Operation ‘Turning Point 3′ – Largest ever civil defense drill to prepare for missile attack
Since the 2nd Lebanon War, and keeping in mind the constant missile threats from Gaza & Iran we’ve been busy in Israel reforming, drilling, and beefing up our armed services and civil defense across the country.
Israel is facing a “real live missile threat” from surrounding Arab countries and needs to be prepared for possible missile attacks at a moment’s notice, Deputy Defense Minister Matan Vilna’i told The Jerusalem Post Saturday, ahead of the nationwide emergency drill that begins on Sunday. [...]
Recently Israel’s Home Front Command (Pikud Ha’Oref) sent mail-outs to homes including multimedia CDs, maps & magnets for fridges, and info packets informing the population where they stand as far as time alloted in order to react in the event of missile attack, including instructions on how to prepare the home for war or emergency and how to best prepare shelter. Israel’s Northern & Southern populations have lived vividly with this ongoing reality involving life threatening danger, but now due to the size & range of our enemies missiles the reality has changed – the entire country is under threat.
We are responding accordingly..
The Turning Point Drill is a national home front drill.
It is a combined drill of the Home Front Command, the National Emergency Authority, the Israeli Police, the Emergency Economy, Magen David Adom, the Fire Department, all government ministries and the local authorities.
The purpose of the drill is to improve the readiness of the organizations and residents to coping with emergencies. Your preparedness and that of your family is key to proper coping in an emergency.
This year, our new national drills will involve the entire population culminating nationwide this Tuesday at 11 AM when air raid sirens will go off across the country. As part of the drill, Israelis are requested to simulate an attack and seek immediate shelter in fortified areas, and shelters from their homes, offices, and schools. Various scenarios going on include;
- Evacuating large high-rise buildings, government office and military facilities
- Simulating emergency response for both conventional & WMD based missile impacts.
- Simulations involving Hezbollah, Syrian, Palestinian, Iranian hostilities.
- Search & Rescue drills from collapsed buildings.
- Establishing local emergency headquarters.
- Protecting & responding to attacks on key industrial targets.
Additional sirens and emergency drills will be taking place around the country beyond the nationwide Tuesday drill. For detailed information & instruction including videos, emergency numbers, etc visit the Home Front Command’s public emergency website available in English, Hebrew, Russian & Arabic.
Of course, Hezbollah has declared itself on high alert in light of our drill, fearing it to be I gather cover for an attack. Also interested, representatives from 70 different countries including the USA & Europe attending and observing from Israel, in order to better learn how to protect civilian populations world wide. Maybe someone should show the map to the Obama administration, and bring home the realities of where we live.
‘Words must mean something..’
The luster is off, many of my more elite fellow bloggers on US / Israeli relations are coming to grips with the unfriendly atmosphere now prevailing in what President Obama just yesterday termed a ‘stalwart alliance’ between Israel & the US. Blah blah blah, just words. This President is a talker all right, on the topic of whether or not he’s a doer however it is becoming ever more clear that he reserves action only for Israel, everyone else gets a free pass.
Obama Strikes Again – Requests for replacement choppers in limbo
WASHINGTON – The Obama administration has blocked Israel’s request for advanced U.S.-origin attack helicopters.
Government sources said the administration has held up Israel’s request for the AH-64D Apache Longbow attack helicopter. The sources said the request was undergoing an interagency review to determine whether additional Longbow helicopters would threaten Palestinian civilians in the Gaza Strip. [...]
Yeah, we know. Drastically reduced cooperation, ignoring existential threats, reaching out to America’s enemies at the expense of her allies. All part of the pressure gambit to wring concessions out of Israel to pay off the Muslim outreach program, which so far appears to be the only thing (other than spending trillions of dollars of debt) the President seems to actually care about.
JSF / F15SE / Apache Longbow – What’s next?
The list of off limits hardware is growing, now the Apache Longbows have been added despite the fact Israel already flies them. Since most of the F35 JSF is already off limits to us, the new Boeing F15SE has been sought as a possible option by Israel – But that is also seemingly not in the cards. The F15SE was designed by Boeing specifically for export because it has no slot in US defense plans since its missions are already covered by other platforms, it is an upgrade path for international customers flying Eagles. Which makes statements by the Administration to the effect that the F15SE is not cleared for ‘foreign military sales’ curious indeed..
WASHINGTON – The Obama administration has imposed obstacles on Israeli efforts to procure U.S.-origin fighter-jets.
Administration sources said the White House has drafted measures that could prevent Israel and other non-NATO allies from procuring U.S. fighter-jets, including the F-35. They said the administration would require that Israel obtain special permission from the Defense Department and State Department to acquire the Joint Strike Fighter. The administration has also been resisting Israeli requests for technical data on the new F-15SE fighter-jet. [...]
