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Defense Business  land  Air & Space  Naval  HLS  Intelligence

ucts d o r li P Israein Space AL


Israeli P in Spraocducts e A SPEC IA PROJE L CT

Exclusive Interview with MG Ido Nehoshtan, Commander of the IAF

Special Forces:

Exclusive IDF versus USA Interview Defense Industries with Ido Nehoshtan, the Future Commander According of the IAF to Four Leading CEOs

Special Forces:

IDF VERSUS USA Defense Industries


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The Mossad against the Iraqi Reactor: New Revelations – 30 Years after the Attack

The Next War is already here

The IDF in the Next Five Years:

Not only Iran: The CyberWar HAS already BEGUN

WHAT can be Told about the Coming MULTI-YEAR Plan

Total solutions. It’s in our DNA. Our world-leading solutions meet your most demanding requirements in space, in the air, on land and at sea. We aspire to redefine adaptability, performance and reliability, for today and tomorrow, to fulfill our dream of a safer and secure world.

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Magazine and Website Dear Readers, As Issue No. 3 of IsraelDefense goes to press, we can say with satisfaction that the magazine has gained its place as the center stage of Israeli security world. Thousands of copies of the Hebrew and English editions are circulated to an ever growing public, armed forces personnel, academics, and decision-makers in Israel and abroad.

We have been most encouraged from the warm responses received from around the world. The editorial staff is expanding, and in May we went online with IsraelDefense’s Hebrew-language website. The site is designed to complement the in-depth articles of the printed magazine with regular updates and provide another stage for the exchange of views. Right now

the staff is busy at work on the English-language version of the website. Inaugurating these sites is another opportunity to thank all of the bodies and individuals who have warmly supported us and helped us present security information that is as accessible, compelling, and up-to-date as possible. Issue No. 3 contains a special in-depth interview with the commander of the Israeli Air Force, as well as a survey of the IDF’s special forces units, the IDF’s soon to be approved multi-year plan, and the world of Israeli satellites. Details on defense industry programs for the coming years appear in the series of interviews with the CEOs of the leading Israeli companies. The escalating cyberwar and Hezbollah’s international mechanism for terrorist strikes also receive special surveys, alongside the regular departments. One article that we are especially proud of casts new light on the bombing of the nuclear reactor “Osirak” in Iraq, exactly 30 years ago. We are pleased to announce that the IsraelDefense staff will be involved in a number of exciting conferences in Israel this year. Details will soon be available. In the meantime, we look forward to seeing you in Issue No. 4 and on the website. Sincerely, Israeldefense Editorial Staff

Security or Illusion? Following Major General (ret.) David Ivry’s two articles in IsraelDefense - “Air Superiority to Protect the Surface Vessel” (Issue No. 1) and “Deterrence in the Era of New Wars” (Issue No. 2) – and Brigadier General (res.) Gideon Raz’s response in “The Maritime Arena” (Issue No. 2) On two occasions Israel has been misled by the proponents of massive air power who assured us it would win the battles. In the Yom Kippur War only after Israeli tanks captured all the missile bases in the Canal Zone was the air force able to achieve air superiority and take part in the fighting. This, Israeli armor accomplished without air support. In the Second Lebanon War, too, Israel stacked all its chips on the air force’s ability to knock out Hezbollah. Thus, the reserves were called up only at a later stage in the war and entered the fighting, long past the time they should have. The last of the inhabitants of the Galilee emerged from the bomb shelters only after foreign mediators reached a disgraceful agreement in Lebanon. An important fact that Israelis tend to forget: In 1948 Israel’s survival depended on seaborne imports, among them oil. Without oil, planes couldn’t take off. The Israeli navy consisted of antiquated boats from the illegal immigration fleet, manned by courageous, resourceful sailors who succeeded in overpowering the Egyptian fleet. General (ret.) Ivry distinguishes between strategic deterrence and deterrence in limited conflicts. In limited conflicts, the airplane’s contribution to deterrence is minimal. This was proven in the War in Lebanon, and we see it today with regard to Hezbollah and Hamas. The Cold War offers insight into strategic deterrence. The, American deterrence still rests on the submarine. US air force fighters, the ground army’s aircraft, and the navy’s planes stationed on eleven exorbitantly priced carriers contribute nothing to strategic deterrence. The Soviet Union’s deterrence was also submarine based, but today, due to economic and technological constraints, Russia’s main deterrent force is surface missiles spread out over its vast land mass. Not every addition of force or weapon bolsters security and increases deterrence. Every additional force must be evaluated for its deterrence potential in limited conflicts and general strategy, as well as its cost compared to alternative means. Sometimes the investment in a large, high-priced force induces you to pin your hopes on it. In other words, the force itself generates a new illusion. Major General (ret.) Avraham Botzer served as commander of the Israeli Navy from 1968 to 1972

On the Front Cover: Israeli Air Force Pilot in an F-16’s Cockpit Photography: Ziv Koren Editor-in-Chief: Amir Rapaport Magazine Coordinator: Efrat Cohen English Edition Coordinator: Keren Ribo Graphic Design: Assi Krispin Translation and Linguistic Editing: Moshe Tlamim Staff Members and Contributors: Shlomo Aharonishky, Dani Asher, Eitan Ben-Eliyahu, Moriya Ben-Yosef, Efrat Cohen, Nir Dvori, Ehud Eilam, Abi Har-Even, Itzhak (Jerry) Gershon, Marina Golan, Yehudit Grisaro, Efraim Inbar, David Ivry, Yaakov Katz, Yossi Kaufman, Avigdor Klein, Zaki Shalom, Danny Shalom, Efraim Sneh, Ron Veisberg, Danny Yatom Graphics Department Manager: Assi Krispin Graphic Implementation: Ayelet Savitzki Photography: Meir Azulay, Ziv Koren Publisher: Arrowmedia Israel Ltd. All Rights Reserved © Print: Hadfus Hahadash Ltd. Commercial Manager: Udi Friedman Sales Manager: Itay Gabay Director of Foreign Relations: Keren Ribo Subscription Service Department: Website: Email: IsraelDefense Office Address: 9 Hamovil Street, 2nd Floor, P.O Box: 7107 Zip Code: 44424, Kfar-Saba, Israel

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APRIL 2011

co n te n ts

Features 10 Precision Munitions, Long-Range Attack Exclusive Interview with Major General Ido Nehoshtan, Commander of the IAF


Amir Rapaport

20 Special Forces IDF versus USA Lior Lotan

26 The Next War is Already Here Not only Iran: The Cyberwar is already here Yaakov Katz 32 The IDF in the Next Five Years Everything that can be Told about the Coming Multi-Year Plan Nir Dvori 36 More than just Satellites Dozens of Israeli Products Orbiting in Space Moriya Ben-Yosef and Efrat Cohen 66 Hezbollah’s International Mechanism Preparing the Next Strike: A Comprehensive Survey Ronen Salomon 72 The Mossad AGAINST the Iraqi Reactor New Revelations – 30 Years after the “Osirak” Bombing Danny Shalom and Amir Rapaport

Sections 42 Defense Business 52 Land 56 Air & Space 58 Naval 62 HLS 64 Intelligence


82 Books

Columns 08 Amir Rapaport 31 David Ivry 39 Tal Inbar 65 Danny Yatom 80 Hanan Gefen, Efraim Inbar Avigdor Klein


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June-July 2011, Issue No. 3






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IDF Logistics Base

Meir Azulay Meir Azulay is a senior photojournalist, formerly of the Hebrew-language dailies, Yedioth Ahronoth and Ma’ariv, whose photos have captured many of the most dramatic moments in Israel’s history

“A master sergeant at an IDF logistics base – where he’s also responsible for military boots. Thousands of boots in need of repair come to him each month . . . This is how I saw the great guy . . . Somebody finally took an interest in his hard and dreary task, but one that gives the troops on the front lines a sense of relief and security!!!”

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5 Years, Countless Mistakes


The mother of all mistakes. The day after the Israeli soldier Gilad Shalit was kidnapped and bundled off to the Gaza Strip in June 2006, a senior IDF officer met with Prime Minister Ehud Olmert and proposed immediate negotiations with Shalit’s abductors – Hamas (the Islamic Resistance Movement). The first hours and days after the kidnapping are critical, the officer explained. The abductors are probably bewildered with their “catch” and haven’t thought out their next step. Even if Israel has no intention of answering their demands or even engaging them in negotiations, it would be wise just to make the appearance of negotiating. This is how all Israeli governments have handled these situations up till now. Even the government that sent Sayeret Matkal (Israel’s elite special forces unit) to Entebbe in Uganda to free the Air France hostages (July 1976) negotiated with the captors. Negotiation forces the kidnappers to connect with the outside world, and the media might be able to expose them. The officer’s arguments sounded logical to Olmert, but he couldn’t act on them. He had also heard the diametrically opposite argument from the IDF’s most-senior officer – the chief of staff, Lieutenant General Dan Halutz. According to Halutz, the abduction was an opportunity to “settle” things in Gaza, to punish Hamas in a way that convinces it to relinquish the Qassam rocket layout that it built across from Israel’s southern settlements. “You take a problem with two unknowns and turn it into an equation with three insoluble unknowns”, the senior officer all but pleaded with Olmert. “The rocket problem and Gilad’s abduction are two different things. Each problem has to be solved separately”. Later, he repeated the same message to his superior – Halutz. But his warnings and logic fell on deaf ears. Olmert announced that he refused to negotiate with the kidnappers. In late June 2006 the IDF launched Operation


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“Summer Rains” in the Gaza Strip, which ended up neither freeing Gilad Shalit nor dismantling Hamas’s rocket layout. Two weeks later Hezbollah abducted two more IDF soldiers on the northern border, and the Second Lebanon War erupted. The bodies of the two kidnapped reservists - Eldad Regev and Udi Goldwasser – that were taken into Lebanon after they had been killed in the Hezbollah attack, near the border fence, were returned in 2008 as part of a prisoner swap. But after five years Gilad Shalit is still in Gaza. Alive. The mistakes continued, even after Israel decided to negotiate with Hamas. The second big mistake was made by Ofer Dekel, the former deputy director of the Shin Bet (Israel Security Agency) whom Olmert appointed to handle the negotiation. Dekel gambled on Egypt as a mediator rather than Germany even though Germany had been more successful in the negotiations with Hezbollah over the two reservists. Political considerations were involved – an interest in catering to Egypt without any connection to Gilad Shalit, and the negotiations reached a dead end. But that didn’t stop Dekel from writing a book while he was still in his position. The Israeli daily Yediot Aharonot even published one of the chapters. As fate would have it, the ministerial committee tasked with approving the publication of books written by state employees ordered it censored, and most of the book hasn’t seen the light of day since. Like Gilad Shalit. Another mistake was to give responsibility to the Shin Bet – rather than the IDF – to determine Shalit’s whereabouts in the Gaza Strip. Yuval Diskin, who retired from his post as Shin Bet chief this May, said, upon retirement, that he regarded the non-return of the Israeli soldier a personal failure. Bottom line: he is right. The Shin Bet was unable to create an operational option to free Gilad (at one point it even blamed the Intelligence Corps for not allocating enough surveillance equipment for locating the soldier).

Photo: AP

A mir R apaport

The kidnapped soldier Gilad Shalit Gilad Shalit

Mistakes were also made in the negotiating tactics. The worst of them was when Israel agreed to receive for perusal Hamas’s name list of prisoners earmarked for release. In the past Israel had refused such lists, and only agreed to release Palestinian prisoners by numbers, not names. Hamas’s list contained the names of the deadliest terrorists in Israel’s jails, those whose actions had cost the lives of scores of Israelis. This effectively shut the door on the continuation of negotiations.


Ron Arad. A comparison can be made between the mistakes in securing Gilad Shalit’s release and those made twenty-three years ago, in the first year of captivity of the air force navigator Ron Arad, who was held by the Amal Organization in Lebanon. At the time, Ron Arad could have been returned to Israel at a “relatively cheap” price: three million dollars (one million for the Lebanese go-between). The defense minister, Yitzhak Rabin, dismissed the terms based on advice he received from the Intelligence Corps. Shortly afterwards, Arad was sold to the Iranians and his trail vanished forever. Over the years Israel has spent fortunes - and was prepared to pay any price, including the release of the most heinous prisoners – if only someone could say what the “price” was. But there was no one to negotiate with. Ironically, in the case of Gilad Shalit, a light appears at the end of the tunnel in the wake of the political upheaval in

Photo: Moshe Milner, Government Press Office

policy, its image in world public opinion will be tarnished. Paradoxically, the more that the threat is based on non- technological means (mass marches on the border are not exactly hitech) the more that Israel’s military- technological superiority is hard-pressed to come up with an answer.

July 11th, 2006: Former Prime Minister Ehud Olmert with the IDF General Staff, two weeks after the abduction of the soldier Gilad Shalit and a day before the Second Lebanon War erupted

Egypt. The interests of three parties have converged: Israel is eager to get the soldier back; Hamas also wants the deal, though with somewhat less enthusiasm than Israel, because unlike Israel, that has an unconditional interest, Hamas scores “high grades” just by keeping the soldier in captivity; and the third party is the new government in Egypt, which is free of the toxic waste of the previous regime vis-à-vis Hamas, and would like to win recognition as a successful intermediary. Israel has been silent on the renewal of the negotiations, but Hamas and Israel are doubtlessly trying to reach an agreement. A stranger would probably have difficulty unraveling the Israeli conundrum whereby prisoners held by the enemy are considered a strategic problem, not just a humanitarian one.


