the test, from the Palmachim base south of Tel Aviv, called the test over the Mediterranean a milestone in development of the system, designed to intercept enemy missiles far from Israel’s borders.
The Arrow missile is part of a multi-layered missile defense system being developed in cooperation with the U.S. It also includes Iron Dome, already deployed against short-range missiles, and David’s Sling, against medium range missiles. Boeing, the U.S. defense contractor, has joined Israel Aerospace Industries in developing the Arrow, largely with U.S. funding.  Arrow 3 is due to be operational by 2016.

Rafael’s New System
Government-owned Rafael Advanced Defense Systems is due to unveil Iron Beam, its new short-range missile defense system, at the Singapore Air Show. Iron Beam, is a high-energy laser based system against rockets, mortar, and airborne target attacks, will complement the battle-proved Iron Dome short-range rocket defense system by assisting in intercepting very-short-range rockets fired at Israel. It will add an extra dimension to Israel’s missile defense program with Iron Beam (very short-range), Iron Dome (short-range), David’s Sling (medium-range), and the Arrow 2 and Arrow 3 (long-range).
According to a report in Globes, Rafael had speeded up development in the wake of a recent increase in rocket attacks on Israel’s south from the Gaza Strip.

India OKs Barak Sale
The Indian Defense Ministry in late December approved the $143M purchase of 262 Barak rockets from Rafael Advanced Defense Systems and Israeli Aerospace Industries. The Indian defense establishment, head by Minister of Defense A. K. Antony, also gave the green light to two other projects – the $2B purchase of 16 ASW anti-missile vessels and of two underwater rescue systems from depths of up to 244 meters for $244M. The Barak deal had been delayed for seven years due to a corruption investigation in India.

New IAI Systems
Israel Aerospace Industries unveiled CT-BMS, its new Combat Team Battle Management System at the DEFEXPO 2014 Exhibition in New Delhi. The CT-BMS, developed by subsidiary Elta Systems Ltd., is designed to address the challenges of tactical land forces command, control, collaboration and real-time situational awareness. It connects combatants, tactical sensors, weapons systems, combat platforms, headquarters and supporting forces to create real-time common situational awareness for the entire combat team.
Designed to support Elta’s on-the-move Tac4G (tactical 4G) cellular network, CT-BMS is also compatible with a variety of communication networks including combat net radio, line of sight, or satellite communication. The engine for the aircraft is made by Diesel Jet, a subsidiary of Italy’s Fiat.
IAI also unveiled the Katana, its new unmanned naval vehicle designed to protect critical installations such as ports and undersea pipelines. The Katana is part of IAI’s effort to expand on the base established bu its business in unmanned aerial vehicles.
IAI also unveiled its new diesel-powered Super Heron UAV, capable of staying aloft 24-48 hours, at a defense exhibition in Singapore. It is not clear when the new aircraft will begin service with the Israel Air Force.

Female Battalion Commander
Maj. Oshrat Bachar will become the first female commander of an Israel Defense Forces battalion. Bachar will be promoted to lieutenant colonel when she takes command of the Southern Command’s Eitam battalion, whose mission is to monitor hostile activity in the Sinai Peninsula. Beginning as an Intelligence Corps lookout, Bachar rose to become a company commander, an instructor at the IDF Intelligence School, and a department head in the office of the chief of staff’s adviser on women’s affairs. Her husband, Maj. Ohad Bachar, also serves in the IDF.

IDF Smartphone
The Israeli Defense Ministry has finalized acquisition from Motorola of a durable, field-tested smartphone to replace the current Vered Harim encrypted phone system. The Motorola platform, which will allow troops to communicate and share encrypted data was chosen after extensive testing. Motorola will also establish a secure network for the new devices.
The device will have a touch screen, GPS, 8-megapixel camera, and a unique set of applications. Durable, water and dust-resistant, and will support 400 airtime minutes and up to 500 hours of reserve battery. The phone will allow troops to send encrypted text, media and emails from the field. Estimated cost of the project is $100M over 15 years, during which time Motorola Solutions will provide technical support.

Shimshon Squadron
The Israel Air Force’s new Shimshon Squadron was formally inaugurated in mid-December. It will receive its first Lockheed Martin C130J aircraft – dubbed the Super Hercules in English but given the IAF nickname Shimshon (Samson) in April. The plane is a four-engine turboprop military transport, is a comprehensive update of the Lockheed C-130 Hercules, whose history of more than 50 years makes it the longest continuous production run of any military aircraft in history.

