Category Archives: Military / Defense

Military / Defense news

Integration Nation: 3 Tiers for Israeli Ballistic Missile Defense Tested

Cooking up the recipe for the World’s 1st multi level integrated Missile Defense System

Israel has been working hard to get a comprehensive ballistic missile defense shield in place..

IAF Arrow 2

IAF Arrow2

The Arrow 2 is deployed against long range Scud / Shihab type missiles from Syria & Iran, currently in 2-3 batteries across Israel. It targets weapons which usually have ranges between 400 to 1200+ KM.

The successor Arrow 3 is itself under high speed joint Israeli US development to counter Iran’s continuous missile advances. It is currently slated according to both US & Israeli officials to be the most advanced medium ballistic missile interceptor around, and is being fast-tracked for development into the new US missile shield announced by the Pentagon last year.

David's Sling / Magic Wand

David's Sling / Magic Wand interceptor

David’s Sling or Magic Wand as it is also called is a medium interception system nearing deployment, it’s goal is to protect against missiles supplied by Iran to both Syria & Hezbollah with ranges of approx 100-200 KM. The Zelzal type weapons that were flattened by the Israeli airforce in the opening hours of the 2nd Lebanon war that can reach Tel Aviv.

Iron Dome

Iron Dome interceptor

Iron Dome, which is also in final testing & production for deployment this year is a short range Qassam & Katyusha rocket defense. Targeting those weapons with 1-30 KM ranges that dropped by the 1000s on Sderot from Gaza.

ABM Shield: You don’t have one of these in Iran do you?

Now word reaches from YNET that Israel has begun testing and simulations on protocols & doctrine for coordinating the various systems into a comprehensive ABM shield, the 1st of its kind in the world..

The security establishment conducted a first-of-its-kind trial run, meant to test the joint operation of several anti missile and rocket defense systems. The aim of the test was to gage the systems’ performance during a missile attack on Israel.

Israeli Air Defense Network Commander Brigadier-General Doron Gavish said it was the first test of its kind conducted in the world. The experiment evaluated the command and control units of each system in order to engineer the ultimate “recipe” for optimal performance when the need arises. “It is a significant test that will give us the knowledge and tools to intercept different threats,” said the head of the Air Force’s defense branch, Lieutenant-Colonel Avi Cohen.

The trial was another step forward for the security establishment and its goal of launching a graded anti-ballistic defense system. [...]

Of course, ABM is not foolproof. Threats can get through and do significant damage, but such an ABM shield can vastly lessen the blow for both critical military installations  & the civilian population centers. It can also serve as a heavy duty deterrent, since certain terror entities & countries do not have such a shield in place by any stretch of the imagination and are fully vulnerable to counter missile attack.

The US Israel Alliance

It is also worth noting for those that often question the benefits of the US Israel alliance, the jointly developed Arrow 2 and these other components have provided the basis for America’s own missile defense platforms over the years, and the Arrow 2/3 will be integrated into America’s own ballistic missile shield as well going forward we have learned from the Pentagon.

With Israel leading the way on a multi tiered system, the 1st of its kind, our friends in the USA will also benefit greatly as whatever we develop & learn in our pioneering efforts will end up being integrated and implemented in American ABM systems down the road, protecting both American civilians & forces in the future from missile attack. That’s good news for all of us, and bad news for our common enemies.

Special Ops: Israel Moving Forward With Super Hercules C-130j

Long Range Infiltrators

A critical component of Israel’s long term TEFEN procurement program in the air involves what most would consider a fairly unglamorous transport upgrade. The Hercules class transports are more often than not looked upon as standard equipment and troop movers, a role the Hercules has been playing in numerous air forces for decades now.

Israel’s original SuperHercules C-130j procurement deal initially started in 2008, when the US Congress was notified by the Pentagon of an impending sale for up to 9 specially designed transports. Back in 2008 deliveries were expected to begin around the 2012 time frame. Haaretz now reports that there is (unconfirmed) movement this week on the transport deal – with Defense Minister Ehud Barak & PM Netanyahu having met with US defense officials..

As Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu was in Washington this week absorbing the full wrath of the Obama administration, the Pentagon and Israel’s defense establishment were in the process of sealing a large arms deal.

According to the deal, Israel will purchase three new Hercules C-130J airplanes. The deal for the three aircrafts, designed by Lockheed Martin, is worth roughly a quarter billion dollars. Each aircraft costs $70 million. The aircrafts were manufactured specifically for Israeli needs, and include a large number of systems produced by Israel’s defense industry [...]