The multi-year plan. The importance of the multi-year plan, discussions on which began in May in the General Staff (and will continue until August), cannot be overstated. The five-year plan is one of the most crucial in the history of the state. Known as “Halamish”, the plan addresses a number of existential issues: the possibility that Israel will be forced to carry out a preventative strike in order to neutralize Iran’s nuclear program; and preparations in the event of war in the near future. Almost all of the wartime scenarios foresee the homefront, including Israel’s own “Big Apple” - Tel Aviv, being hit with an unprec-

edented number of precision guided missiles. The war will not be short, and could last for as long as a month. This too has to be taken into consideration when planning the replenishment of the IDF’s ammunition. What should keep the IDF decisionmakers awake at night is that none of the ambitious money-guzzling projects in the coming years – planes, submarines, tanks, APCs, PGMs (precision guided munitions) and so forth (see special article on the multi-year plan, page 32) will help Israel cope with the giant challenge facing it: Palestinian rioting and attempts to cross the borders, as the PA (Palestinian Authority) approaches its unilateral declaration of statehood in the UN in September. The IDF, by the way, is not sitting idle as September approaches. All training exercises and courses will be put on hold that month, while the entire conscript manpower layout mobilizes for the expected riots. Reservists, too, will probably be called up. From Israel’s point of view, the confrontations it has been dealing with in recent months are not military clashes per se and are not even included in the category of “terrorist” incidents. They stem from the strategy of the Turkish IHH organization (Humanitarian Relief Foundation) and Palestinian organizations to embarrass Israel by forcing it into a no-win situation: if it caves in to the thousands of Palestinians storming the state’s borders, its prestige and deterrence will be eroded; on the other hand, if it implements a mailed-fist


Iran. On this issue, too, Israel is working overtime looking for a solution to the nuclear bomb threat, that is expected to be part of the Ayatollah regime’s arsenal soon. In the meantime, and against the background of mounting concern over the bomb, we can assess the damage caused by the previous head of the Mossad, Meir Dagan. Dagan, who retired half a year ago, is acting vigorously to thwart Prime Minister Binyamin Netanyahu and Defense Minister Ehud Barak from launching a preemptive strike on Iran. Dagan described the attack option as “idiotic” and made no secret of the fact that he questions Netanyahu’s discretion. But can we trust Dagan’s prudence? Few people remember that it was Dagan who advised the government, when he was head of the Mossad, to wage war on Syria when the two reservists were abducted on the northern border and war had already broke out with Hezbollah. The political level regarded his recommendation as weird. Another detail from history (that appears in this issue on page 72): When Prime Minister Menachem Begin gave the order to attack the “Osirak” reactor in Iraq, thirty years ago (June 7, 1981), he did this despite the staunch opposition of the head of the Mossad, Yitzhak (Haka) Hofi, and the chief of military intelligence, Major General Yehoshua Saguy (he even hid the plans from Saguy up until the end). In retrospect, history has recognized Begin’s sagacity. How the dilemma will end, whether or not Israel will attack Iran’s nuclear facilities in Iran? At this stage no one can say. 

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special view ter in

missions MISSIONS on THE the ON EDGE edge OF ofTHE the HORIZON horizon By Amir Rapaport

Major General Ido Nehoshtan, commander of the Israeli Air Force (IAF), remains silent on preparations for a possible attack on Iran, but on all other subjects speaks freely. In a special interview with IsraelDefense he discusses regional instability, the arms race that the IAF is inseparably part of, the delay in the delivery of the F-35I multi-role fighter, plans for strengthening and upgrading the air force and the transition to the type of fighting that calls for absolute accuracy. “The missions are multiplying, and the air force must prepare for every type of mission� 10

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Photo: Meir Azulay The Middle East is in the throes of a frantic arms race, both in numbers of weapons and unbelievable financial costs”, states Major General Ido Nehoshtan, the commander of the Israeli Air Force (IAF). “And the race is going on in almost every country in the region, including organizations like Hamas and Hezbollah. Whoever can buy – buys, and invests all his efforts in force building. It’s just about being equipped with smart weapons, but also with inexpensive devices that we learned can be extremely threatening. Syria, for example, is getting new armament from Russia while it also invests in air power and anti-aircraft missiles”. Major General Nehoshtan acknowledges that the IDF - and

the IAF in particular - are involved in a major process of force building that is related to events in the region. Recent weeks have witnessed feverish discussions in the IDF as the new multi-year plan is being formulated. The drafting of the plan will be completed this August (on its key issues, see page 32), and unlike past decades, the air force’s primus inter pares status is not a foregone conclusion. The navy, and especially the ground forces, are upsetting the hegemony this time and striving to divert part of the air force’s budget to their branches. Air force commander, Major General Nehoshtan, what is the air force’s current standing as the main branch for achieving a military decision?

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“All over the world today the air forces’ position as a decisive branch is being debated, and so is the percentage of the resources that the defense establishment has to channel to it, when all the other branches are taken into consideration. But I think that Israel’s answers to the threats facing it have to remain based on the concept that has guided us since the founding of the state, given our unique situation as a small state with a long and narrow geography and multiple fronts. Our security concept stands on four legs: maintaining a deterrent force, the ability to achieve a military decision, intelligence warning, and defense – and in each of the four areas the air force plays a central role whose importance will not lessen in the coming years. “If we examine each of the parameters, then it’s clear that the air force has played a leading part in the deterrence that’s enabled Israel to flourish for decades. If deterrence fails then we turn to our ability to achieve victory, which is based on the strike force and activity in enemy territory as much as possible - and not in our territory that’s limited in size and lacking in depth. Here too the air force’s importance is invaluable since it alone possesses the classic strike force with the ability to operate at different ranges in different places. Today there is no other means or force or branch that can deliver precision firepower at, as a high output, and in as short a time as the air force. The air force alone can move from theater to theater in a matter of hours. No other branch even approaches this capability. “As far as early intelligence warning goes, the air force has a central part to play as the operator of various means of aerial reconnaissance. And in the area of defense – not just active defense against missiles, whose current development is moving forward at full-steam - but defense against enemy aircraft, defense of the nation’s skies in the classic sense of the term ‘defense’ – this has been and remains our historical purpose. In General, we can say that all of the main parameters in Israel’s security concept come under one umbrella – the air force”.


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 Major General Ido Nehoshtan

Commander and pilot The interview with the IAF commander was held in an airbase in the south of Israel just after Major General Nehoshtan completed a flight in a double cockpit F-16 from Squadron 105, the squadron he commanded twenty years ago. Despite the generational gap and Nehoshtan’s rank, he talks at eye level with the pilots (one of them a female – N.) at the debriefing after their morning flights. Nehoshtan is one of the most veteran Major Generals on the General staff. By the time he was appointed IAF commander, he had already served in a third of the most senior roles in the air force: directorate of the intelligence group, head of the air group (responsible for daily operations, directly subordinate to the commander of the branch) and chief of air staff (responsible for long-term force building). He also spent a number of years outside the air force, as the head of the General staff’s planning branch. Major General Nehoshtan is fifty-four years old.

A multi-tasked army Not only the arms race in the Middle East concerns Nehoshtan, but also the instability of so many regimes in recent months. “Today the name of the game is build-

Photo: Meir Azulay

ing a versatile, flexible multi-task force”, he says. “The world is transforming in front of our eyes, and we need to adapt ourselves to it with the tools that we have. “Israel has to know how to deal with the challenges on our doorstep – engage in different types of campaigns, such as asymmetrical warfare against missiles and rockets launched from the center of urban areas, where operations are extremely difficult, and in campaigns against regular military forces. “The insurance policy that Israel is building must be capable of defending the country from all the threats in all the sectors. It must know how to operate at different ranges in different theaters. If you analyze all of the security risks that Israel faces, the logical, but wrong conclusion is that we have to establish a number of armies according to the number of threats. But since we have only one army, it will have to deal with the wide variety of threats. “Therefore multi-tasking and versatility are today’s buzzwords. And I say this loud and clear: investment in air power is the best policy. The air force can adapt itself to any type of task. “Proof of this has been its ability to adapt itself to extreme missions during the last ten years – from Operation ‘Defensive Shield’ (halting the wave of Pal-

Photo: Ziv Koren  F-16s in formation flight

estinian terror in Judea and Samaria in 2002) to the ongoing war against terror, the Second Lebanon War (2006), and Operation ‘Cast Lead’ in the Gaza Strip

other delivery system like the fighter plane exists. However, it’s a costly and sophisticated tool. Let’s say we have nothing to regret about having earned sixty years

Regarding the ground forces’ keen interest in receiving long-distance, precision guided munitions, Major General Nehoshtan asserts: “The air force is the best firepower the land army has. The expertise required to deliver precision fire into the enemy’s depth belongs solely to the air force. Period!” (December 2008-January 2009), where we used tools designed for an entirely different kind of mission, but adapted them for the specific parameters of the threat and then employed them with devastating effectiveness”.

Fighter planes Major General Nehoshtan continues: “When I say ‘air power’, I mean that first and foremost the branch’s basic pillar is its fighter planes, the purveyors of fire power – excelling in speed, range, and strength. The fighter plane can carry four tons of precision guided munitions to great distances within minutes or an hour and repeat the performance a few hours later, in an entirely different theater. No

of experience with fighter planes so that today we’re relatively skilled at handling them”. During the coming years the air force intends to invest enormous resources (from American aid grants) in the purchase of twenty F-35Is, even though a chorus of voices in the IDF claims that the money (over two billion dollars) could be put to better use. “The IAF needs the F-35I for its force building”,insists Major General Nehoshtan. “From the first days of statehood Israel has always made it a point to acquire only the best aircraft it can get its hands on. This is how it was in the early sixties when we procured the third generation of fighter planes – ‘Mirages’ from France; and later we became the

first air force outside the United States to be equipped with fourth generation F-15s and F-16s. “As the IAF sees it, the F-35I’s capabilities make it the transition from fourth to fifth generation fighter plane, especially in its performance and freedom of action – for itself and others – on the future battlefield saturated with sophisticated threats. This is the result of its low radar signature (stealth capability) and its sensor fusion capability that cannot be installed in less advanced planes since nature and integration of the devices would require the aircraft to be rebuilt from scratch. Let’s not forget, the F-35I is a couple of decades ahead the F-15s and F-16s. These sensors are at the heart of the air force’s battlefield and air battles. “When the F-15s and F-16s first arrived, the entire air force followed them in terms of developing new concepts and warfare doctrines, and operational capability. I imagine the same thing will happen when the F-35Is arrive. “Keep in mind the plane is also crucial for deterrence. I’ll give you an example of how Israeli deterrence works: In the past we first received only a small number of F15s, but for the other side, every plane it saw in the air was an F-15. The other side immediately relinquished its ability to challenge our advanced planes. Now put

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A Boeing 707 Refuling an F-16 in mid-air

yourself in the other side’s shoes and see that it’s the same: they’re saying that the other side (meaning us) obtained a new weapon, and this is what determines your attitude toward his entire air power. “When Israel has the F-35Is performing operationally in the air, I believe that they’ll add not only to our deterrence but also to our strike force and operational capability which is exactly what we need in today’s Middle East. As I see it, the plane is more vital today than ever before”. OK, the air force is keen on the F35I, but in the meantime there have been major delays in its development at Lockheed Martin. How does this affect the plans for strengthening the air force?


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“After we signed a memorandum of understanding to acquire the plane (October 2010 – A.R.) the American report came out (regarding the delay in development). We’re studying the report and examining how to reconfigure the Israeli plan that we outlined last year, and, if necessary, we’ll know how to update it. This is a very complex development plan. We had no illusions about the likelihood of delay. I’m not overly worried about it and I don’t think it upsets our plans or need to absorb the F-35Is”. Are the published reports true regarding the setback in the planes’ scheduled arrival because of development delays - from 2015 to 2017? “I prefer not to discuss the date we expect to receive them”.

Will the delay allow Israeli defense industries to integrate more elements that they produce into the plane than if there had been a shorter delivery timetable? “I believe that we’ll be able to install Israeli elements into the plane. Already there are some initial home-produced elements, and many more are to come, as there were in the F-15s and F-16s, where the number of Israeli components grew appreciably over the years”.

Unmanned Aerial Vehicles (UAVs) The F-35I is not the only element in the air force’s strengthening plans. The coming fiveyear plan envisions new UAV squadrons.

Photo: Ziv Koren “In terms of flying hours, the UAV layout is already in second place in the IAF, after the fighter planes”, says Major General Nehoshtan. “All of the aircraft (at high altitudes the air force operates ‘Heron 1 and 2’ UAVs, manufactured by Israel Aircraft Industries – A.R.) create many ‘fringe benefits’ and open a window to new worlds in the concept of air operations. The UAVs do not replace manned aircraft, but generally supplement the forces operating in the air. They also possess unique capabilities, especially the length of time they can remain aloft”. Don’t the UAVs reduce the range of missions for the manned aircraft? “As I see it they answer a new need, like the cellphone market. Cellphones didn’t replace anything; they answered the needs

that they themselves created. We’re in an age of very interesting UAVs, which come in an assortment of sizes and types and are able to carry heavy loads. In this area Israel is a superpower, not only in UAV development but also in the invaluable experience it has gained in operating and exploiting these vehicles to their fullest. In other words, this is a self-nourishing cycle, and I’m certain we’ll continue to develop in the world of UAVs just as we have up to now. Today the rate of development is so fast that I have to make sure I can introduce what’s necessary into the branch, and teach the personnel how operate the vehicles skillfully when they arrive”. Do you share the view that in the distant future UAVs will replace manned aircraft, and that the F-35I is destined

to be the last fighter plane produced? “The F-35I isn’t even off the production line yet. I don’t know if it’ll be the last plane. Who knows what will be twenty years from now? But I can say with certainty that the whole world, and not just the United States, is still investing vast sums in the development of fighter planes”.