Moving South
Evacuation of Israel Defense Forces bases in the center of the country is due to start in 2014, under the terms of an agreement signed in mid-December of 2013. The first 9 dunams (about 2.2 acres) of a planned 36 dunams around the Defense Ministry complex in central Tel Aviv are due to make room for a light rail station, with the full move due by 2016. The army will give up 421 dunams at the historic Tzrifin base, established during the British Mandate, in 2015, and an additional tract on Mt. Carmel near Haifa.

IMI Loan
The Knesset Finance Committee has approved a NIS 140 million ($40M) loan to Israel Military Industries to cover salaries and current expenses. According to a report in Haaretz, the loan is part of a privatization package under which of over NIS 2.5B in IMI debts to the government will be erased.

Aussie Sale
Private Israeli defense contractor Elbit Systems has signed a $230M follow-up contract for battle management systems with the Australian Defense Ministry. The deal, for an export version of the digital battlefield management system developed for the IDF, comes in addition to a previously signed $300M contract.

IAF Developments
The Israel Air Force’s Ofek development unit is working on a number of new projects, according to a report on the Hebrew Walla website. One of these, the website said, is a program that delivers data to the cockpit in real time, allowing the pilot to fire on several targets with the push of a single button. Another involves an upgrade of capabilities of the IAF’s central control center, where many battle decisions are made. The program enhances control of the senior office at the center on intelligence information. Another program coordinates radar, observation and sensor data on one screen, facilitating accurate location of incoming rocket fire – which, according to Walla, will increase the warning to army units and civilian populations that are being attacked.

Space Engine
SpaceIL, an NGO seeking to land the first Israeli space vehicle on the Moon, has purchased a propulsion system designed for it by Israel Aerospace Industries. The system, consisting of a rocket motor and four fuel tanks, has a total weight of 90 kg and costs several million dollars.
SpaceIL was founded by three young Israeli engineers to enter the Google Lunar X-Prize: a global race for landing an unmanned spacecraft on the Moon, whose first prize is $20M. The team represents Israel at the competition, against 18 other privately-funded space teams from around the world. The winner must make a soft landing, operate the spacecraft across the lunar surface for 500 meters and transmit HD video, images, and data back to Earth.

Hercules Upgrade
Elbit Systems has won a $15M follow-on contract from the Ministry of Defense to upgrade the Israeli Air Force C-130H Hercules transport aircraft over two years. Elbit will add new capabilities to meet stringent international CNS/ATM (Communications Navigation and Surveillance/Air Traffic Management) standard and operate in commercial airspace.

Namer Order Halved
Israel is halving an original 2010 order for 386 Namer (Leopard) armored personnel carriers from General Dynamics, due to budgetary problems. The new order for 170 Namers, require Israel to pay a $17M fine to General Dynamics, according to a Defense News report.

Reservist Reforms
The Israel Defense Forces has finalized a sweeping reform of its reserve forces that will see tens of thousands of reservists dropped from active duty because they aren’t needed. The IDF will revamp its training schedule so that front-line units receive more training days, at the expense of rear-echelon units, is considering a plan to lower the age at which ex-soldiers no longer are required to serve in the reserves. “Under this plan, the IDF will have fewer reservists, but those who serve in more forward units will spend more time training every year than in the past,” a senior officer told Haaretz.

Elbit ‘Breakthrough’
Private defense contractor Elbit Systems says that 2013 was a breakthrough year in its unmanned aerial vehicle business, according to a report in Globes, including the start of deliveries of its Hermes 900 to three foreign customers and the Israel Air Force. About one UAV a week – most advanced versions of the Hermes 450 and Hermes 900 — is manufactured by Elbit.
The Hermes 900 can fly in extreme weather conditions, has a maximum altitude of over 30,000 feet, and can carry a wide range of payloads.  In addition, Elbit says the number of specialized payloads, including electronic warfare systems developed by its Elisra subsidiary and a hyperspectral payload for spotting and identifying hazardous materials.

Finnish Deliveries
Aeronautics Defense Systems, based in Yavne south of Tel Aviv, has delivered the first 50 of 200 Orbiter mini-UAVs ordered by Finland in a $30M deal. Aeronautics customized the Orbitor to Finnish Army specifications, with systems providing enhanced survivability in harsh environmental conditions. Every UAV has a day and night camera, intelligence gathering peripherals, communications, and other systems.
Completion of the Finnish Army deal and two smaller contracts, has alleviated cash flow problems caused payment arrears and the replacement of its founder and CEO Avi Leumi by former Elbit executive Amos Matan.