C-130j Hotrods

My understanding of these matters is that the Hercs would cost somewhat more, in the 100 million range mostly due to some serious upgrades above the Super Hercules’ already impressive renewed electrical & systems roster. The total package with optional aircraft over the multi-year deal was estimated to possibly reach 1.9 Billion dollars if all options were exercised.

Word was that we had asked Lockheed to equip the new Israeli transports with unique in flight air refueling capability to ‘extend their operational range’. This beyond the substantial modifications Israel has requested electronically to mate the transports with Israeli systems and electronic counter measures. These initial Hercs are clearly of the Special Operations variety designed for deep insertion & support roles for both men & matériel.

c130j_israel

The US has been active in Israel with its own C-130js as well. This US transport photo is courtesy of the USAF - Seen at Israel's southern IAF superbase Nevatim in Dec. 09. The location where Americans man the X-Band Ballistic Missile Defense Radar positioned in Israel by our good friend G.W Bush.

Drop & Mop

Israel has a long history of unique Hercules operational roles, the most famous being the Entebbe hostage rescue which saw Israel insert special forces all the way into Africa while taking over an international airport. If these reports are true, Israeli pressure to get this pre-Obama administration deal on track & moving would be a major coup and signal some cooperation between the IDF & Pentagon, as arms sales to Israel from the US have apparently been quite frozen on almost every level since Obama took office. Including helicopters, heavy ordinance JDAM bombs, electronics & reserve supplies of jet fuel for war contingencies.

Congress pledges support

Despite White House humiliation & Israeli arm twisting of late there is a tidal wave of congressional support to keep Israel on the cutting edge militarily, and supply us with assistance pledges built into the US Israel alliance. Just this week Nita Lowey, the powerful chairwoman of the US House appropriations subcommittee on foreign operations who oversees the military & aid packages for Israel re-iterated solidly that whatever rifts may develop with the White House, the military aid would still be forthcoming..

“There is no question in my mind that the 10-year memorandum of understanding is solid,” Nita Lowey, chairwoman of the US House appropriations subcommittee on foreign operations, said of the decade-long US aid plan under which $3 billion will be going to Israel this year. “There is strong bipartisan support for Israel in the Congress that will not falter.”

She said that continuing support is also in place when it comes to the US commitment to Israel maintaining a qualitative military edge over its Arab neighbors and other forms of military coordination.

“The military cooperation, the intelligence cooperation, the focus on Iran, is solid and strengthens every year,” said Lowey, who also sits on the House Intelligence and Homeland Security committees. [...]

With so much pressure coming out of the Obama admin these days, these displays of support & friendship are heartening to say the least. We require our ally’s help, SuperHercs & all.

Leech: Obama Creating Israel Crisis to Bleed Out Concessions (Updated BlowBack)

Worst Relations in 35 Years?
Obama has gone Rogue, declared war on America’s allies.

Confirmation begins to flow out like sewage how the President of the United States cynically drummed up an artificial crisis, with the ally his administration less than 4 days ago called – ‘The best friend America ever had’. Worse, the President was widely reported personally consulting, instructing & coordinating with Hillary Clinton before her scathing 45 minute scream fest toward Netanyahu. One gathers they were rather busy planning & effectuating this engineered crisis, and Chicago style blackmail campaign.

Don’t you worry, some of his best friends are Jewish.

All of this is clearly designed to squeeze & bleed from Israel yet MORE concessions, in order to shore up the Obama administration’s faltering policies & world view. The President of the United States is frankly endangering the State of Israel playing these games. Let’s be clear, this seems worse than Bush & Baker (Baker while in office at State famously declared “F**k the Jews”), at least then Israel wasn’t being strung up by a noose with an existential military threat.

Haaretz illuminates the insane concessions Obama is trying to leech out, the threats he is using against Israel follow just below..

  • Reverse building decisions in Jerusalem and implement a freeze, despite previous agreements with the USA that building in Jerusalem would continue.
     
  • Make appeasement gestures to the Palestinians who despite an open Israeli invitation for unconditional talks, refuse to negotiate.
     
  • Release hundreds of Palestinian prisoners, terrorists!
     
  • Withdraw IDF defense forces from additional territory in the West Bank!! Transfer control to Palestinians (Endangering Israel is the President’s specialty it seems). All of it without ANY peace deal whatsoever.
     