The sources said the State Department has been delaying Israeli requests for pre-export licenses required for an examination of the new generation F-15.
The sources said the administration has not approved the new F-15 for the Foreign Military Sales program. They said this could prevent Israel from using U.S. military aid to purchase the aircraft from Boeing. “This is a legal issue,” a source said. “The F-15SE might not qualify for FMS.”
Stalwart allies. We are not even allowed to evaluate the Boeing fighter! Boeing must be thrilled with the Obama administration’s stimulus efforts so far since the Apaches & F-15s are part of the company’s stable of military hardware. I’m still wrestling with how the math for this works but I’m guessing Robert Gibbs will soon tell us that halting all these sales from Boeing to Israel is good for the company’s bottom line in the recession and will ‘create jobs’.
The noose is around Israel’s neck and is tightening while Obama courts and appeases his one true love, the Arabs & the Palestinians and every dictator, socialist, and isolated rogue regime on the planet. This is change all right, everything else is ‘just words’.
Iran is progressing at alarming speed
In late 2007, Iran tested a new modified Shahab-3 based ballistic missile known as Ghadr-1. Key elements of the Ghadr were:
- An improved cone / warhead housing capable of multiple warhead delivery per missile.
- 2 stages, a liquid fueled booster with a solid rocket fuel second stage.
- Domestically produced.
In late 2008, a mere year later Iran tested the Sejil class of missile. The Sejil is an advanced Ghadr, instead of a liquid fueled base stage the new missile featured two full stages powered by solid rocket fuels. Eliminating the liquid fuel entirely was another huge step. Volatile, unstable, and requiring on site fueling before any launch the graduation from liquid to solid fuel severely ups the ante and threat level of Iranian missiles. Enabling Iran to mass produce, fuel, and safely store vast swaths of nuclear capable long range missiles for protected launches from underground silos, or mobile launching on truck platforms. Equally troubling, the switch allows for faster more stable missile flights.
Mere months later, now in May 2009 Iran again tested a new missile. Reasons this recent test is all the more provocative include;
- Further advances in sensors / guidance for accuracy.
- The culmination of Iran’s drive for a domestically procurable multi stage solid fuel ballistic missile that can be nuclear capable, all produced start to finish within Iran.
- Joint mockery along with the North Koreans of the President of the United States, and his engagement with rogue regime theories.
- The push to out-pace Missile Defense.
Video of Iran’s Latest Ballistic Missile Test – Sejil2
Equally alarming, the pace. Iran is simply put racing ahead. At this rate CIA & Pentagon estimates for the Iranian Missile threats are SERIOUSLY themselves obsolete. I am sorry to say this, but as usual the US intelligence community will seemingly be again ‘surprised’ when they come to grips with how radically off base they are in regards to time-frames and these threats. Iran has in the last year achieved space launch, solid fuel boosters, enhanced accuracy & range which puts these missiles beyond Israel and into Europe, and is now arguably fine tuning an ability to defeat US & Israeli based missile defense platforms with this new Sejil-2 due to its speed and multiple warheads.
President is badly advised & mistaken
American estimates regarding a domestic threat posed by Iranian missiles originally looking at 2025 were narrowed to earliest 2015 by generals at the Pentagon, that’s quite a jump. It means American estimates were a full decade off, by off we mean WRONG. But even this 2015 date now seems conservative. At the rate they are progressing and the crystal clear proliferation path going on between North Korea & Iran, ICBMs from these rogue regimes will very shortly pose a substantial nuclear weapons threat to the world, including American cities.
Further, this habit of being wrong as exhibited by other ‘surprises’ like underground nuclear weapons tests this week, admittedly erroneous Nation Intelligence Estimates for both Iraq, and now also in 2007 regarding Iran’s nuclear program, lead one to naturally assume the odds of America being surprised & wrong again regarding Iranian nuclear weapons capability are also quite high, meaning it could surprise America much faster than is currently thought, estimates which are more in line with Israeli intelligence.
One might think that in light of these realities, in light of the fact that it is now very questionable whether American or Israeli deployed missile defense platforms could currently without advancement themselves counter these faster, more accurate, multiple warhead, mass produce-able, solid rocket missiles – Someone might wake up?
Combined with the speed & pace of Iranian progression and the abysmal track record of western intelligence, one wonders why the President of the United States, his entire administration, and his democratic allies in the US House & Senate are all sitting on their asses & taking their sweet time doing little to nothing? No deadlines, no pressure, no sanctions, missile defense cuts, appeasement – I like many others am wondering what world exactly is President Obama living in, because it is certainly not the real world..
Ed looks at former Sec Def William Cohen, who himself is scratching his head wondering why multiple kill (a counter to multiple warhead missiles) and other missile defense technologies are being cut in Obama’s multi trillion dollar budgets?! Ed himself is focused on Noko tests and launches in the post, but the emphasis on rogue regimes is clear, these Iranian missiles are developed, built & tested based on N. Korean proliferation technology.