Helicopters and transport planes Regarding the Transport/Utility helicopter layout, the air force commander says, “The IDF has no operational substitute for this layout, given its outstanding flexibility and ability for rapid transportation - carrying hundreds and thousand of troops in a short time and medevacking from

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Photo: Ziv Koren

Hercules C-130E Over Masada

the battlefield. By the same token, we have no substitute for the ‘Black Hawk’ (‘Yanshuf’) helicopter that comes with a fighter and paramedic from Unit 669 (an airborne SAR - Search and Rescue - unit), enters a fire saturated battle zone and extricates whoever has to be taken out. This is what the air force did in the Second Lebanon War on a large scale; in Operation ‘Cast Lead’ a paramedic from Unit 669 received the Medal of Honor for his part in such an evacuation”. The “Yasour” transport helicopter (Sikorsky CH-53) that the IDF absorbed 42 years ago, saw service in the American army in Vietnam. Nehoshtan states that the IAF intends to extend the chopper’s lifespan through technical enhancement and advanced upgrading – at least until 2025. Apache A helicopters will be upgraded and transformed into Apache D (“Long Bows”). In the coming years the branch will receive the latest version of Hercules transport planes - the C-130J (in IAF terminology: “Samson”). The branch will also invest in an air refueling layout based on Boeing planes. The shift to the large-scale use of precision guided munitions (PGMs) with the accuracy of one meter, which is needed in urban warfare today, is a change in IAF. “That’s true. The need for surgical strikes in urban warfare is a significant change in the aviation world that demands the hard-to-achieve combination of personal and systemic skills. This


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aptitude requires a high level of military intelligence applied at the right moment together with exact planning, and then transferring the planning quickly and efficiently without any slipups to the tactical forces on the ground. This is essentially an extremely complex operational strike that goes through many stations working rapidly, in synch, without error, and in the timeframe close to the event. We have developed this form of expertise”. In the past some pilots expressed concern over collateral damage in an urban warfare environment. Some even refused to fly. Are there still pilots who protest such operations? “Israel was established so that Jewish children would never be subjected to missile strikes, like those the kids in the southern town of Sderot and other settlements close to the Gaza Strip, have had to suffer. Our job is to neutralize this fire, and at the same time our personnel have to understand that we’re doing everything possible to defend the citizens of Israel without harming innocent civilians on the other side. We’ve devoted much time to this matter, and we even held a study day for the entire air force that dealt with the moral issues involved in fighting under these conditions. In general, I believe that we operate according to a very high ethical standard – even when the other side willfully aims its fire on our civilians in heavily populated areas”.

In the multi-year plan the ground forces are interested in a budget that enables it to acquire precision strike capability at ranges of tens of kilometers so as not to be dependent on the air force. “We have more than one means for precision strikes from the air. Do we need another - from the ground? We can do this, but you have to take into account cost versus effectiveness, and perhaps create a niche that complements the air abilities. In my opinion, this is the way to approach the issue. The expertise required to deliver PGMs into the enemy’s depth belongs solely to the air force. Period! This expertise is not just in the platform carrying the munitions but primarily in the operational cycle. “When I hear that the ground forces need to be given the means for precision fire, I say that the ground forces already have this capability – the air force. The IAF doesn’t exist in a vacuum. It’s part of the entire IDF and exists in order to achieve the highest goals in battle and security. The air force is the best firepower the land army has”. In every scenario of future warfare the air force is expected to be targeted with a great number of missiles and rockets. Are you prepared to take off under fire? “The air force assumes that it will have to operate while its bases are under missile attack. The implications of this for the bases are enormous, and it mainly



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boils down to training and educating the personnel to continue functioning under attack. It also requires protecting the work places so that operations can continue. We have prepared for this in many ways”. The IAF is regarded as the party that opposes Israel’s investment in longrange missiles of its own. Why? “I know of no place in the Western world that invests in surface-to-surface missiles in order to hit targets in the enemy’s rear. I don’t consider the ‘missilemania’ in countries like Iran, Syria, and Hezbollah, where the goal is to hit population centers, as munitions”. The air force will be investing bigtime in the coming five-year plan for defense against missiles. “Naturally we have to provide an answer to the missile proliferation in the region. The answer is multi-dimensional: different types of offensive and defensive weapons. One of the newest components in the defensive dimension – and one that’s unprecedented in the world is the interception of missiles in the air. We are the pioneers in this field. I’m a firm believer in active defense. The multitiered answer that the air force developed divides the air into interception zones, including altitudes in space (the exoatmosphere) above the ceiling of today’s aircraft, and interception zones at lower altitudes where aircraft operate. “The trick in sky management at four defense tiers, in the two dimensions that I


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“One of the newest components in the defensive dimension – and one that’s unprecedented in the world - is the interception of missiles in the air. We are the pioneers in this field” mentioned, is to operate in a coordinated fashion so as to optimize the interception of a missile penetrating one of the tiers. “The skill requires knowing which tier of defense to send the intercepting missile to and what to defend, and this stems from our ability to pinpoint exactly where the missiles are about to strike. Be this as it may, we can’t allow ourselves to invest in defense more than in our offensive capabilities. If our offensive capability is crippled, then we’ve made a grave mistake. The bottom line is that the defense has to enable offensive operations: victory will be gained by attack not by defense. We’ll be contributing to the security of the citizens of Israel if we maintain a strong offensive capability. A good defensive capability will give us time to breathe, will reduce the damage as much as possible, and enable the offensive capability to be realized. “I don’t underestimate our enemies”, says Major General Nehoshtan. “They’re

perfectly aware of their advantages and shortcomings. They think logically, learn quickly, and draw the necessary conclusions. “In recent years we’ve fought an enemy who has neither tanks, planes, nor ships. He’s slippery as an eel and finds refuge in backyards, between windows, and in innocent looking vehicles traveling in civilian neighborhoods. We no longer speak about lines of armor columns but of terrorist squads skilled in eluding detection and hard to reach. Nevertheless, this doesn’t mean that we can abandon ‘traditional’ challenges: the IDF will still have to know how to cope with regular military forces - the tanks, planes, ships, surface-to-air and surface-to-surface missiles that countries still employ. Therefore, we need to develop skills suited to both types of combat”. What about IAF preparations for a very long-range attack -Iran’s nuclear facilities, for example? This question Major General Ido Nehoshtan is unwilling to answer. Thirty years ago the air force bombed the Osirak nuclear reactor in Iraq, and three years ago, foreign sources claim, it knocked out the Syrian reactor in Deir es-Zor. Is such an operation still possible? “There are many amazing stories such as the attack on the Iraqi reactor, but we won’t discuss them”, concludes the IAF commander, leaving the question hanging in the air. 

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Special Operations SEALs, Shayetet 13, Delta Force, Sayeret Matkal, and Shaldag The spectacular elimination of Osama bin Laden provides insights into IDF and American special forces units. examines whether IDF special forces are being maximized and whether a unified headquarters should be set up for all special forces units. The debate is in full swing By Colonel (res.) Lior Lotan photo: Ziv Koren


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‫לארגן תמונה מזיו‬ ‫‪21‬‬

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he US Navy SEAL commandos and the pilots of the 160th Special Operations Aviation Regiment (Airborne) who carried out the brilliant operation that eliminated al-Qaeda leader, Osama bin Laden. on May 2, 2011, not only whetted the imagination but turned dream into reality. A surgical ground operation to remove bin Laden – Operation “Neptune Spear” – was preferred to the alternatives, such as a devastating air strike or a joint assault by American and Pakistani forces, in order to protect information security, avoid collateral damage in a friendly sovereign state, and confirm with the highest degree of accuracy and accountability bin Laden’s identity and fate. An action as daring and complex as Operation “Neptune Spear” demanded of the military and political decision-makers a sophisticated knowledge of intelligence data, technological hardware, and SEAL tactics as well as the team’s technical skills and personal talents. The fact that the chief planner and commander of the operation, Vice Admiral William H. McRaven, head of Special Operations Command (SOCOM) was a former commander of SEAL “Team 6” Naval Special Warfare Development Group contributed significantly to the mission’s success. Bottom line – the success of Operation “Neptune Spear” was a joint effort by intelligence elements, operational units, and the command personnel who planned and oversaw the operation. The superb intelligence at the tactical level is attributed to eight years of information collecting, piece by piece, from various sources, and its “fusion” into quality products that led to the identification and tracking of the courier who kept daily contact with bin Laden, and the final green light that the target was “home” on the night of the operation. At the tactical and operational levels the lion’s share of the credit goes to the information collecting in a hostile environment that was able to attain the detailed familiarity vital for the planning of the raid. The outstanding work of the planners and operative force was expressed in the ability to transport an effective commando


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 Unit 669, an airborne SAR - Search and Rescue - unit

ORBAT from its departure base (in Pakistan, Afghanistan, or wherever) and land it smack on target while preserving the element of surprise, followed by the penetration of a 280 square meter compound surrounded by five meter high cement walls. The team isolated the structure to prevent reinforcements from reaching bin Laden, carried out selective fighting inside the compound, eliminated bin Laden without any injury to the operating forces, broke off contact with the area, and destroyed a damaged American helicopter at the scene. Still, despite the perfect planning, performance, and outcome, the gap between the special forces contribution in interwar periods and their contribution in modern wars has returned to center stage in professional military discussion. Is the special units’ full potential being realized in terms of tactical and strategic objectives in modern fighting theaters? The debate over this question is relevant more than ever in the IDF.

The beginnings The Winograd Commission, the blueribbon committee that investigated the Second Lebanon War, found that the political and military levels harbored exaggerated expectations over special operations’ ability to attain decisive results in the war. To understand the development of American and Israeli elite units, it is necessary to go back to the Second World War. In 1941 North Africa, the British army established the SAS (Special Air Service) whose task was to disrupt the Germans’

Photo: Meir Azulay

fighting ability by sabotaging their logistical supplies and military airfields. The unit operated in small mission teams, traveling in jeeps or trucks long distances across the desert to the target area. British commandos were also sent to Nazi-occupied Norway to sabotage strategic targets, thus forcing the German army to detain many troops in the country rather than transfer them to the main theaters of operations. The Wehrmacht (German army) also established special units known as the “Brandenburger Regiment” for raiding and sabotage in the enemy’s rear. Russia trained special “Spetsnaz” units (Russian Special Purpose Forces) as early as the 1930s; but they came under a unified command only after the war. The main purpose of these units was deep penetration behind enemy lines to gather intelligence, disrupt communications, and destroy missile sites and headquarters. The United States established the US Army Rangers in 1942, but only in October 1961 did President Kennedy order the special units to be mobilized as part of the land army. This was the basis for their key involvement in the War in Vietnam. The IDF set up its first special unit in 1953, after a number of botched raids by regular infantry troops against the Jordanian army and infiltrators operating under the Jordanians’ protection. A young officer Ariel Sharon (later a major general and Israel’s eleventh prime minister) headed the commando platoon known as Unit 101. The unit operated autonomously for a number of months before being integrated into the paratrooper brigade. Its raiding and fight-

 A special forces soldier in traning

ing tactics became the basis of the IDF’s warfighting doctrine and the special forces esprit de corps until today. In late 1957 Unit 101 veterans assisted in setting up a commando unit – Sayeret Matkal – subordinate to the intelligence corps. The unit’s main purpose, according to foreign reports, is to collect intelligence behind enemy lines. Sayeret Matkal’s founder, Avraham Arnan, “borrowed” the motto – “Whoever Dares, Wins” - from the British SAS. During the 1950s other reconnaissance companies were established to support the infantry and paratrooper brigades, and regional commands: Sayeret Shaked in the south, Sayeret Haruv in the center of the county, and Sayeret Egoz in the north. These units specialized in reconnoitering and raiding behind the lines in their particular sectors. After the Yom Kippur War, the IDF underwent structural reorganization. The importance of regional reconnaissance units declined and they melded into the regular infantry battalions.

Palestinian terror Starting in the 1970s, as modern armies internalized the lessons of the Vietnam War, and the technological revolution gathered momentum and enabled the introduction of sophisticated ware into the military, especially precision fire munitions (PGMs), visual and signal intelligence (SIGINT) devices, and command and control (C2) apparatus, special operations (spec ops) began to be seen in a different light.

Photo: IDF spokesperson

Despite the perfect planning, performance, and outcome, the gap between the special forces contribution in interwar periods and their contribution in modern wars has returned to center stage in professional military discussion New missions were assigned that required changes in the existing units and the establishment of new ones. The event that had the profoundest impact on the development of American special forces was the failed rescue attempt of American hostages in the US Embassy in Tehran in April 1980. In the wake of the mishap, it was decided to set up SEAL Team 6 that specialized in anti-terror combat (and thirty years later took part in the removal of bin Laden), and the JSOC (Joint Special Operations Command) in the general staff, to develop a spec ops doctrine and prepare the forces for action. The next stage in reorganization came in 1986 with President Reagan’s decision to establish the Unified Combatant Command for all specials forces units (USSOCOM). After September 11 (2001) the command received responsibility for leading the Global War on Terror (GWOT).