  • End the Quartet endorsed blockade of Terrorist controlled Gaza, territory we just finished having to go to war with and allow Gaza to rearm full force.
     
  • Remove yet more security checkpoints and security implements in the West Bank, despite effusive praise from both the USA & Tony Blair over how much Israel had already done in this regard, and glowing praise over how Israel has helped the Palestinian economy flourish.
     
  • Issue declarations that indirect talks with the Palestinians who only demand more & more, deal with all the conflict’s core issues including; statehood declaration, borders, refugees, Jerusalem, security, settlements. In other words, enter these indirect talks & allow our GREAT FRIEND President Obama to moderate & impose his own solution – One which will clearly be entirely drafted by the Arab League itself, and hoisted upon Israel’s democracy.

Backstabbing Obama sure to be popular fellow in Israel now..

How can we possibly take the President at his word? His credibility internationally and especially with Israel is borderline near zero. This guy keeps breaking deals with us left, right & center..

  1. The settlement issue (another crisis a few months ago) was the 1st deal Obama broke with us, when he disregarded pledges made by G.W. Bush to Ariel Sharon.
  2. The second deal broken just this week by Obama, was the acknowledgment that Jerusalem would NOT be subject to the and I quote Hillary Clinton: “Unprecedented concession by Israel” to freeze settlements in the West Bank.
  3. Now a third deal has been broken by the President with Israel, regarding the format & substance of the issues to be handled in indirect talks. Israel refused to negotiate core issues by US mediation for what is now obvious reasons.

The President seems to believe the word of the United States of America carries little meaning, no bearing on trust – This is truly heartbreaking for many hundreds of millions around the world who so admire American ideals. Poland learned this, the Czechs learned this, the UK, now Israel knows it too. We are under attack from our #1 ally!? It is bewildering & shocking.

The bludgeon for Obama’s threats?

Vital supplies, jet fuel, & armaments needed to defend Israel from an Iranian multi front war.. This beyond the apparent arms freeze Israel has been under since Obama took office. All of these issues, part & parcel of pledges to Israel made previously to garner our patience regarding a strike on Iran. Now, apparently even the entire American Israel relationship itself is being used as a threat judging by statements from US officials on Sunday shows.

Requests of the Palestinians? The intransigent party who refuses to negotiate? NONE.

Obama & Abbas

The FIRST foreign leader Obama called immediately on his inauguration to the White House? This man here, Mahmoud Abbas! Not UK, Not France, Not Israel, Not Russia.. He signalled then loud & clear what his only priority would be in the middle east. What is it with Obama & the Palestinians?

How can we trust this President? Is he living on the same planet as the rest of us!?

There can be no trust here, these irrational demands, artificial crises, and plain and simple backstabbing behavior must be REJECTED  by Israel. Obama is either trying to get our country destroyed, or bring down the government of a friendly country & ally. The majority of Israeli opinion cannot support such irrational appeasement demands just to satisfy President Obama’s Palestinian fetish, or to prop up his failing policies.

Last week the US claimed we insulted them! What was that whole Biden speech about!? Days later Obama has embarrassed Biden way more than we could have even if we had tried. Obama made Biden out to look like a liar, intent on misleading the Israeli people. I doubt that was Joe’s intentions, I believe he may have been just as blindsided as Netanyahu.

div

UPDATE: This gambit may not roll as ‘Chicago style’ as Obama / Axelrod want..

If we see the counter 1 , 2 punch of both Israeli domestic as well as American domestic resistance to the President’s alliance rift making games, the upper cut for Obama may be a painful one. The Administration deftly used the Friday trash cycle in the US and the Israeli shutdown Sabbath to launch their coordinated volley. But today is Monday, and Israel’s coalition has spoken..

The news is less than ideal for Axelrod & CO.

While officials in Washington were quoted as saying that Netanyahu would have to choose between his ties with US President Barack Obama’s government and his coalition partners, ministers and MKs took steps to ensure that he would not have to make such a difficult choice.

Despite American pressure, not one of the 30 ministers in Netanyahu’s cabinet has expressed support for freezing construction over the pre-1967 border in Jerusalem. A check among the five Labor ministers found that they were all in favor of continuing to build in neighborhoods like Ramat Shlomo and Gilo, where the American administration opposes building.

“The consensus in Israel supports continuing to build in Jerusalem and that’s not going to change,” a Labor minister said. [...]