In the face of Pyongyang’s intransigence, we should be escalating our missile-defense research and deployment, and make a big show of it. We should take shots at the next missile Kim launches to make the point; [...]
Indeed, yet somehow I can’t shake the feeling that in this administration there is a higher likelihood we will shortly settle the outer galaxy, than see a US missile defense launch against a rogue regime live test target. Seems like we will have to settle for sending out poor Mrs. Clinton to the podium to make a few short statements in angry diplospeak, couched in calls to return to six party talks. This hardly instills much confidence in America’s allies abroad, I can’t imagine it being any more comforting to Americans themselves.
I should add that the hundred million dollars funding package for Israel’s continued Arrow-3 development has been approved by the USA in its current budget framework, maybe jointly we can come up with a more ‘rigorous’ response to these growing threats, one at least hopes.. As mentioned, we will all require advancements in our current systems & software to challenge & out-pace these newest missiles.
Shadow Government: Livni Finally Builds Long Awaited Coalition; May Tap Kerry for Minister of Apologetics? (Video)
Perfectly positioned to the left of both Baraks!!
The road to a successful coalition for now opposition leader Tzipi Livni has been a long and hard one. Initially, with an existing coalition already in place and deposed PM Olmert stepping down, Livni swept into the Kadima leadership role with a strong 1% win over her party rival Shaul Mofaz, securing her shot at being the next PM. Swinging into action last September with Olmert’s coalition majority in place, she deftly blew through the allocated month time frame and requested the extension. Six weeks of hand ringing later Israel was off to elections with no viable Livni led coalition..
On Election night, Livni again pulled out a strong win, 1 seat over rival Benjamin Netanyahu. She declared victory on TV and set out to once again build the coalition to end all coalitions. Unfortunately for Livni over the past 2+ years her views and policies have run so far left that she has out positioned herself in her own center party, as evidenced by her last gasp desperation win over Mofaz. By the same token, she has in fact out positioned herself with the country’s center electorate! The result, an inability to secure yet again a coalition after the 2009 elections, despite having an albeit slim plurality of seats in the Knesset.
Vindication! Presenting the Livni Coalition..
(JPOST) Kadima leader Tzipi Livni finally formed a “government” on Monday, seven months after failing to build a real coalition when she had the opportunity to do so in October.
Most of Kadima’s former ministers will return to the roles that they held in the last government in a shadow capacity. For instance, Ronnie Bar-On will be Kadima’s shadow finance minister, former interior minister Meir Sheetrit will be in charge of matters related to local authorities and Avi Dichter will head the party’s task force on internal security.
The one former minister who will not hold the same “post” is former transportation minister Shaul Mofaz, who will be Kadima’s shadow defense minister. [...]
“We will watch over the ministers in the current government and provide an active alternative to everything they do,” a Kadima spokesman said.
Wonderful! Israeli government is not inept enough as it is, what we really need is ANOTHER inept Israeli government!! This second one will seek to undermine and provide alternatives to every thing the 1st government tries to do. And what pray tell do we have for alternatives today? Let’s start with whole sale surrender of Israeli interests to Barack #1, in the USA by skipping right over Palestinian signed commitments to creating peace, and going directly to the reward segment of final status issues. Woohoo, it’s a party!!
(Haaretz) Opposition leader Tzipi Livni on Tuesday called the road map peace plan “bad” for Israel, in the wake of Foreign Minster Avigdor Lieberman’s repeated statements in support of the United Nations-backed initiative.
She said Israel should rather opt for the Annapolis parameters, launched in 2007, which stipulate direct negotiations between Israel and the Palestinian Authority.
“According to the plan, a final-status agreement will only be reached in its third stage; as such, there will be an excuse not to talk. Refraining from talking will bring us to a situation in which we won’t have a partner for talks,” Livni, the Kadima chairwoman, told Army Radio. [...]
Road Map!? Step by step implementation of Peace!? Dismantling of terror infrastructure & endless hate filled anti Jew incitement!? Holding on to concessions for an ACTUAL peace deal as opposed to just giving them away slice by slice!? What is all this crazy talk and who signed off on this road map nonsense? Must have been Livni’s ‘confidante and political spiritual father’ Ariel Sharon.
Please proceed directly to the ‘Saudi Murder Plan’..
Who cares if the Palestinians can govern, hold up their end of the deal, or that for example Hamas rules Gaza like a terrorist mini state and is closing in on the West Bank as well. Not John Kerry apparently, in the US Senate Foreign Relations Committee last week with UN / Peace Quartet special envoy Tony Blair testifying, Kerry pretty much had this to say..
