Arms Race III: Israel rolling out the heavies

This past month Israel has been in the midst of major future procurement decisions. The generals, experts & industries consulted & the results are in. We’re going hardcore in 4 prongs hardware wise, but much more importantly these procurements spell a decisive switch philosophically for Israel, the renewed realization that despite all the kumbaya singing Israel needs to be prepared for conflict of any form, at any time and in any place.

Lebanon Lesson – Major modernization
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Last summer’s Lebanon conflict was characterized by a 4 week air war in conjunction with some very limited ground work. Unfortunately the heavy reliance on air power did not produce all the desired effects, years of total prioritization of air power revealed deficiencies in Israel’s rolling thunder abilities on the ground. Equally years of low intensity fighting with the terrorists, er I mean Palestinians had dulled some of Israel priorities. Blue is a beautiful color, but green is apparently now back in style in a big way..

Haaretz

IDF chief okays comprehensive upgrade program for the military
By Yuval Azoulay, Haaretz Correspondent

Chief of Staff Gabi Ashkenazi approved on Monday a multi-year, multi-dimensional procurement program for the Israel Defense Forces that seeks to prepare for the broad range of security threats Israel is expected to face in the coming decade.

If the political leadership approves the program, its implementation will begin early next year. The procurement program, code-named Tefen, includes advanced systems for all branches of the IDF but much of the emphasis is placed on equipping the ground forces while sustaining the right mix “to ensure that we are not preparing for the last war,” as one senior officer put it [...]

Highlights include..

ABM – Missile defense on every level
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Arrow 2 - Photo courtesy of IAIThe Arrow2 is getting further funding in order to develop the next generation of the world’s first fully deployed ballistic missile shield, Arrow 3 will incorporate improvements to the system as well as welcome Rafael’s under development ‘Iron Dome’ platform for short range missile threat like Qassams & Katyusha rockets as a second tier. Israel is currently being bombarded daily by Qassams from Gaza, and thousands of Katyusha rockets were fired at the North in the Lebanon conflict.

A 3rd tier has also been given the nod, with the beautiful Trophy system enjoying a wider deployment than initially thought. Initially Trophy was shelved, then only the newest Merkava Mark 4 main battle tanks were thought to be getting the Trophy anti rpg / rocket missile defense system, now the system will enjoy wide deployment across older Merkava 3′s and even the Mark 2. This is a serious vote of confidence for the Trophy. In conjunction with the State wide missile defense plan, now localized forces at the unit level will have missile protection as well.

Ground War
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The Merkava 4 main battle tank considered the safest tank in service today, and widely rated in the top 3 overall for tanks worldwide with its advanced systems and world leading reactive armor technologies has been renewed, new Mark 4′s will again roll off Israeli assembly lines. The program was in limbo due to funding.
Merkava4 - Israeli-Weapons.com
Israeli Merkava 4 Main Battle Tank – if looks could kill, well actually they do! Big & Beautiful.

Also, Israel is pushing forward with the Namer APC platform. Hundreds of new Namer (Tigers) personnel carriers based on the Merkava will enter the IDF fleet. Equally, rapid moving brand new General Dynamics Strykers will reportedly be joining the Israeli battlefield.
Namer APC
A Namer APC

Stryker
General Dynamics’ very Uber Stryker!

All three of these platforms can be fitted with Trophy anti RPG systems if needed.. Fearsome ground rolling muscle to say the least, a full fledged across the board commitment to Israel’s historically legendary armored forces.

In the Air
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Israel is anticipating deliveries of the in development F-35 Joint Strike Fighter to replace ageing F-16s. Little details as to interested confirmed numbers for procurement were released in the Tefen plan, this may be due (speculation) to the fact that the longer ranged & superior F-22 Raptor is a cause for serious lust around these parts, it’s just so damn expensive. We need a few Raptors, come on Congress.. Spread the love!

IAF F-16 Sufa 
F-16 Sufa – Those big tanks are its specialty, extended range.

In conjunction with the brand new F16 Sufa & F-15I Thunder Israeli variants, these new squadrons will help cement unquestionable dominance in the air for Israel in the region and make no mistake, Israel has significantly extended its reach range wise already, and more so going forward with new procurement of F-35′s & hopefully the Raptor.

No mention is made of UAV plans, but Israel is a world leader in the field and a number of new platforms have been developed including a fighter sized pilotless wonder. Clearly despite the major ground initiative, Israel is committed to maintaining massive air superiority.

F-22 Raptor
The F-22 Raptor & buddies – Photo USAF

On the sea.. and below it
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Two new cruiser sized Navy boats have been mentioned, and procurement of additional Dolphin class submarines are already on track, expanding the fleet to 5 of these silent lurkers. The custom exclusive for Israel Dolphins from Germany are considered state of the art, and are amongst the most advanced diesels around. It will be some time yet before the 2 newer boats join the fleet but I get giddy just thinking about having 5 of these defending Israel. If you ‘ping’ us, we’ll ping you right back.. No matter what.

An Israeli Dolphin (Photo Israeli-Weapons.com)

Balanced Defense
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Tefen, in conjunction with already active procurement plans seems to cover all the bases. Active civilian & military defense on all levels against missile threats, a substantive ground focus combined with Israel’s normal air superiority, and a small but potent naval component that enables a silent but lethal second strike ability from the deep blue sea. With advanced arms flowing to certain axis countries, these revitalized priorities couldn’t come at a better time.

[tags]Israel, Weapons, Defense, Tefen[/tags]