AIPAC has issued a rare statement in opposition to the US administration’s actions.

On a Sunday night no less. They are not thrilled to put it mildly it would seem with the public undressing of Israel for such a politically cynical purpose, nor one coming only a week out from the annual conference to boot.

Hillary Clinton, who just finished berating Bibi for 45 minutes & Netanyahu will both be there. That will likely make the Administration look even more volatile & erratic than it already appears to onlookers everywhere, if they have to scale this back!? Biden & Clinton are both going to take huge lumps to the face it would seem for his Majesty Barack before all is said & done I think.

Smart Power!

The last key piece is American opinion, in this case fronted by their elected representatives. It is still Sunday night in America, so we will have to see how the reaction unfolds this week. I question the logic, foreign policy and thinking currently going on at the White House, in this I am most certainly not alone. Bibi, Obama, Biden, Clinton, everyone it seems comes out of this pained & bruised. Only the Palestinians benefit?? Has America become a Palestinian client state?

They call it “Smart Power” for a reason I guess, it just eludes me because I’m stupid.

Confirmation: Senior IAF Officers Question JSF Plans

Deja Vu

Last week I was complaining about the JSF fighter, and asking if we had ‘screwed the pooch’ on the planned purchase due to the fighters legendary problems.

JPOST now confirms that senior Israeli Air force officers are re-thinking the viability of our JSF plans due to the delays, and considering more F-15s as a more logical solution. That’s pretty much what I figured in last week’s post, and many others. Last week wasn’t the 1st time I’ve questioned this particular procurement piece..

In September 09 I wrote this..

Initially we were looking at 35-45 Million. Then it went to 50 Million. There was no shortage of shock when the figures jumped to 65 Million, this is when debate started to really heat up because well, the spiral was going upward out of control. In the USA the Pentagon itself was non too pleased either.

Then we started hearing 85 Million dollars per plane. I know my eyes popped out of my head – But 100 million for a stock variety JSF nulls one of the main JSF thrusts & selling points, it’s former afford-ability. At that rate Israel clearly cannot pick up the numbers previously envisioned. At higher rates it becomes questionable whether we can pick up any at all..

What’s a few Billion between friends?

The F35ii Lightning.. No telling when it will actually strike though.

Now we are learning the plane will cost over 135 Million in America, for US purposes.. and that’s before that number has frozen.

If you tack on Israeli requirements (still unresolved after 3 years of negotiation) we best figure minimum 150 Million, probably much closer to 200 Million. Hello! TOTALLY UNPROCURABLE for us in numbers we envisioned. We could buy twice as many F15s, which as JPOST says - are ready to get all the way to Iran.. loaded to the hilt.

In May 2009 I wrote the following while evaluating the new Boeing F15-SE as a contender to replace our JSF order..

25 additional F15-SEs could dovetail nicely into the established maintenance, training and equipment pipeline more quickly & cheaply. [...]  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.

Earlier in May when the new F-15 was unveiled I was beefing about the JSF costs in a familiar refrain, comparing it to an equivalent F15 purchase instead..

In the long run the costs savings for Israel may be substantial, in training, maintenance, and upgrades to existing F-15 fleets.

Confirmation

I’m therefore less than shocked to read the excellent Yaakov Katz at JPOST pen the following yesterday..

Major delays in the production of the fifth-generation stealth F-35 Joint Strike Fighter will likely lead to the postponement of Israel’s procurement plans, which initially set the signing of a contract by the end of March.

One top IDF officer told The Jerusalem Post on Sunday that the Defense Ministry was unlikely to sign a letter of agreement (LOA) with the Pentagon before the end of 2010. “Everything now appears to be pushed off by at least a year,” the senior officer said.

On Sunday night, IDF Chief of General Staff Lt.-Gen. Gabi Ashkenazi flew to Washington for talks with top Pentagon officials. Ashkenazi plans to speak with his American counterpart, Adm. Michael Mullen, and other Pentagon officials about the delays in the production of the JSF and how it will affect the IDF. [...]

Nor does it surprise

That such a tale would continue along these lines..

Israel had planned to order a first squadron of 25 jets within the coming months and to procure another 50 by the end of the decade. Due to the delays, some IAF officers are calling for a review of the procurement plans and to consider the possible purchase of additional F-15Is made by Boeing Company. Israel already has a squadron of F-15Is that are capable of carrying massive amounts of weaponry and flying long distances, including to Iran.

