U.S. using Israeli airborne targeting platform in Afghanistan

Geostrategy-Direct-Week of January 29, 2002

The United States has deployed an Israeli-manufactured airborne targeting pod in the war in Afghanistan. Officials said the Litening II targeting pod is one of several Israeli systems being used in the Afghan war. The Litening, manufactured by Rafael, Israel Armament Development Authority, has been installed on the F-16 multi-role fighters in the U.S. Air Force. Officials said the U.S. Air Force is purchasing 24 Litening II-plus pods.

The new Litening is said to have a laser spot capability that an American rival does not possess. The system allows F-16 pilots to fire laser-guided missiles and bombs by locking onto a laser spot placed on a ground target by U.S. troops.

The Lantirn pod, manufactured by Lockheed Martin, cannot do the same. The Lantirn contains a laser designator that identifies targets and guides laser-seeking bombs. Lockheed Martin has launched production of its new-generation Advanced Targeting Pod.

Aging F-16s have been upgraded with Litening II pods. The system, marketeted by Rafael's partner Northrop Grumman, costs about $1.3 million.



India confident proposed Phalcon sale from Israel will go ahead

BBC Monitoring South Asia - January 15, 2002

[With thanks to Arms Trade Newswire]

India Tuesday 15 January said it was confident that the proposed sale of three Phalcon Airborne Warning and Control System (AWACS) from Israel will go through. Discounting media reports quoted to US officials that Washington had told Tel Aviv to keep on temporary hold the sale of these advanced planes, India's Defence Minister George Fernandes told PTI: "As far as I know we are getting them. I have no idea where these reports to the contrary are coming from," Fernandes, who is leaving on a six-day visit to the US on Tuesday night said, adding that the issue could figure in his talks with the US leaders.

He was commenting on reports that US had urged Israel to defer selling arms to India because of the military confrontation brewing between India and Pakistan. Last week the visiting Israeli Foreign Minister Shimon Peres had indicated in reply to a spate of questions on the estimated 1bn US dollar deal that it may go through. The Phalcon planes are produced by Israel and therefore do not require US approval. But because America is a close ally, Israel prefers to have all deals cleared by Washington.

An Indian External Affairs Ministry spokesperson said reports of pressure on Israel not to sell arms supplies to India were not correct. A similar Israeli deal for sale of Phalcon AWACS to China had fallen through two years ago when Washington objected to the sales.

Highly placed Indian air force sources here said that the Chinese sales had not gone through as along with the outright sales, the deal also entailed transfer of technology for making these highly sophisticated planes in China. They said Washington had raised legitimate objections to the transfer of technology as a number of main and sub-systems of the Phalcons were American. The sources said that they did not visualize any such hitch with India as New Delhi was only asking for outright purchase of these aircraft and not transfer of technology.

Fernandes, as well as other defence officials, did not comment on other reports that US officials had raised stronger objections to the reported interest shown by Israel to sell Arrow-2 anti-tactical ballistic missile defence system to India. The system is a joint US-Israeli venture for which Washington has provided a majority of the development funding. The US officials claimed that the Arrow sale may violate the Missile Technology Control Regime (MTCR).



TEL AVIV [MENL] -- Israel's military has approved the launch of a $390 million project to construct a communications satellite meant to link all three branches and conduct joint operations far from the country's borders.

The project was approved in principle in September and provides the green light for a feasibility study to ensure that Israeli contractors can supply the technology required to meet the demands of the military. The study is expected to be completed within weeks, at which point the military and Defense Ministry will debate whether the project should enter production.

Defense officials and industry sources said Israel's air force will head the project. They said the air force is studying a proposal for a satellite that will also provide commercial services in an effort to save money. The air force is also involved in the development and production of the Ofeq-class reconnaissance satellite.