Two of the most elite units in the United States are Delta Force (attached to the ground forces), whose main field of expertise is anti-terror operations; and the SEALs (US Navy), whose primary purpose is special sea assignments. In reality, both units perform all kinds of commando operations in every type of environment around the world. The SEAL unit was officially established in 1962, but its infrastructure can be traced back to World War Two. Team 6 is considered the unit’s best. Only very few at the top of the class make it to the unit which specializes, as stated, in anti-terror combat and raiding operations. The SEALs took part in Operation “Urgent Fury” (American intervention in Grenada) in 1983; Operation “Just Cause” (the invasion of Panama) in 1989; and recently, the capture of war criminals in Bosnia; and the rescue of American Captain Richard Phillips from Somali pirates in 2009. Until the 1990s Israel employed its special forces units mainly for intelligence gathering, sabotage and the abduction or assassination of terrorist leaders deep in enemy territory. Hundreds of missions were carried out. Suffice it to mention the raid on Beirut International Airport in December 1968 (Operation “Gift”); the raid to eliminate terrorist leaders in Beirut in April 1972 (Operation “Spring of Youth”); the joint raid by Shayetet 13 (naval commandos) and Sayeret Matkal on Green Island, an Egyptian stronghold in the Red Sea, in July 1969; and the abduction of five high-ranking Syrian officers in June 1972 on patrol in South Lebanon in exchange for captured Israeli pilots (Operation “Box”). During the 1973 Yom Kippur War, Shayetet 13 carried out classic commando assignments (sabotaging enemy vessels in port and anchorage) while the Sayeret Matkal, acting as a special unit, mostly carried out deep raids in Egypt. After the war, as part of the IDF’s rehabilitation and development of abilities and warfighting doctrines, new spec ops units were created for specific sectors or designated tasks: “Rimon” in the Gaza Strip for counter-terror ops; “Shaldag” (attached

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to the air force) to assist in “painting” quality targets in the enemy’s rear; and “Moran” to enhance precision fire on tactical targets (a few years after its inauguration it was transferred to the artillery corps). With rise in Palestinian terrorism in Israel and radical-political terrorism in the world during these years, the special forces of all armies began to develop hostage rescue skills. Between 1972-1984 Sayeret Matkal carried out six operations to release hostages held by terrorists. The most celebrated of them was the long-distance airborne raid on the passenger terminal at Entebbe Airport in Uganda on July 4, 1976. The development of advanced combat tactics to meet the new threats constantly arising led to continuous improvement in the unit’s operational abilities, but the learning process took its toll in the lives of both hostages and commandos. Eventually the unit reached optimal performance level. During this period the government decided to set up a police unit - Yamam - for special tasks and hostage crises. Since then, Yamam has honed its abilities and accumulated rich operational experience, and today is considered one of the best units of its kind in the world.

Low intensity conflicts (LICs) The last twenty years have been characterized counter-insurgency warfare especially in urban environments. Special forces and regular armies have had to develop methods of operation that distinguish between hostile individuals and innocent bystanders, and abide by rules of engagement acceptable to the international community. Thus, in Operation “Restore Hope” in Somalia in 1993, Delta Force members, reinforced with rangers, attempted to kidnap a senior member of an extremist militia led by Muhammad Farrah Aidid. The operation ran afoul at the outset when two Black Hawk helicopters went down and the operation turned into a heroic and tenacious battle to extricate the trapped commandos, during which five Delta team members were killed. In 1988 Sayeret Matkal kidnapped the senior Hezbollah leader Sheikh Abd al-


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 Fighters from a special unit

The IDF still lacks a joint command for all the special forces units. They continue to be subordinate to branch headquarters, so that force building, operative planning, and C2 during operations remain centripetal rather than unified Karim Obeid from the Lebanese village of Jibshit; and in 1994, Mustafa Dirani, a member of Amal, from the village of Qasr Naba in Lebanon’s Bekaa Valley. Both abductions were designed to secure the return of Ron Arad, a captured Israeli navigator, but despite the operational success the outcome was not achieved. As Palestinian insurgency intensified in the 1990s and Hezbollah strengthened its military power, the IDF set up a number of designated elite units – “Duvdevan”, specializing in counter-guerilla activity and apprehending terrorists in Judea and Samaria; “Shimshon”, for similar tasks in the Gaza Strip; “Egoz”, attached to Northern Command, specializing in guerilla fighting against Hezbollah in South Lebanon.

Photo: IDF spokesperson

Despite the increase in the number of IDF special units (according to the IDF’s definition the “elite” special forces units are: Sayeret Matkal, Shayetet 13, the air force’s Shaldag, and Unit 669, an airborne SAR - Search and Rescue – unit). In other conflicts, such as the coalition forces’ struggle in Afghanistan and Iraq, special combat units are assuming an ever increasing role in combating insurgents. These units include the British SAS, American Delta Force (which carried out Operation “Anaconda” against al-Qaeda in Afghanistan in 2003), and many others from a host of countries. The Winograd Commission, with reference to the IDF after the Second Lebanon War, stated: “In asymmetrical warfare the potential added value of special units is greater than in symmetrical warfare, provided they are employed correctly and within a flexible strategic plan”. While this is true, the changing nature of military engagement in the last decades does not seem to have affected the classic missions of the special units. In normal periods they’re engaged mostly in intelligence gathering; in LICs they focus on counter-guerilla operations; and in wartime – on missions behind the lines, with the aim of damaging the enemy’s centers of gravity and strategic resources. The lessons of war have taught that special forces have to operate according to clearly-defined tactical and strategic modus operandi in order to achieve significant

Photo: IDF spokesperson

 The “Alpinist” Unit

gains and contribute to the objectives of the campaign. During the last decade the IDF has been dealing with the rapid changes in relative threats and the nature of the confrontation, mainly characterized by guerilla forces with military capability; limitations on the rules of engagement (fire and maneuvering in densely populated urban areas); and states and organizations - like Iran, Syria, and Hezbollah - that are armed with significant missile layouts with diverse ranges, accuracy levels, and destructive capabilities. Solutions to these challenges call for the

rapid development of anti-missile defense systems, improving air force-based offensive capabilities, upgrading our intelligence layout, utilizing special forces to their full potential. But the main obstacle still obstructing the giant leap in Israeli special forces’ capabilities is command structure and organization and need to update the spec ops warfighting doctrine. Alternatives were examined after the Second Lebanon War and brainstorming sessions held to attain the requisite models, but until now the discussions have not yielded any results.

Thus, while the United States has revamped its spec ops modus operandi by means of establishing SOCOM, the IDF still lacks a joint command for all the Special units. They continue to be subordinate to branch headquarters, so that force building, operative planning, and the employment and C2 of operations remain centripetal rather than unified. This “type” of structure stymies the ability to develop operational ideas, plan operatively, make headway in force building and equipment replenishment, coordinate overall capabilities, and, in certain situations, even exercise effective C2 in an operation. Many military experts believe that a unified command will help integrate the special forces “special” ways of thinking into both general and sector planning, which would benefit the tactical and strategic goal, and maximize the special forces operative skills. Even without the unified command, the challenge that the special units face is to continue developing innovative, effective modi operandi against an array of relevant threats, and continue anchoring their position within the framework of modern military thinking and operational concepts. Be this as it may, the special forces motto will remain: “Failure is not an option”.  Research assistant: Liran Ofek

Special forces units in the IDF and American army Israel

United States

Main units

Shayetet 13 Sayeret Matkal, Shaldag

Delta Force SEALs

Under the command of

Navy Intelligence corps Air force

United States Special Operations Command (USSCOM) and Special Operations Command (SOCOM)

Outstanding achievements

“Green Island” (1969) Entebbe (1976) Mustafa Diranis abduction (1994)

Eliminating bin Laden (2011)

outstanding failures

Naval commando’s operation in Lebanon, September 1997 (12 killed soldiers)

Rescue of hostages in Tehran; Operation “Restore Hope” in Somalia

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THE WAR OF THE FUTURE IS ALREADY HERE Cyberwar is not science fiction: it’s a battle already in progress. As reports multiply that Israel is waging cyberwarfare against Iran, Syria, and Hezbollah, at the same time it is also augmenting its defensive efforts. Israeli defense industries are preparing for new age warfare By Yaakov Katz


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Overhead view of a covert nuclear reactor built in Syria’s eastern desert Photo: AP


Few Minutes past midnight on September 6, 2007, ten Israeli Air Force (IAF) F-15I fighter jets lifted off from Israel and streaked towards Syria. Their target – a nuclear reactor being built along the Euphrates River modeled after the North Korean reactor in Yongbyon and financed by Iran. Minutes into the flight, seven of the planes broke away from the formation and dipped into Syrian airspace. Seconds later they dropped their first bombs on a radar installation. A few minutes later they were over the nuclear reactor and let loose their AGM-65 bombs, each one weighing about half a ton. As the planes fled enemy airspace, the Syrian military finally detected the attack and starting firing indiscriminately in the direction of the F-15s, which were already on their way home. For Syria, it was too late. This is the story, as reported, of what has become known as Operation “Orchard”, the bombing of a nuclear reactor (never confirmed by Israel) being covertly built by Syrian President Bashar Assad. A less known aspect of the raid is the reported use of electronic warfare that neutralized Syrian air defense systems that are based mainly on Russian-made hardware. Two months after the operation, the American magazine Aviation Week published a story that IAF electronic warfare (EW) systems succeeded in deactivating Syria’s entire air defense layout for the time span needed by the jets to penetrate Syrian airspace, bomb their targets, and make their escape. In the article, Pinchas Buhris, director general of the Defense Ministry at the time, revealed that Israel was investing enormous resources in developing state-of-the-art EW capabilities. “You need this kind of capability”, he stated. “You’re being negligent unless you develop it. But if you attain this capability, then the sky’s the limit”. Israel’s capabilities are rumored to be similar to “Suter” – an American-developed computer program that enables an operator to invade and take over an enemy’s network. Suter is far more invasive than older and simpler EW systems that block or disrupt enemy radar systems. Suter infiltrates


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the enemy network, sees what the enemy sees, hears what the enemy hears, and even shuts down the enemy’s systems without him even being aware of your presence. Israel, of course, never confirmed its use of EW and network invasion in the 2007 strike, just as it has never publicly admitted that the IAF carried out the bombing. Furthermore, not very much is known about Israel’s cyberwarfare capabilities, and while all the major defense companies – Elbit Systems Ltd., Rafael Advanced Defense Systems Ltd., and Israel Aerospace Industries (IAI) – are working on cyber-related technology, none are willing to unveil their products to the public. In recent years, companies like Rafael and Elbit have set up special divisions to develop cyber capabilities. Rafael’s elite division is located in the north of the country, near the city of Karmiel. Many of the employees are former intelligence officers and veterans of Unit 8200 (the unit responsible for the IDF’s signal intelligence – SIGINT). “Cyberwarfare is the combat of the future. A number of incidents have already occurred that can be seen as attacks against banks, for example, and the primary question is how to set up defenses against them”, Elbit CEO Yossi Ackerman said in March 2010. “Elbit is investing considerable resources in developing cyber capabilities and is currently working on a number of projects”. “This is still a new world where everything is highly classified”, a senior defense official recently stated when asked about Israel’s cyber technology. “Let’s put it this way – we’re already beyond what most people believe still isn’t possible”. Syria has not been Israel’s only target. According to foreign reports, Israel created the “Stuxnet”, a malevolent computer worm that cyber experts claim has significantly set back Iran’s nuclear program. A German computer expert, who analyzed Stuxnet’s 15,000 lines of code, avows that it has postponed Iran’s nuclear program by two years. A Washington-based think tank believes that Stuxnet destroyed over 1000 centrifuges at the Natanz uranium enrichment facility, the cyberworm’s apparent target. How did Stuxnet do it?

The cyber security firm Symantec worked it out that Stuxnet was designed to target systems that use a frequency converter, a device that controls the speed of a rotor, like the one in a centrifuge. The Stuxnet code modifies programmable logic controllers in the frequency converter drives used to control the rotors. It changes the frequencies, first to more than 1400 Hz and then down to 2 Hz – speeding it up and then nearly halting it – before leveling off at just over 1000 Hz. Iran usually runs its rotors at 1007 cycles per second to prevent damage, while Stuxnet seemed to up the rotor speed to 1064 cycles per second, a small but sufficient increase according to experts, to inflict damage. As with Syria, Israel neither confirms nor denies its involvement. However, the majority of Western experts believe that Israel was behind the development of this cyberweapon, which one year after its discovery is thought to still be ravaging Iran’s nuclear program. In April 2011, a top Iranian military officer, Gholam Reza Jalali, publicly accused the United States and Israel of developing Stuxnet. Without specifically mentioning Stuxnet, Israeli defense officials recently acknowledged that Iran still faced technological setbacks at its nuclear facilities. The IDF’s ascent into cyberspace began in the late 1990s as the international communi-