“There is some thought in this direction,” a top IAF source said recently. “Based on the development requirements, the F-35 is supposed to be a more advanced plane primarily since it is stealth, but delays in the production have led to new thinking within the IAF.”

Ya think?

This whole contract has been bungled on every level. Back in America the plane is not ready, its costs have literally quadrupled from initial estimates. The Pentagon started playing games with Israel that are yet to be resolved, not allowing Israel access to key computers or the ability to install IAF electronics, weapons & systems. That really added insult to wallet injury. It’s a cluster fark A to Z thus far from every end.

It’s not only Israel either, our American friends & allies (Well if you consider the Brits allies lol) are taking it on the jaw with this weapons system too. Big mess, Lockheed we love you.. But what the hell is going on over there!?

Friends in high places

Another point of interest is the fact that our guys are talking F15I instead of F15SE. Could it be because we already know the Obama administration won’t sell us the new F15SE without making us jump through flaming hoops? Can’t be, American Jewish Democrats assure us this is the friendliest US administration EVAH!

Buyers Remorse? : Joint Strike Fighter Woes Continue

Maybe we can walk to Iran?

Israel is still negotiating the endless contract for the JSF fighter, who’s sky rocketing price & endless delays are now becoming the stuff of legends.

Via the Weekly Standard we visit Aviation Week where rumors now abound of what some are calling the JSF manufacturing disaster, the fighter is now years behind due to problems and delayed flight testing. We will never see it by the 2014 time frame envisioned, which itself is two years behind what Israel had initially projected..

If February was a bad news month for the Joint Strike Fighter, with the program boss fired, a 13-month delay in test and a two-year slip in Air Force initial operational capability, look out for March. A Government Accountability Office report is rolling down the tracks, along with a Selected Acquisition Report (SAR) which, as we told you in Defense Technology International a month ago, is almost certainly going to record a critical Nunn-McCurdy breach.

Meanwhile, the flight test program continues to log an all-time slow record. [...]

The Obama administration along with Sec Def Gates have nailed the F-22 coffin shut. Despite claims to the contrary and attempts to soft pedal the issue officially in Israel – Our arms purchases from the US are moving at a glacial pace. We still don’t have resolution regarding Apache Longbow attack helicopter upgrades which I maintained were frozen by the Obama administration along with access to several other platforms. It’s now been a year that we are negotiating for half a dozen chopper upgrades for a helicopter we already fly, can you say deep freeze?

All this JSF woe leaves Israel, not too mention US forces in a bit of a lurch. There’s no JSF any time soon, and interim replacement platforms are simply seemingly not even on the menu for Israel to look at (F-15SE). None of it bodes particularly well when one considers the chorus of voices ever rising that the JSF simply ain’t that great in the 1st place..

The fighter is, and has been, plagued by delays, cost overruns, spats with allies, all underscored by the fact that the JSF isn’t that great of a jet. The Russian PAK-FA, which took to the skies this month, is already purported to be a superior air-to-air platform — though it won’t be fully operational for a few years. Moscow has no problem exporting their best gear to second and third world nations, and the Russians take particular delight in providing nations hostile to U.S. interests with advanced weaponry. Considering that proclivity to sell to bad guys, we could be facing the PAK-FA in air-to-air combat in under a decade.

So will we be ready? The F-35′s long list of failures is opening up some critical planning issues, problems that could end up critically degrading America’s abilities to fight and win wars a few miles down the road. The Obama administration is taking a colossal risk in canceling the F-22 program and sticking all their eggs in the Joint Strike Fighter basket. [...]

Did we screw the pooch on this one?

Israel faces much of the same, only we are more boxed in. We don’t have the minimum allocation of F-22s the USA has in stock & on order before the program runs its course. We may be looking at a few decades where our new superiority fighter (If it is ever delivered) is seemingly inferior to what our enemies can buy on the open market. That would be disastrous. The Obama administration maintains its claim that Israel’s military superiority is a top priority, while selling everything we have to the Gulf like it is going out of style.. In parallel we are being limited on purchases, a perfect storm.

One day we might have to call in the Cavalry

Americans who dislike Israel often claim they don’t want America fighting our wars for us. To date that has never been the case, and haters have just been blowing off steam. Going forward however, if we can’t get our hands on the best tech with the ability to customize it to our needs – Precisely the scenario now unfolding with the JSF contract, that may very well change. A situation which is just as unacceptable to us as it is to America.