- We cannot afford to miss this opportunity..
- We must pursue peace now with urgency to avoid radicalization..
Kerry’s description of the Saudi Peace Plan in that hearing..
[...] one particularly promising diplomatic opportunity & opening, King abdullah’s Saudi initiative that many felt did not get the attention it deserved when it was proposed in 2002..
Ahh yes, the poor maligned ‘Saudi Peace Seekers’ ploy, one of my favorites
Senator Kerry called for a new ‘regional roadmap’, in which the key aspect is the empowering of those Palestinians committed to peace, called for the President to be ‘firm’, ensuring that not only economic progress occur, but political progress on a Palestinian state move forward. He made ‘calls for action not words to freeze settlements and show concrete results’. Senator Kerry is an apologist, so we forgive him in advance for his naiveté. But even he is calling for the road map in here somewhere, buried between all the stern ‘tough love’ mumbo jumbo and praise for the ‘peace loving Saudis’.
Our leader of the exciting new Shadow Coalition Government is like Kerry also a big fan of the concession train, but the leader of Israel’s ‘center party’ is seemingly to the left of Ehud Barak, John Kerry, and even Barak Obama himself these days! Her detachment from the electoral realities and mood of Israel is stunning. It is little wonder why she hasn’t been able to form any substantial coalitions of late..
F35i Teething problems
Unfortunately for Lockheed, and Israel the F35 story still has no happy ending. The plane is over budget by tens of millions per aircraft, late, overshadowed by its more specialty capable yet now canceled big brother (F-22), and crucially for Israel - Is sealed off electronically.
Without the ability to access internal computers and replace key systems with Israeli variants, for which IAF weaponry & training are already in place it has become tough to justify outlaying so much money for stealth capability. As a result the heat is on so to speak here in Israel, and Boeing is making the big push for a huge interim win, with the F15SE..
[...] Meanwhile, Israel’s negotiations with the U.S. administration and Lockheed are expected to end with a deal early next year. For now, the gaps between the two sides are significant.
There are a number of issues in addition to the cost of the F-35, including disagreement over Israel’s request for modifications in equipping the aircraft with locally produced electronics, the plane’s relatively short range and limited bomb capacity, and the costs for establishing a separate maintenance infrastructure for the aircraft.
Another major issue is the projected delivery schedule, with 2014 being the earliest date the F-35 would arrive in Israel, and 2016 the date for the first operational squadron.
In comparison, some aspects of the Silent Eagle package make it a promising possibility. Boeing is talking about a $100 million price tag per aircraft, a significantly longer range than the F-35, and a maintenance infrastructure that could be based on the one for Israel’s F-15 fleet. Delivery may begin by 2012. [...]
The Future Is Now?
Clearly the competition is fierce for multi billion dollar contracts, my last blog about the topic generated interested visits from both companies. Both these export aircraft are new on the market and each would benefit greatly being fielded by the Israeli Air Force. Personally, I believe we may see in the end both aircraft do just that. The original tender was for a possible 75 JSF aircraft. Israel could in theory push out the JSF procurement to a later date, since arrival dates are so far out in any case and put together a squadron starting around 2018-19, or even into the next decade. By then the US would likely not waste everyone’s time with computer issues, the JSF would have seen some longer term testing, and the fighter will have been improved.
In the interim, 25 additional F15-SEs could dovetail nicely into the established maintenance, training and equipment pipeline more quickly & cheaply. We need solutions in the near term. The F35 has shorter range, and less room for weapons. These delivery dates of 2016 are eons away. When Iran went Islamic Fundamentalist, the Shah’s brand new F-16 order was canceled. Israel took over the procurement and the new F-16s first saw action taking out the Osirak Iraqi nuclear reactor a few short months later.
No Strike For You!
That does not appear to be the legacy of the F35 to share. The F35 is late to the party and under dressed, the F15 Strike Eagle will have to do the job in the near term. In that case we should order more of them. Currently, the F35 doesn’t allow us to enter crucial systems, which makes us dependent all the more on the USA – We have seen how this type of disastrous dependence can now affect our nation’s very ability to field these weapons and defend ourselves, most recently under President Obama. This is akin to buying a car from the Obama owned General Motors and he gets to keep the keys, deciding when we are allowed to drive and when not.
Today everyone is ‘Smart Shopping’
This new encroachment style is not something we should encourage, least of all in our weapons systems - stealth or no stealth. We need a fighter that has the range, and systems that can defend us from Iran. I know according to the Obama school of thought this may be sometime in 2017.. Unfortunately President Obama is wrong. Those are Israel’s needs, they are not currently focused on 2017, with limited access to systems yet! I think we should fill them today and let the JSF wait for tomorrow, pick up later short range VTOL versions in greater quantity perhaps with our longer arm strike and interceptor needs hopefully filled.