According to Yuval Diskin, the former head of the Shin Bet (Israel Security Agency), “fingerprints and traces” of attempted attacks have been found. “Throughout the world - and this naturally includes Israel - there are cyberattacks”, Diskin disclosed in May, prior to his retirement. “We can’t be sure that our vital infrastructure was targeted, but according to the fingerprints and traces attempts may have been made on it” ty became aware of the dangers and opportunities that the Internet and digital networks offered militaries and spy agencies. “Fighting in the cyber dimension is as significant as the introduction of fighting in the aerial dimension in the early twentieth century”, the former head of Military Intelligence, Major General (res.) Amos Yadlin, said in a speech at a Tel Aviv think tank in 2009. “Preserving the lead in this field is especially important, given the dizzying pace of change . . . Like unmanned aircraft it can strike regardless of distance or time and without endangering the fighter’s lives”. Israeli expertise in cyberwarfare comes mostly from the defense industries which are staffed with veterans from the IDF’s elite technological units where they gained invaluable experience in developing cutting-edge technology. The work is split into two categories: offensive and defensive. The revolutionary change in the world’s approach to cyberwarfare occurred in April 2007 after Estonia was attacked - not by terrorists, supersonic aircraft, or tank brigades - but by computers. The Estonian government pointed a finger at Russia, which was angered by the removal of a Soviet war memorial from the center of Tallinn, the Estonian capital. The attacks temporarily paralyzed government ministries, banks, and media. The attack also triggered a near-imme-

diate international response, prompting the world’s nations to confront the cyberwarfare challenge. Within two months, NATO defense ministers convened in Brussels and promised immediate action, which led to the establishment, a year later, of the NATO Cooperative Cyber Defense Center of Excellence (CCDCOE) in Estonia, tasked with designing defense systems for the NATO network and member countries. In 2009 the United States set up a special Cyber Command to protect it from the cyberattacks it had been experiencing, allegedly from China. After the American decision to establish the command, Israel reexamined its cyber defense layout. In 2010 Chief of Staff Gabi Ashkenazi instructed his deputy, Major General Benny Gantz (the current chief of staff), to review Israel’s options. After studying the issue, Gantz decided not to recommend the creation of a new command but rather to divide responsibility between Military Intelligence and the C4I Corps (formerly the Computer Service Directorate). Military Intelligence’s Unit 8200, the equivalent of the United States National Security Agency, already responsible for SIGINT, eavesdropping, and decryption, was entrusted with offensive cyber capabilities. Defense remained in C4I’s hands. To ensure that the two branches syner-

gized, the IDF decided in mid-2009 to assign a lieutenant colonel from military intelligence to Matzov, the C4I unit that protects IDF networks. Matzov also designs the codes that encrypt the IDF, Shin Bet, and Mossad networks, as well as the mainframes in national infrastructure corporations, such as the Israel Electrical Corporation, Mekorot (Israel National Water Company), and Bezeq (Israel’s major telecommunications provider). The Matzov officer’s job is to receive information from Military Intelligence on enemy capabilities and coordinate with C4I on changes that have to be made in IDF digital protection. In addition, C4I has a special team of computer geeks whose job is to try to breach IDF firewalls and encryptions as though they were the enemy. Have Israeli networks come under cyberattack? On occasion. During the Second Lebanon War in 2006, Hezbollah reportedly managed to penetrate Israeli communications systems and eavesdrop on what were supposed to be classified transmissions, causing the IDF to introduce strict new information security guidelines. During Operation “Cast Lead” in the Gaza Strip in 2009, pro-Palestinian groups reportedly succeeded in attacking the “Amos 3” communication satellite and manipulating

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Control room, Rutenberg Power Station, Ashkelon Photo: Israel Electric Corporation

After the American decision to establish the cyber command, Israel reexamined its cyber defense layout. After studying the issue, it was decided not to recommend the creation of a new command but rather to divide responsibility between Military Intelligence and the C4I Corps (formerly the Computer Service Directorate) network television broadcasts. While neither incident incurred serious damage, the systems’ vulnerability is partly what prompted the bolstering of defenses. Major General Yoav Galant, whose appointment to chief of staff was rescinded by the government earlier this year over land improprieties, said in May that a cyberwar was being fought 24/7, and that Israel still had a long way to go before it attained the ideal level of defense. “When you’re dependent on computerized systems, you have to protect them”, Galant admonished in a conference at the


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Begin-Sadat Center (BESA) at Bar Ilan University. “Unlike the traditional enemy whom you know, in cyberwar you don’t always know if you’re being attacked by a group in India, China, or Pakistan”. According to Yuval Diskin, the former head of the Shin Bet (Israel Security Agency), “fingerprints and traces” of attempted attacks have been found. “Throughout the world - and this naturally includes Israel - there are cyberattacks”, Diskin disclosed in May, prior to his retirement. “We can’t be sure that our vital infrastructure was targeted, but according to the finger-

prints and traces attempts may have been made on it”. Diskin also acknowledged that the Shin Bet recently completed a major review of its technological and cyber capabilities and drafted a multi-year program that will be implemented by the end of 2011. He went on to say that cyberwarfare has been useful in fighting terror. When asked how, he didn’t elaborate. Besides the Shin Bet and Military Intelligence, the Mossad is also believed to possess advanced cyber capabilities. While Israel is considered one of the

comme n tar y

most advanced countries in the world in cyberwarfare, some officials lament its protection level and the need for stronger defenses for the civilian and military infrastructure. Defense officials toss around two basic scenarios. The first involves attacks against the civilian infrastructure – paralyzing hospitals, tampering with chemical factories, and so forth. The second depicts an attack against military networks and neutralizing, for example, the IDF’s ability to use satelliteguided (GPS) munitions or transfer targets between ground units in the new Digital Army Program (DAP). “This could alter the outcome of a war in a very negative way”, a senior IDF officer confessed. On May 18, Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu announced the establishment of a national cyber taskforce aimed at improving Israeli defenses in face of the growing threat to national infrastructure. The taskforce, which will receive a budget of hundreds of millions of shekels over the coming years, will also work to encourage local industries and academic institutions to invest more in the field and help establish Israel as a cyber leader. Netanyahu decided to establish the taskforce per the recommendations of a committee led by Maj.-Gen. Yitzhak Ben-Yisrael, former head of the Defense Ministry’s Research and Development Authority (MAFAT). “The threats against Israel can come from a number of different directions and we are getting ready with the right measures needed to counter the threats that currently exist but more important those that will evolve in the future”, Netanyahu said. Brigadier General (res.) Nitzan Nuriel, head of the National Security Council’s Counter-Terror Bureau, admits that Israel cannot counter cyber threats on its own. “A country cannot protect itself on its own. We face a threat that demands international cooperation”, he said. While Israel has not come under a fullscale cyberattack yet, its defense chiefs predict that one is on the horizon. Iran is believed to be investing huge resources in honing its cyber capabilities. In a region dominated by conflict, cyberwarfare will assuredly play a major role in any future confrontation between Israel and its enemies. Only then will it become clear who has the upper hand. 

Major General (ret.) David Ivry “Cyberworm” Retards Weapons Fire According to conventional wisdom, military force is generally the last course of action taken – after all other non-military means fail. In other words, when friction between states reaches the boiling point or a threat is identified, then diplomatic channels and international pressure – such as sanctions and boycotts - should be employed to reduce or neutralize the threat. Only after these steps have proven futile is military action justified. The goal, then, is for decision-makers to agree on a course of action acceptable to the majority of the home population so that military action can be taken after all other possibilities have been tried. When the decision is made to use military force, its goals must be defined and its results assessed in order to determine whether the most likely turnout of events supports the action. In 1981, at the time of Israel’s attack on the Iraqi nuclear reactor “Osirak”, Prime Minister and Defense Minister Menachem Begin made every effort to convince the Cabinet that a military attack was necessary and justifiable, even though the Directorate of Military Intelligence estimated that a successful attack would delay Iraq’s attaining nuclear capability by only three to five years. The prime minister’s main consideration in giving the green light was that Israel would be unable to bomb the reactor, once enriched uranium was brought into it, because of the danger of environmental contamination. On the other hand, no one doubted that once the reactor commenced operations, it would be impossible to stop Sadaam Hussein’s military nuclear capability. But a three-to-five year postponement would “buy time” for developments in the region that might prevent Iraq from pursuing its nuclear program. By a twist of fate this is exactly what happened. It is generally very difficult to estimate the length of the delay that a military attack will achieve. The planners of a military operation try to assess the tine span, but even the best estimate is mostly based on uncertainty. However, if the Directorate of Military Intelligence’s estimate at the time of the “Osirak” decision is taken as a yardstick, it still holds some water today, even if three to five years is considered a relatively generous estimate in the case of targets spread out in several reactors. Some experts say that the delay time after such an attack would be even shorter. The decision to use military force must take into account a factor that did not exit in 1981: cyber age capabilities. If the goal of a military operation is to cause a delay of three to five years (or less), and this can be achieved by a cyberattack - planting a virus (malware) or “cyberworm” in the targets – then this possibility, too, must be weighed before embarking on a military operation. Let me state in no uncertain terms, no one is suggesting reducing military preparations for an operation because of fear that the “worm” will not fulfill all of its expectations. From this point on, the lord of history will judge whether all the cyber weapons have been put to their best use before military action is taken. In other words: a cyberworm can retard fire.

Major General (ret.) David Ivry is president of Boeing Israel. His previous offices were: commander of the air force, director of the defense ministry, chairman of the National Security Council, and ambassador to the USA

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Photo: AP


The number of divisions will increase, thereby extending the IDF’s long arm even further; the land army will be replenished with precision weapons; the air force will continue receiving stratospheric budgets but probably remain unsatisfied; and the navy will get new subs, while struggling futilely (as usual) for advanced missile boats. This is the update on the inter-arm battlefield where IDF branches wrestle for a larger slice of the budget: a raucous debate in the General Staff over “Halamish” - the new multi-year plan for the critical five years 2012-2016. Bottom line: the IDF aims to be both big and smart, like the threats it faces

By Nir Dvori and Amir Rapaport

Photo: Meir Azulay


JUNE 2011

Photo: AP

Photo: AP

Halamish” – the new multi-year plan - is considered one of the most crucial budget proposals in the history of IDF force building. The plan will undoubtedly reflect the turnaround that occurred in the wake of the Second Lebanon War when ground maneuvering was restored to center stage (after being all but abandoned in the belief that military decision could be achieved predominantly from the air). However, of no less importance than improving ground maneuvering capability, the plan intends to provide answers to the precarious situation in the Middle East and the Iranian nuclear threat. Discussions on the five-year plan began in General Headquarters in May and will continue till August. Implementation will take place between 2012 and 2016. Already at this stage we can point to the main lines of direction.

Iran first Even as the plan is being formulated, the chief of staff has summed up the situational assessment: a serious security threat and growing likelihood of escalation on multiple fronts. According to IDF estimates, Iran will remain on “threshold status” – one minute before assembling a nuclear bomb – and will continue fomenting radical activity in the region via its proxies, first and foremost Hezbollah, Syria, and Hamas. The IDF is preparing for the possibility of total war simultaneously on two fronts in the north Lebanon and Syria. The chief of staff believes that the IDF must stay on the highest level of readiness in years, and, if hostilities erupt, shorten the length of time fighting, minimize the damage to the homeland, and focus on improving fire capability and acquiring accurate quality intelligence on targets. The chief of staff has determined that the threat to the homefront is swelling – the range and accuracy of Syria, Hamas, Hezbollah, and Iran’s rockets are continuously improving and can now reach almost any part of Israel. In every fighting scenario the homefront is defined as the second front. Intelligence sources have also identified a burgeoning chemical threat: countries

and terrorist organizations are procuring unconventional weapons, while in Israel only 60% of the adults and 43% of the children possess protection kits. The chief of staff defined the priorities for readiness and strengthening: first and foremost Iran, then the northern theater, followed by the Palestinian theater and Egypt, and finally investment in intelligence. The “moderate” Arab states, with whom Israel has signed peace treaties, are defined as “dangerous” but not “threatening”. The IDF’s branches are at each other tooth and nail, each vying to win a sizable chunk of the “Halamish” pie for its strengthening plans. But the budget is limited.

The Israeli Air Force (IAF) The exaggerated estimate of the air force’s capabilities by decision-makes, military officers, and the general public was one of the main shortcomings in the Second Lebanon War, five summers ago. The assumption that the air force alone could tackle the enemy and achieve a quick and elegant victory proved illusory. The destruction of the majority of Hezbollah’s long-range rocket launchers on the evening of July 13, 2006 - and even the devastating strike on the Dahia Quarter, Hezbollah’s main stronghold, in south Beirut – failed to force the Shiite fighters to raise the white flag. The IAF, however, was not surprised. It never perceived itself as the branch responsible for neutralizing 122 mm Katyusha rockets with a twenty kilometer range. At high altitude the Katyushas are almost impossible to spot, unlike the heavier rockets with mobile launch-

 A Merkava tank photo: The Ministry of Defense

ers whose signatures are easy to identify. Against the heavy stuff the IAF performed magnificently, leaving air forces around the world standing in awe and admiration. Over the last five years the IAF has improved its ability to hunt and destroy intermediate-range rocket launchers, and in the coming five years it will expand its “active defense” capabilities too, that is, the in-flight interception of missiles headed towards the Israeli homefront. The IAF is completing the deployment of a multitiered, anti-missile defense system consisting of: “Iron Dome” - for intercepting short-range rockets (the number of operational batteries will increase from two to six or seven by the end of the five-year period); “David’s Sling” - the second tier of defense - for intercepting surface-tosurface rockets and cruise missiles; “Arrow 2” at the level above “David’s Sling”; and “Arrow 3” at the highest level – the exoatmosphere (to be operational in 2015). (See the interview with the project manager on page 56). The IAF’s main strengthening, however, will probably be (as always) in planes. In the first decade of the new millennium it began replenishment with no less than 102 F-16I (“Sufa”) aircraft. The agreement with the manufacturer, Lockheed Martin, stipulated that the planes’ delivery would continue until 2009, and that several years would pass until the IAF purchased the next generation of warplanes – the F-35I. According to the original plan, twenty F35Is would enter IAF service in 2015, but as of now it appears that the replenishment will not get underway before 2017 (due to delays in the plane’s development in the United States). Postponement of the F-35I means a postponement in payment, with the result that the air force has the funds to acquire Hercules-class (C-130J) cargo planes. Problem is, Lockheed Martin’s production line is overloaded, and it is doubtful whether Israel will be given priority. A key element in the air force’s multi-year plan will probably be the enhancement of its long-range capabilities (in-flight refueling and satellite communications systems) and the ability to attack heavily fortified targets - relevant in the case of Iran – with

JUNE 2011


 The “Apache Long Bow”

IDF Ground Forces To understand the dramatic changes in the IDF ground forces, it helps to recall the lecture given by the force’s commander six years ago, in which he stated that the day of the tank as a key player on the battlefield is over. This was before the Second Lebanon War, and the commander of the ground forces at the time – Benny Gantz – is none other than today’s chief of staff. As commander of the ground forces Gantz was involved in the “Sling” plan and that was designed to limit the number of tanks by double-digit percentages. The plan was scotched at the outbreak of the Second Lebanon War. In its place, the IDF implemented the five-year plan, fostered by the outgoing chief of staff, Lieutenant General Gabi Ashkenazi, that called for replenishment with the latest Merkava tanks as well as hundreds of Merkava (“Namer”) armored personnel carriers (APCs), most of which will be produced in the United States. The acquisition plan for the tanks


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and APCs has been finalized and will continue to be implemented in the coming fiveyear plan and the one after it, that is, for the next ten years at least. Active defense systems designed to intercept antitank missiles will be installed in the both types of armored vehicles, providing them with “continuous and protected” maneuvering capability, according to IDF standards. Tanks and APCs are only one element in the enhancement of the ground forces’ maneuvering capabilities. A major issue in the IDF is whether to provide the ground forces with the ability to hit targets with the accuracy of a few meters at ranges of 40-150 kilometers. Until now this has been the IAF’s exclusive domain, and the air force sees no reason for the land army to acquire precision fire capabilities. But the decision seems to have been made: “Halamish” will provide the ground forces with the budget needed for developing precision fire capability (overriding air force opposition). In addition, the ground forces can expect to receive “Iron Flame” preci-

Photo: Elbit System

bunker buster bombs. In the next five-year plan the air force will consider replenishment with Boeing’s V-22 aircraft, which is capable of vertical take off and landing like a helicopter, and establishing two squadrons of unmanned aerial vehicles (UAVs) for low altitude flight. In addition, the IAF will continue to invest in upgrading its fleet of attack helicopters - the “Apache” (“Python”) and “Apache Long Bow” (“Serpent”) – capable of dealing autonomously and simultaneously with sixteen targets.