IAI to supply new Fast Patrol Boats to the Israel Navy

15 January 2002 Defence Systems Daily

Israel Aircraft Industries, Ltd. (IAI) and the Israel Ministry of Defense (IMoD) have signed an agreement for the supply of new generation Super Dvora Mk. II-I fast patrol boats for the Israel Navy. Under terms of the agreement, the IAI Ramta Division will design and build six of the new generation boats with options to build five additional craft.

This acquisition of fast patrol craft from IAI-Ramta is part of the Israel Navy's multi-year procurement plan in which earlier versions of the "Dabur"and "Dvora" class patrol craft, also designed and built by IAI-Ramta, will be replaced by the new generation Mark II-I. The Mark II-I has superior operational capabilities over the boats they replace with higher interception speeds against sea targets, increased operational ranges, inclusion of more advanced weapon systems, and better human engineering and accommodations for the crews.

The Israel Navy in conjunction with the IMoD carried out a comprehensive evaluation of the best alternatives to meet navy requirements for its next generation fast patrol craft. Among the alternatives was procurement of the patrol craft in the United States, using US military aid in light of the severe budget constraints in local currency. Parallel to this was a determined effort to identify Israeli currency sources to enable production of the next generation patrol craft in Israel.

IMoD director-general, MGen. Amos Yaron (ret.) requested that a detailed feasibility study be undertaken into the cost of purchasing the fast patrol boats in Israel. The results of this study clearly showed that producing the boats in Israel would save over 25% compared to the US procurement option. Production of the initial six Mark II-I fast patrol boats by IAI-Ramta has already begun, and will cover several fiscal years.

With the eventual phasing-in of the new-generation fast patrol boats, the Israel Navy will possess patrol vessels designed to intercept and counter continued attempts by terror organisations to infiltrate Israel's coastline or smuggle illegal weapons into the region. In addition, the Mark II-I boats will greatly increase the Navy's ability to respond quickly in "search and rescue" operations.


Boeing, IAI to sign joint Arrow manufacturing deal

Globes 15 January 2002

Ran Dagoni, Washington

Sources inform ''Globes'' that Boeing (NYSE: BA) and Israel Aircraft Industries (IAI) will sign an agreement by the end of the month to jointly manufacture the Arrow anti-ballistic missile system in Israel and the US.

''Defense News'' also reports in its latest issue that Israel will ask for $100 million in aid per year for four years from the US to finance the joint manufacture. The agreement will earn the two companies hundreds of millions of dollars a year, and will guarantee a regular supply of missiles to Israel for years.

Boeing Space & Communications Group spokesperson Marta Newhart told "Globes", she "is prevented from commenting on the agreement," but added, "Boeing has good and fruitful relations with IAI. We're constantly trying to expand them."

The two companies have settled most of the technology transfer disagreements that had caused the negotiations to be suspended last year. At the time, Boeing sources said US export restrictions and the small number of missiles intended for sale to Israel, did not justify a separate production line for the Arrow in the US.

Since then, the Department of Defense and Congress have agreed to help Boeing set up an Arrow production line. Congress budgeted $20 million to Boeing to finance the cost of the production line.

''Defense News'' reports a formula guaranteeing that Boeing's production of the Arrow will comply with Missile Technology Control Regime (MTCR) regulations has been set. The MTCR sets the terms for the sale of ballistic missiles with ranges greater than 300 km and warheads heavier than 500 kg of explosives, their components, and sub-systems.

Israel hopes that the Department of Defense will agree to finance production of the missiles, at a cost of $100 million a year for four years. It is unclear whether the US will agree to the request, how much money the Americans will offer, and whether the money will be part of Israel's annual military aid package or an alternative source. It will probably be impossible to use the current military aid to finance production of the Arrow, since the aid has already been budgeted for other purposes.

The Arrow is projected to cost over $2 billion by 2010. Israel hopes the US will finance 45% of the cost. The joint Boeing-IAI production agreement refers only to the Arrows designated for Israeli use. There are no export licenses to third countries.

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