It is dangerous entrusting our security to others, and only more so entrusting it to President Obama – His priorities simply lie elsewhere. Unfortunately for us, we sleep in the bed the American voters made.

Fuel My Fire: IAF Training For Long Distance Love

Shades of Osirak – Operation Opera

June 7th, 1981 eight fully loaded F-16 fighter bombers successfully penetrated Iraqi airspace & delivered a knockout blow to Saddam Hussein’s Osirak nuclear reactor which was scheduled to come online shortly thereafter, obliterating it utterly. Operation Opera as it was known was meticulously planned for months, its success so astounding in every way it drew both harsh criticism but silent admiration for the tiny country of Israel the world over.

All this was made possible through a fateful turn of events.  The fighters, the first of their kind for the IAF recently delivered from the USA - had originally been destined for the Shah of Iran who had placed the order. The Islamic revolution in 1979 changed all that, they were offered to Israel for purchase instead..

Margin of Error

In order to make the flight, the then IAF 1st generation F16s required some modifications. Their takeoff weight for the mission was so great they stood the chance of perhaps not even being able to liftoff at all. In order to complete the mission the fighter bombers would be flying beyond their allocated bingo fuel allotment, perilously close to the point of being unable to return to base with zero room for error.

So tight in fact was the fuel allotment that IAF ground crews set a dangerous precedent for aviation missions, they moved fuel trucks onto the runways and topped off the F16 tanks with their engines running, mere moments before their pilots hit the afterburners to lift the heavy birds into the sky for their fateful mission.

Now JPOST is reporting in an exclusive that IAF pilots and their ground crews are training for rapid turnaround refueling & topping off tanks on runways once again..

In preparation for long-range missions and possible conflict with Iran, the Israel Air Force has expanded its training programs to include rapid refueling operations on runways.

It’s a dangerous practice since the aircraft’s engines are running while the fuel nozzle is still connected to the jets. The training is for both pilots and ground crews and it is being done to enable the aircraft to carry as much fuel as possible for long-range missions.

Fuel nozzles are traditionally disconnected from fighter aircraft while they are still parked in hangers and before they are rolled out to the runway, where they usually wait for several minutes before takeoff and while burning fuel. The new protocol includes keeping fuel trucks on the runway, having ground personnel reattach the nozzle and fuel the aircraft to the maximum fullness, disconnecting seconds before takeoff.

“We understand that many of our threats and challenges require us to develop a long-range capability,” one senior IAF officer explained. “Part of our preparation includes knowing how to fuel our aircraft so they can have as much fuel as possible.” [...]

Rapid turnaround

The IAF & ground crews already train for danger in routine fighter operations. Israel, unlike say the USA has more limited amounts of fighter aircraft that are tasked with multiple missions in combat operations. IAF fighters in war time are often tasked with rapid refueling & re-armament. Hitting targets, landing, being re-supplied and taxiing straight off the runway for new missions with little to no downtime to make up for lack of numbers & fighters in reserve. All this goes on in the heat off battle, much like an aircraft carrier might operate but on land.

The latest generation F-16I Sufa (Storm) seen here on take-off, is custom built for the IAF for expanded range (Credit - Nir)

The latest generation F-16I Sufa (Storm) seen here on take-off, is custom built for the IAF for expanded range (Credit - Nir)

Heroic efforts

Beyond the dangerous requirements of keeping any raid tasked fighters over supplied with fuel on the runways, Israel in any long range strike will need to be vigilant on four fronts with an eye toward escalation. Hamas, Hezbollah, Syria & Iran could stretch the IAF thin if hostilities flare.. Especially with so many aircraft tasked with a long range mission far from home. Pilots & ground crews are training for extraordinary circumstances, these are no doubt extraordinary times.

After the 1st Gulf War, in honor of the extraordinary achievements of Operation Opera, Dick Cheney presented Major General David Ivry (commander IAF) a satellite photograph of the destroyed Osirak reactor signed – “For General David Ivri, with thanks and appreciation for the outstanding job he did on the Iraqi Nuclear Program in 1981, which made our job much easier in Desert Storm.”

If Israel should need to act again, one wonders.. What exactly would Obama present Israel? His lack of foresight thus far fails to impress.

LINK: Dalem Amos blogs about Popular Mechanics, and Israel’s long range drone Eitan (Heron TP). A critical new piece of the long range puzzle.