Photo: Air Force Magazine

 Digital Army Program (DAP) System

sion rockets (produced by Israel Military Industries) with a forty kilometer range (at a cost of 25 thousand dollars per unit). The five-year plan envisions the main strengthening of the ground forces in infantry killing-power. Infantrymen at the tactical level will be able to obtain precise coordinates in the field with laptop computers, as well as advanced observation and UAV systems directly subordinate to the ground forces. The branch will have to prepare for combat in vast desert expanses, in the event that the peace treaties with Egypt are annulled; and for fighting with precision weapons in the type of urban warfare that has characterized the last decade. Target acquisition in a quantity “sufficient” for the precision-guided munitions (PGMs) will require a major investment in upgrading the ground forces’ intelligence gathering capability (formerly termed “field intelligence”). Another large investment can be expected in the combat engineers. Also, the ground forces are keenly interested in replacing the out-of-date artillery layout with new German cannon that will be manufactured in the United States (See page 54). The ground forces will undoubtedly pursue the replenishment of precision, self-propelled “Keshet” mortars at the tactical level (produced by Soltam, now part of Elbit Systems). The DAP (Digital Army Program) is another ongoing project expected to receive large funding in the coming multi-year plan. In DAP’s first stage, networks were deployed for data transfer between the ground units. The following stages will see the completion of

The Israeli Navy After the navy was shaken to the roots in the Second Lebanon War it too adopted a five-year plan. “Halamish” is expected to continue in the same line. The branch invested prodigious resources in weapons survivability after the summer of 2006, but the ORBAT (“order of battle” - command hierarchy, overall strength, and deployment of personnel, equipment, and units) remains a major problem. The navy’s budget is 5% of the IDF budget, but as a strategic branch it enjoys “central budgets” (which go almost entirely toward the purchase of new submarines). The branch may have a crucial role to play in case hostile action is taken against Iran. In 2013-2014 two additional “Dolphin”-class submarines, now under construction in Emden, Germany dockyards at a cost of one billion plus dollars, are scheduled to arrive in Israel. According to foreign sources, the subs have a “second strike” capability of launching nuclear missiles in the event of an Iranian preemptive nuclear attack. A decade ago the navy received three “Dolphin”-class subs financed largely by Germany in a token gesture after Israel weathered a missile attack in the 1991 Gulf War. Unlike the first three subs, Israel has paid for the new ones almost in full out of its own pocket. The decision to order two more “Dolphins” was made in 2005 by Prime Minister Ariel Sharon, despite opposition on the part of the IDF and its chief of staff, Lieutenant General Dan Halutz, who preferred investing the money in other areas of replenishment. With the addition of the two “Dolphins” the navy’s underwater fleet will consist of five modern submarines, and there

are indications of a decision in the near future by the political sphere for the purchase of a sixth sub – though the IDF and navy are opposed. The navy complains that the plans for strengthening its missile boat fleet are “stuck in the water”. Its newest missile boats – the 2000 ton “Sa’ar 5” - were acquired in the United States during the 1990s. Today the navy wants to bolster the fleet with modern missile boats weighing 2500-3000 tons. The branch is looking at vessels with larger platforms than those on the “Sa’ar 5” in order to install the “Barak 8” antiaircraft system (perhaps even the “Arrow 3” missile system when it becomes operational) and have enough deck space for a medium-size helicopter (rather than the small-size helicopter that the “Sa’ar 5” carries). The previous five-year plan allotted $200 million for new missile boats, but the money was not utilized. Today the navy and defense ministry are submitting a plan to have the new missile boats produced in Israel Ship-

The navy’s newest missile boats – the 2000 ton “Sa’ar 5” were acquired in the United States during the 1990s. Today the navy wants to bolster the fleet with modern missile boats weighing 2500-3000 tons Photo: IDF Spoakesperson

DAP deployment to all ground units, and its link-up to the air force and other branches. Last but not least: In order to meet all the challenges (for example, war in the Sinai) – the ground forces will have to create new frameworks. This too may be decided.

 Israeli missile boat

yards Ltd. based on blueprints to be purchased from the German conglomerate TKMS (ThyssenKrupp Marine Systems) which also makes the “Dolphin” subs. The agreement is close to finalization but a number of parties on the General Staff stand opposed, claiming that the boats’ large platforms will be easy “prey” for enemy missiles and aircraft despite the defensive measures installed on board for protection. In this light, the missile boats decision may fall by default on the chief of staff and defense minister.

Intelligence The Directorate of Military Intelligence (Aman in Hebrew) is intensively involved in strengthening working relationships and cooperation between the intelligence branches, the fighting forces, and the field units, and instilling in all intelligence personnel an awareness of the needs of the field levels. This too is a lesson learned from the Second Lebanon War. But there’s more to it: Aman has to make a major investment in improving the level of cooperation with its sister organizations – the Mossad and Shin Bet – and augmenting intelligence collecting in several sectors – in the Palestinian arena and the northern fronts – including data gathering for an attack on Iran (if the decision in made). Over the next five years the entire intelligence will undergo a thorough upgrade in collecting capabilities and computerization largely due to the transfer of its bases to the Negev (Israel’s southern desert). The sale of valuable real estate in the center of the country will finance the revamp of the whole physical and technological infrastructure in the new bases. Cyberwarfare is increasingly becoming the core activity in the intelligence layout (see the article on pages 26). “As a rule, without relevant intelligence, no matter how sophisticated the IDF’s offensive capabilities are, they won’t be worth a damn”, declares a military source. “In general, given the instability in the region and the threat of an Iranian nuclear bomb - the multi-year plan currently on the agenda is truly the most crucial one in the history of IDF force building”. 

JUNE 2011


Israel’s Not Only Satellites

PLACE IN SPACE Surveillance and communication satellites, microsatellites, radar, electric propulsion systems, even a satellite the size of a stone – are just a few of the dozens of Israeli innovations already aloft and those set to join them in orbit in the coming years. Efrat Cohen and Moriya Ben Yosef present a bird’s eye view of Israel’s “place in space” in an IsraelDefense special project By Efrat Cohen and Moriya Ben Yosef 36

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A swarm

of microsatellites, in flight formation, performing complex tasks in synch, such as semi-permanent surveillance over specified areas; five to ten mini-satellites circling a larger satellite to protect it; a platoon of kamikaze nano-satellites smashing into the solar panels of enemy satellites – this is not a promo for a science fiction flick but some of the very serious goals that Israel’s space industry is working towards. Israel is gaining invaluable expertise in the production of small, light-weight satellites with a high performance level relative to mass and cost, and that can be rapidly deployed in space within one or two weeks from the moment of decision. But there’s more to Israel’s space activity. In addition to satellites, Israeli companies are also developing an array of satellite-mounted products, from cameras and telescopes to propulsion systems and research equipment. Put simply, scores of Israeli satellites and satellite

devices are orbiting Earth at various altitudes right this very moment.

Surveillance satellites Israel is one of eight countries that have successfully launched satellites into space. It officially joined the “space club” on September 19, 1988 with the launching of “Ofeq 1” after more than a decade of research. The Israel Aerospace Industries’ (IAI) Mabat Space Technologies plant is the main contactor for the development and production of Israeli satellites. The “Ofeq 1” and “Ofeq 2” satellites were developed primarily for experimentation and to prove Israel’s ability to operate in space. Both “Ofeqs” were launched with an Israeli “Shavit” (“Comet”) rocket produced in IAI’s Malam plant. The “Shavit” is a three-stage rocket. The engines in the first two stages are made by Israel Military Industries’

(IMI) Givon Advanced Systems plant (regarded as the official “focus of national knowledge”) in this field. The third engine is manufactured by Rafael. At the outset Israel realized it was up against a special problem: it had to launch its satellite rockets westward, that is, against the direction of the Earth’s spin, because of the Arab states neighboring it on the east and the fear of harming their populations in the event of a malfunction. Therefore the Palmachim Air Force Base on the Mediterranean is the site of Israel’s rocket launchings. “Ofeq 1” and 2 have long ceased to function, but today Israel has other satellites orbiting in space. Those of the “Ofeq” series are designed for surveillance and information gathering and are the “serious stuff” from a military point of view. “Ofeq 3” (launched in 1995) was the first Israeli satellite to relay pictures to the IAF’s control center. The “Ofeq 4” launch failed (1998), but “Ofeq 5” (2002) is still in orbit, several years longer than expected. The “Ofeq 6” launch (2004) also failed, however “Ofeq 7” (2007) enhanced the quality of the images relayed from space. “Ofeq 8”, also called “TecSAR,” launched in January 2008, is transmitting outstanding quality pictures based on radar technology rather than optical technology. Radar technology provides all-weather

imaging capability day or night, even in heavy cloud formations – thus completing the information transmitted from other satellites. “Ofeq 9” (launched in June 2010, weight – 3000 kilograms) is the latest Israeli satellite. It mounts a camera produced by Elbit Systems Elop (ElectroOptics) that provides very fast picture taking. Working in coordination with the older “Ofeq” satellites, “Ofeq 9” enhances “coverage” of Middle Eastern areas that Israeli intelligence is interested in. Currently Israel’s defense industries are developing and building “Ofeq 10”, whose launch date is still unknown. In addition to military satellites, the Israeli aerospace industry has developed commercial imaging satellites whose pictures are sold to private firms and foreign countries. These satellites are owned by ImageSat International (42% of which is held by IAI, 12% by Elbit Systems, and the rest by other investors). Images are relayed to the company’s ground control center in Or Yehuda (a Tel Aviv suburb). ImageSat operates two satellites – “EROS A1”, that was launched in December 2000 (weight - 250 kilos), and “EROS B”, that was launched in April 2006 (weight - 290 kilos). “EROS B” is mounted with an Elop-produced camera to supply photos with a 70 centimeter resolution. In addition to satellites already Photo: IAI

in orbit, IAI is developing a chassis for research satellites (bus), as part of its plan that lets clients install equipment on the back of a basic space vehicle. IAI has also revealed the development of Opsat 3000 - an advanced photo satellite based on the generic bus. Another project underway is the Venus satellite - a joint effort between Israeli and French satellite agencies. Launch date is in two years. Venus is a microsatellite designed to monitor vegetation and agricultural growth. It will be mounted with a Rafael-made advanced electric propulsion system that was developed in conjunction with the Soreq Nuclear Research Center. Rafael is currently developing a system of microsatellites (satellites weighing a few hundred kilos) that allow for operational reactivity in space and use in Earth surveillance. “Right now we’re in the initial stage of the development and hope that by the end of the year we’ll have reached the first level and more or less know the architecture and price of the product”, say Dr. Yaakov Sharoni, Rafael’s microsatellite project manager. “The goal is to attain a satellite layout that transmits images from the same area at one hour time intervals at most, compared to several hours or even days in the case of a lone satellite. The system’s operations are designed for special dual applications for both military and civilian purposes.

Communication satellites In addition to satellite photography, Israel also operates communications satellites mainly for commercial demands. “Amos 1”, Israel’s first communications satellite, was developed by IAI and sent into orbit in May 1996 and “Amos 2” was launched in December 2003. Both satellites entered orbit at longitude 4 degrees West on a geocentric track above the equator at an altitude of 36,000 kilometers. “Amos 3” was launched in April 2008 and replaced “Amos 1”. IAI is currently building “Amos 4” whose launch date is set tentatively for 2013. The “Amos” series satellites are owned by Space-

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 A Skeleton of the “Eros B” Satellite

com, which is jointly held by IAI, Eurocom Holdings, C. Mer Industries, and GSSC (General Satellite Services Company).