Tower’s USAF Deal
Tower Semiconductors has begun a 5-year technology investment agreement with the U.S. Air Force’s research lab at Wright-Patterson Air Base in California, as part of a multimillion-dollar plan to upgrade the company’s foundry in Newport Beach, California. Tower manufactures Large Format Read Out Integrated Circuits (ROIC), key elements in many commercial and military detectors, sensors, and imaging systems spanning air, land, sea, and space.
Tower, an Israeli company which markets as TowerJazz, was founded out of National Semiconductors in Migdal Haemek, northern Israel, has two foundries in Israel, one in Japan and the Newport Beach facility.

Tower Partner in India Plant
TowerJazz is a partner in one of two consortiums authorized by India to set up semiconductor plants on the Subcontinent. Tower will join India’s Jaiprakash Associates and IBM in plant near New Delhi at a cost of 343.99B rupees ($5.52B), a government statement said. The move is part of an Indian effort to cut import bills and produce computer chips domestically.

Cyber Competition
Israel’s major defense contractors have moved into a new field – cyber warfare and defense – in a big way. Israel Aerospace Industries, Israel Military Industries, Rafael Advanced Defense Systems and Elbit Systems have all established new units, and are competing for business in a field that is growing at a rapid 8% a year. And, according to a report in Haaretz, competition is fierce in the one area where worldwide defense budgets haven’t stopped growing.

Philippines Sale
Elbit Systems has sold 28 light armored vehicles to the Philippine military for $19.7M. According to press reports, 14 of the vehicles will be equipped with 76mm cannons and all will have night vision and fire control systems.

Radar Passes Test
Israel Aerospace Industries has successfully tested its ELM-2311 tactical C-RAM. The test included the firing of several artillery shells, radar detection and tracking of the incoming projectiles, and identification of the launch and impact point coordinates with high accuracy. ELM-2311, developed by IAI’s Elta subsidiary, is a compact, mobile, multifunction artillery weapon radar and a hostile weapon launch locator C-Band radar system.

India Selects Rafael Pods
India has selected Litening G4 designator pods made by Israel’s Rafael Advanced Defense Technologies for its entire fleet of fighter-bombers, according to an official of the Israel defense contractor. The pods will be installed on Indian Air Force Jaguar, MiG-27, Sukhoi 30MKI and Mirage 2000 aircraft. Installation of the pods on the Rafal are also under discussion with the plane’s manufacturer, Dassault of France.

Singapore Center
Israel Aerospace Industries and the government of Singapore have opened the company’s Cyber Early Warning Center in Singapore. The center will employ Singaporean scientists and computer experts. It is modeled after a similar IAI Israeli and is tasked with tackling complex cyber problems, developing prototypes for cyber early warning solutions, mature prototypes into fully-fledged customer-grade solutions, and market the solutions in Singapore and other countries.

Poland Cancellation
Defense Ministry director-general Dan Harel has canceled Israel Aerospace Industries and Elbit Systems export licenses of UAVs to Poland, Globes reported in early February. The paper said that competition between the two Israeli contractors was one of the factors in the forced resignation of Polish deputy defense minister Waldemar Skrzpczak two months ago after IAI questioned the official’s preference for Elbit’s Hermes 450, and the ensuing storm in the Polish media. The ban means that neither of the Israeli companies can sell to Poland comes at an inappropriate time, since the Polish Army is in the midst of a large-scale acquisitions program.

German Boats Eyed
Defense Minister Moshe Ya’alon met with German counterpart Ursula von der Leyen in Berlin in mid-February to discuss the possible purchase of surface ships to Israeli offshore natural gas fields. The Israeli Navy has begun evaluating vessels for defending natural gas installations off the Israeli coast. It reportedly plans to purchase four ships.

Unburied Treasures
Defense contractor Elbit Systems has unveiled Treasures, its new system designed for gathering intelligence, force protection and enhanced border surveillance. The system, introduced at two Asian defense exhibitions, automatically detects human and vehicular targets in real time, on any terrain and in all weather conditions. It is made up of small sensors that consume little power and can be deployed unattended for extended periods.


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