Space cameras A visit to the Elop plant’s new space lab, in conjunction with the defense ministry, reveals many new products besides satellites being developed. Elop’s flagship specialization is space cameras. In addition to the cameras that it supplies to the “Ofeq” and “Eros” series satellites it also developed the satellite camera “Compsat 2” for the South Korean Space Agency. In a joint project with the Israel Space Agency, Elop has also developed the TAUVEX telescope that operates at ultraviolet frequencies; and, together with the French Space Agency, the superspectral camera designed for the Venus project. Elop is working on the Jupiter camera that will relay images from 600 kilometers above Earth. Dr. Gabby Sarusi, Elop’s deputy CEO, says, “The model that we’re developing is expected to be integrated into the ‘Ofeq 10’ satellite within a year or two. Jupiter will be able to spot relatively small objects over a wide area. Just as the enemy is constantly trying to camouflage his activities, we’re constantly improving our detection capability on various wave lengths in order to obtain as many details as possible from the satellite images. I’m referring to color and ‘chemistry’. For example, a particular type of tank can be identified by its emission gasses. Curiously, civilian parties are also interested in this camera technology whose rich data can be exploited for economic purposes,


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Photo: IAI

such as aquatic agriculture”. According to Dr. Sarusi, Elop is also developing a space model of a camera that was originally designed to be mounted on airplanes. Its unique feature is that it contains a broad spectrum of wave lengths from the edge of ultraviolet via visible light to infrared. This is of crucial importance to intelligence bodies since it enables locating and interpreting camouflaged targets. “Our goal is to have Israel independent of external elements and obtain full coverage from space of the areas that it is interested in”, explains Dr. Sarusi. “Space is of strategic importance to Israel and also contains the added deterrent value. Space research is carried out in a convenient, accessible environment compared to air surveillance systems based on airplanes and UAVs. Also, only the satellite can provide access to any point on the planet”. Sarusi notes that Elop emphasizes camera miniaturization while maintaining image quality.

Propulsion in space Rafael’s space products are also tied to state-of-the-art propulsion systems for satellites. We’re not the first in the world in this area, but we’re the first Israeli company involved in it”, says Jacob Herscovitz, chief systems engineers of the Manor Division Space Systems Directorate, Rafael. “Electric propulsion energy comes entirely or partially from sunlight, which reduces satellite weight because less fossil fuel has to be taken on board, making the satellite more efficient and economical. At low altitudes (the orbit of most Is-

raeli satellites) every collision with atoms and particles slows the satellite down. The electric engine compensates for this by pushing a little harder in these orbits. The uniqueness of the Venus system that we’re working on is that it’s a bi-propulsion (chemical and electrical) system integrated into a hybrid scheme. Rafael engineers are also working on ‘autonomous orbit control’ that calculates orbital corrections that the satellite autonomously performs. The ground station only has to relay the designated position and the satellite will get there ‘on its own’. Low orbit flight and photography such as Venus – are difficult tasks to perform using traditional propulsion methods”. Rafael is part of the European EXOMARS Project. The fuel tanks it manufactures will be on the vehicle scheduled to land on Mars in 2016. In addition, Rafael’s special fuel diaphragms, that are mounted on foreign research satellites, are located today 2.5 million kilometers from Earth. Israeli industries are working on a wide range of aerospace products: atomic clocks, for example, the most accurate time measurement known, are being developed by Accubeat and other Israeli companies. “Israel’s motto is ‘better performance at minimal investment’. This calls for the research and development of lighter, more complex materials, and long-term R&D in order to attain these abilities”, IsraelDefense learns from Professor Ehud Bachar, head of the Asher Space Research Institute at the Technion. (The Asher Space Research Institute developed “Techsat 2” - a micro research satellite that orbit for almost twelve years before burning out last year). Professor Bachar says that the Technion is studying the possibility of embarking on another satellite project whose goal is still undetermined. “Much of our research is carried out in conjunction with the defense establishment and defense industries. Today we’re focusing on tasks requiring more than one satellite operating in flight formation. The Technion has one of the most advanced simulation laboratories in the world for testing these applications. We’re

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also working on improving traffic surveillance capabilities via centripetal optics and “king-size” telescopes. We’re also engaged in projects that spot radiation sources on the ground”, Professor Bachar informs us. In the past the Technion and Rafael were partners in satellite communications research via laser beams. Israel is proud to be part of international cooperation efforts in space research. For example, it is partner in the Galileo Project which is developing a European global navigational satellite system that will parallel the American GPS network.

The direction: nano-satellites Israel has to specialize in nano-satellites (up to ten kilos) with an emphasis on civilian products rather than military services, says the head of the Israel Space Agency, Major General (res.) Professor Yitzhak Ben Israel. The agency formulated a five-year plan based on a national grant of $416 million for projects that will put Israel in the booming global space market. The Ministry of Science has chosen IAI’s Mabat plant to be the head contractor overseeing the national space project (pending government confirmation and budget allocation). Some of the projects which will probably take part in are: “InKlajn-1” – a research and communications satellite to be developed by the Israel Nano- Satellite Association in conjunction with IAI; “Dukhifat-1”- a satellite weighing only one kilogram manufactured by the Herzliya Science Center under the directive of the Spacelist Company that provides services to amateur radio operators; “Opsat 3000” and “LiteSat” - microsatellite produced by Rafael (estimated weight - 100 kilograms) that will carry a dual-operation payload for military and civilian purposes. The air force is pressing Israel’s defense industries to magnify the level of satellite image resolution and accuracy to ten times greater than its current level. Sounds far-fetched? Israel’s accomplishments since entering the “space club” twenty-three years ago testify that this goal is entirely feasible. 

Tal Inbar Success on the Cusp of Crisis Israel’s outstanding achievements in aerospace are attributed to its need for reconnaissance satellites and self-reliance in launch capabilities. Its accomplishments have gained it membership in the exclusive “space club.” Despite its successes, Israel’s space industry has been on the cusp of a crisis for years. In the absence of essential financial support Israel’s “place in space” will falter, and inevitably precipitate the loss of invaluable knowledge through a brain drain. Much has been written in the media on various plans, such as the national civilian space program, but they have yet to receive the necessary budgetary backing. Commercial opportunities have been missed (sales of reconnaissance satellites to various countries and the loss of a hefty contract for a communications satellite because of a better bid by Russia). Part of this setback is due to management at the national level that sees investment in space mainly through the lens of the budget, with the result that Israel’s space programs have come to a crossroads. Israel’s space program has to be stabilized and given preferential status on the national agenda so it can transform Israel’s abilities into an economic, industrial, and educational powerhouse. When leaders of foreign nations with space capabilities make official visits they market these abilities directly and energetically to foreign clients. Sales transactions of weapons systems are often sweetened with a complementary “sugar plum” in the form of sales in satellites or space services. Israel can and must act likewise. That is, it must promote its proven abilities in space not only in cooperation agreements with the other countries and space agencies (such agreements were signed with the European Space Agency in January and Russia’s space agency in March) or satellite startups devoted to scientific research, but also in the sale of its satellites and partnerships with other countries in the development of the next generation of satellites. Israel’s technological abilities need a springboard into non-traditional areas of space, for example, high resolution surveillance satellites to monitor natural disasters such as earthquakes, tsunamis, floods, and fires. Disaster monitoring and management have gained the strong support of international bodies, but Israel hasn’t entered this field yet. Israel’s private and commercial space ventures are few and far between. Corrective legislation offering tax incentives and setting up risk funds for startups and partnerships with the business community in national space programs can significantly alter Israel’s opportunities for profit and advancement in space. Without a national space program that establishes clearly-defined targets for industry, space will remain the exclusive domain of the defense ministry and its related industries. The field will continue to develop in fits and starts unless it develops a clear intrinsic interface with the civilian-commercial community. The threshold of technological entry into space is getting lower; Israel must preserve its qualitative gap with the confrontational states that are also striving to make their presence felt in space. Israel also has to increase its capabilities vis-à-vis the developed countries so it can enjoy the fruits of economic success in the space market. It is not beyond of Israel’s ability to garner a thin slice of the lucrative global space market, just as it earned for itself a world-class reputation in the arms industry. The fruits of government investment in the advancement of Israel’s aerospace programs will benefit the entire country. Tal Inbar is the director of the Space and UAV Research Center at the Fisher Brothers Institute for Air and Space Strategic Studies. His main field of research is space policy and programs

JUNE 2011


Israeli satellites Cameras and Components

Satellite Panel Structures 1 Manufacturer: Rafael Data: panels for "Amos" and "Venus" communications satellites.

Tauvex Developer: Elop and Tel Aviv University Data: telescope for deep space research. Not in use yet.

Satellite Panel Structures 2 Manufacturer: Rafael Data: satellite structure components.

Neptune Manufacturer: Elop Data: camera mounted on Eros B satellite. Resolution 70 cms. At an altitude of 500 kilometers

Satellite Panel Structures 3 Manufacturer: Rafael Data: "Venus" satellite structure panel.

Future hyper-spectral photographing system Manufacturer: Elop Data: Future camera that enables simultaneous multi-wavelength photography of an area, adaptable to complex intelligence missions.

Mercury Manufacturer: Elop Data: camera mounted on EROS A1 satellite. Resolution 2 meters at an altitude of 500 kilometers.

Venus Manufacturer: Elop in partnership with the French and Israeli Space Agencies Data: superspectral camera (from infrared almost to UV) for ecological missions.



Manufacturer: Rafael Data: valves for propulsion systems.

Manufacturer: Elop Data: black/white and color camera. Designated for Ofeq 10 satellite. Resolution 50 cms (black/white) and 2 meters (color) at an altitude of 600 kilometers.

Telescope Structure Manufacturer: Rafael Data: main structure of telescope for the "Ofeq" and "EROS" family; not sensitive to temperature change.

Uranus-MSC Manufacturer: Elop for the South Korean Space Agency Data: black/white and color camera. Burned up along with satellite two years ago at conclusion of mission.

Deployable Antenna Ribs Manufacturer: Rafael Data: antenna of TecSAR satellite deployed in space. Rib length: 2300 mm. Not sensitive to temperature change.

Propulsion systems Manufacturer: Rafael Data: Hydrazine engine – thrust of 1 Newton, for "Venus" future satellite and others.

25N Thruster Manufacturer: Rafael Data: hydrazine engine – thrust 25 Newton for "Ofeq," "EROS," and "TecSAR" satellites.

200N RCS Thrusters 40


PEPT 590

N1 Thruster

Manufacturer: Rafael Data: 2011 steering and JUNE stabilizing system for satellite launchers.

Manufacturer: Rafael Data: "TecSAR" satellite propulsion system.

Manufacturer: Rafael Data: fuel tank for propulsion. Capacity: 75 kg.

PEPT 260 Manufacturer: Rafael Data: fuel tank for propulsion. Capacity: 6.9 kg.

IHET 300 Manufacturer: Rafael Data: Hall Effect electric motor for the "Venus" satellite.

Vens~1 Manufacturer: Rafael Data: hybrid propulsion system for the "Venus" satellite – electric and chemical propulsion.

and space products Satellites

TecSAT 2 Manufacturer: Technion Data: research. Launched in 1998, non-operational in 2010 but still in orbit. Weight: 48 kilos.

Opsat 3000 – future satellite Manufacturer: IAI Data: "Third generation" surveillance satellite.

Ofeq 5 Manufacturer: IAI Data: operational photography; the oldest active satellite. Launched in 2002 and expected to become non-operational this year

LiteSat – future satellite Manufacturer: Rafael Data: surveillance microsatellite, parallel military and civilian objectives. Weight: approximately 100 kilos.

Ofeq 7 Manufacturer: IAI Data: surveillance satellite. Resolution: 70 cms. Launched in 2007.


Venus – future satellite

Manufacturer: IAI Data: radar sensing satellite. Creates high resolution, day/night, all-weather 3D imaging of Earth. Launched in 2008.

Manufacturer: IAI Data: research. Superspectral camera. Scheduled for launch in coming years.

Ofeq 9 Manufacturer: IAI Data: operational photography. Covers area, and enables faster picture taking than Ofeq 5 and 7. Launched in 2010.

Amos 4 – future satellite Manufacturer: IAI Data: communications. Scheduled launch: 2012; to orbit above Southeast Asia and enable direct communications between Japan and the Middle East.

Amos 1 Manufacturer: IAI Data: the first Israeli communications satellite. Launched in 1996. Operated by Spacecom. Sold to an American company two years ago.

Amos 2 Manufacturer: IAI Data: communications satellite for television and Internet, operated by Spaceom. Launched in 2003.

InKlajn 1 – future nano-satellite Manufacturer: INSA WITH IAI Data: technological research and testing, radio communications. Weight: 3.5 kilos. Scheduled launch: 2012.

Amos 3 Manufacturer: IAI Data: advanced communications satellite, replaced "Amos 1". Launched in 2008 and expected to operate for eighteen years.

EROS A1 Manufacturer: IAI Data: commercial photography. Resolution 1.2 meters. Launched in 2000.

Dukhifat 1 – future nano-satellite Manufacturer: Herzliya Science Center under supervision of Spacelist Data: amateur radio operators. Weight: 1 kilo. Scheduled launch: coming years.



Manufacturer: IAI Data: commercial photography. Resolution 70 cms. Launched in 2006.

Shavit Manufacturer: IAI Data: satellites launcher. Carrying weight into space: approximately 300 kilos.

JUNE 2011




special interviews

The World Is Going Miniature

By Amir Rapaport


lop isn’t just another subsidiary of Elbit Systems Ltd. Established before Israel attained statehood, Elop was the first company to be acquired by Elbit in the early 1990s, and soon became the springboard for Elbit’s phenomenal growth. Today Elop employs 1800 workers and is ranked the fifth largest electro-optics company in the world and the largest such company outside the United States. “I’m especially proud of the variety of products in our shopping cart”, 39-year old Adi Dar, Elop CEO and the youngest manager in Elbit Systems Ltd. tells IsraelDefense. “I know of no other electro-optics company so diversified in the commercial field as we are – from space cameras to manual thermal binoculars, from laser pointers (where we’re one of the two largest companies in the world) to aircraft payloads, from aerial photography systems to head-up displays in combat planes, and from hyperspectral frequency imaging to command and control systems in tanks”. Elop is in the process of expansion. The core of the company, including


JUNE 2011

Photo: Meir Azulay

“The miniaturization that we applied in our systems began with cellphones,” says Adi Dar, CEO of Elop, one of the leading electro-optics companies in the world. In an exclusive interview with IsraelDefense, Dar explains the company’s latest technology – laser beam transmission via fiber optics  Adi Dar, Elop CEO

the space lab inaugurated this year (a joint investment with the Israeli Defense Ministry), is located in the Science Park between Nes Ziona and Rehovot, south of Tel Aviv. Subsidiaries have been set up throughout Israel, as well as in Europe and Asia. Two of these companies are in partnership with Rafael Advanced Defense Systems: Opgal and SCDSemiConductor Devices. Elop recently completed the integration of two additional Israeli companies that it acquired last year: Azimuth and ITL. Elop’s main areas of activity are thermal imaging systems, laser-based systems, and visual intelligence systems (IMMINT). One of the subsidiaries, Elsec (Elbit Security Systems), also deals with homeland security (HLS).

The direction: miniaturization Elop’s balances are included in the overall financial reports of Elbit Systems Ltd., and are not revealed separately to the public. But scores of transactions have received publicity (such as the deal

involving the installation of laser-based C-MUSIC systems - Commercial-Multi Spectral Infrared Countermeasure - in Italian Air Force aircraft, valued at $27 million) and testify to annual sales in the realm of hundreds of millions of dollars. Another recent deal, with the US Marines, attests to the general direction Elop is moving in: miniaturization. The deal entails an Elop subsidiary in the United States that won a $9.6 million contract to supply JTAC (Joint Terminal Attack Controller) laser target designator systems for the Quantico Marine Corps Base, Virginia (If training and maintenance are included the deal could come to $10.8 million.) The 1.5 kilogram, battery-powered system enables infantry forces to mark and code targets for laser-guided weapons. It integrates the capabilities of Rattler, a miniature coded laser previously installed in naval and air payloads, which is now in use by infantry forces. “Within only three or four years dramatic breakthroughs in miniaturization have revolutionized electro-optics – reducing weight and volume by 50%”

Photo: Elbit Systems

says Adi Dar. “Surveillance systems of reduced weight on aircraft is nothing tion. Today we use more exotic materilike ‘Yuval’, that weighed 7-8 kilograms short of breathtaking”. als –tougher, lighter, and better able to a few years ago have evolved into ‘Amit’ How was miniaturization achierecel disperse heat. In this area various things systems weighing only three kilos with at? Technology doesn’t usually ad- have combined to create the big bang improved performance. This same vance by quantum jumps. It must be of miniaturization that crosses all levels”. happened to laser pointers. Pointers based on some kind of invention? that three years ago were the crown“This isn’t about ‘inventions’. The laws Laser ing glory in the field weighed six to ten of physics are permanent, unchanging. The MUSIC system that Adi Dar menkilos; today we can mark targets at half Miniaturization is going on not only in the range - three kilometers – with a electro-optics but in everything! For ex- tioned, which intercepts shoulder-fired pointer weighing in at only 600 grams. ample, telephones have miniaturized to missiles by means of laser beams, also Miniaturization has enabled us to cut the the point where they can’t get any small- has a civilian parallel: C-MUSIC. Elop system’s electric output by half so that er because human fingers are too big for won a tender valued at $90 million from operating time is longer with the same the miniaturized push buttons. Batteries, the Israeli Ministry of Transportation to sized source of energy. A smaller battery too, which supply high outputs, are get- develop a civilian version of the system to protect scores of planes in Israel’s reduces the weight even more”. ting smaller and smaller. Another system – “Matan” – is be“What makes the world of electro- commercial airlines fleet from shouldering introduced into the IDF for day and optics more sensitive to change is that fired missiles. The project is in the final nighttime surveillance at ranges of 20- electronic systems depend very much stages and has begun licensing proce30 kilometers. It automatically feeds on computerized processors, and are at dures with the world’s aviation safety target coordinates into a computerized the cutting-edge of technology in com- authorities. “We envision the entire aircraft marDAP (Digital Army Program) system. Dar puterized image processing. The main notes that “’Matan’ weighs only twelve obstacles have always been the image ket, military and civilian, heading to the kilos – 60% less than previous systems processing capabilities. The processors point where every airborne platform will at a similar performance level. A single were large and required large systems be protected from shoulder-launched missiles, currently considered the most soldier can carry it in his backpack – in- for heat dispersion. stead of three soldiers who were needed “Actually, every system has a comput- complicated threat in a low intensity to carry parallel surveillance systems be- er, and just as computers have made combat-urban warfare environment”, fore. The system’s precision coordinates the quantum leap in the last five years, says Adi Dar. “Laser technology is also used in are based on the position of stars that it so have the military systems. Sensors, obtains from target acquisition systems too, have taken the technological leap in the ‘softkill’ systems against antitank missiles by jamming precision guided developed by the Azimuth Company the direction of miniaturization. (with whom we merged recently). “Much of the technological revolution warheads (unlike the active intercep“Take another example of state-of- was generated by the cellular revolu- tor systems that destroy the incomthe-art miniaturization”, Dar continues. “Today, extremely impressive optical results can be attained from an eight-kilo payload employing an eight inch lens – a task that only 3-4 years ago was virtually impossible. The miniaturization revolution cuts across all fields of electrooptics and has reached manual ‘flirim’ (night binoculars that identify objects according to their heat emissions), and even defense systems for planes - such as C-MUSIC (that intercepts an incoming missile by directing a heat-producing laser beam towards it). The system is based on “DIRCM” technology (Directional Infrared Counter Measures). The entire system, including the sensors, weighs less than fifty kilos. The influence  Rattler - Dismounted Miniature Coded Designator/Marker

JUNE 2011



special interviews

 LOROP - long range oblique photography of Tel-Aviv, over 100 km Photo: Elbit Systems

ing missile in flight or diverts it from its trajectory, for example, Israel Military Industries’ ‘Iron Fist’ and Rafael’s ‘Trophy’ systems)”. Has there also been significant technological development in the world of lasers? “The main development has been the transition from ‘stand-alone’ lasers to laser-based systems”. Explain please. “The transition is Elop’s entry into the field of fiber-based optics. This is technology that we invented, but is based on fiber optics – a dynamic area in communications. On the basis of fiber optics technology we developed a ‘fiber optic laser’ that enables systems like MUSIC to guide a very high energy laser to the missile’s warhead. “The first development in the field of lasers, a few years ago, was the shift from creating a beam with light to creating one with a diode (like in the JTAC binoculars that we sold the marines). The energy needed to create a laser in MUSIC is produced by a generator and transmitted by the fiber. From the edge of the flexible and steerable fiber, a thin, very


JUNE 2011

low divergence laser beam flies out like a fishing line. The line can be accurately directed to any point. We’ve also applied this technology in the development of laser radar”. And what is laser radar? “This is a system that emits laser be ams, like those emitted from a laser range meter. The beams are able to pierce thousands of points in an area at an infinite rate at a very high level of precision. Laser beams are invisible to the naked eye but create a synthetic 3D map of the world at ranges measured in kilometers. The classical application of this system is in obstacle identification. The system that we’ve developed – SWORD (Surveillance and Warning Obstacle Ranging and Display) - can identify barbed wire 2 mm thick at two kilometers and warn helicopter pilots of the danger. At present this is the only practical use of the technology”.

Visual intelligence Cooperation between the aviation industries and Elop in the field of aerospace has the aviation industry building

the spy satellites for Israel and Elop producing the space cameras. Elop’s photographic surveillance systems are used in all kinds aircraft, manned and unmanned, for the Israeli Air Force. One of the systems - LOROP (Long Range Oblique Photography) – is used for day and nighttime, all-weather angular photography by combat aircraft at ranges of over 100 kilometers, and has recently been the center of discussions in the defense establishment. The main issue was whether to supply the system to Turkey, in accordance with a deal that was signed in 2008 (valued at $140 million, including ELTA-manufactured ground radar stations), or to freeze the deal due to the deterioration in IsraeliTurkish relations subsequent to its signing. The biggest concern is that the system’s technological data will find its way into the hands of hostile elements. But the consultations concluded with the decision to supply the systems to Turkey within a few weeks on the grounds that heavier damage could ensue from a breach of contract than from the danger that certain parties might try to emulate the system’s technology. 

JUNE 2011



special interviews

“We Still Have a Long Way to Grow” In just one decade Aeronautics has gone from a modest technological hothouse to one of the top defense companies in Israel and number four in the world in UAVs. In an exclusive IsraelDefense interview, Avi Leumi, Aeronautics' CEO and owner, presents the next areas of company growth: ground robots and UAVs for civilian use By Amir Rapaport


eronautics' big break came in 2001. The Second Intifada was at its peak and the IDF faced a relentless wave of terror emanating from the West Bank and Gaza Strip. The troops in the field were suffering from a chronic lack of tactical intelligence, especially since the intelligence unit that operated tactical UAVs had been scuttled the previous year, and all UAV operations were transferred to the air force. When Avi Leumi heard of the ground forces' difficulties (in a chance social meeting with an IDF general), an idea was born: his own company, Aeronautics, would lease and operate UAVs for the IDF and get paid by flying hours. Given the urgency of the circumstances, the offer was grabbed up even though it was an unprecedented move: operational activity being outsourced! No matter how you look at it, Avi Leumi's offer was ambitious. He was only in his thirties and the company he was marketing to the IDF as an operations contractor was not more than a "technological hothouse": three people, crowded in a 40m2 apartment, who dreamed of developing a new generation of avionics for UAVs. "We never imagined actually operating UAVs, let alone producing them", recalls Avi Leumi in a special interview with IsraelDefense. "But things turned out differently. Today we're the second largest UAV producers in Israel (after Israel Aerospace Industries – IAI) and the fourth largest in the world. We employ one thousand workers and have full or partial holdings in fifteen subsidiaries around the globe. Right now we're expanding into the field of ground robotics. In the field of aircraft we're the only company that develops all the systems "in house" – control (avionics), communications, navigation, and command & control (C2) - that is, in Aeronautics' own plant or


JUNE 2011

 Avi Leumi, Aeronautics’ CEO and owner

through our subsidiaries. In each of these four areas we've reached the highest level of quality according to world standards, and in the field of navigation we're listed as number one. A few days before Avi Leumi gave this interview, he received a message that Aeronautics had won the Ministry of Industry, Trade & Labor's prize for the most successful company in Israel that grew out of the "technological hothouses" ("Technological hothouses" are startups that receive a government grant from the "Chief Scientist". Only a small number of them survive the first couple of years). Aeronautics is the technological hothouse that Leumi set up with his partners: Moshe Caspi, who developed the "Pazomat" – a device for automatic refueling at gas stations; and Zvika Naveh - today the owner of the UAV company "Inocon". The three planned to develop UAV C2 systems and sell them to the large established UAV manufacturers.

Photo: Meir Azulay

On the road to becoming one of Israel's six largest defense companies within a decade (with a turnover estimated in the hundreds of millions of dollars) Leumi waged a stormy struggle with the leading Israeli defense companies – IAI, Elbit Systems, and Rafael Advanced Defense Systems. An intelligence captain in the reserves, Leumi agrees that in many ways he is an "outsider". He did not grow up in the field together with senior IDF officers, many of whom hold key positions in the other companies. And he is obsessively competitive in winning tenders, which led him into clashes with the veteran giants, especially after Aeronautics began biting into their share of the market. Suddenly the startup had become an upstart. "In Israel the process of recognizing a new company is a long one", Leumi admits. "Only in the last one or two years can I say that we've 'made it' into the inner circle of the defense companies, most of which started out as government firms and

have the background and experience of over fifty years. Penetrating this tradition is not a simple matter. Without the openness of the defense ministry I don’t think we ever would have developed so fast. When the ministry spots an advantage that fits the IDF's operational needs it displays remarkable openness and cuts through the red tape". Today, Aeronautics enjoys strategic cooperation with Rafael (for example, Aeronautics subsidiaries' communications and navigation systems are integrated into Rafael's "Iron Dome" missile interceptor system). It's not rare to see Rafael's CEO, Major General (res.) Didi Ya'ari, seated as a guest in Avi Leumi's office, and vice versa. Leumi acknowledges that "a certain degree of cooperation also exists with IAI". But it's hard to speak of cooperation with Elbit Systems, sometimes referred to as the megadefense company that will eventually take over Aeronautics. The two are considered rivals who vie tooth and nail for IDF tenders for supplying UAVs to the ground-tactical level. Why didn’t you compete for the recent tender to develop a low to medium altitude UAV? Only Elbit Systems offered a bid (and won with "Skylark II"). "We don’t have the economic means to compete on price alone. In the past years the trend in the defense ministry has been to choose the winner of a project mainly according to economic criteria". Are you saying that you didn’t bid for the tender because you feared that other companies would undercut the prices? "I don’t want to go into legal definitions but this was a question of prices that we claim are unprofitable, and we have no intention of subsidizing the project. I can't invest $30 million so that four years from now I'll be able to sell the product to another country. I have to attain at least a balance in the profit on each project. In any case, I prefer to have competitiveness based on the product's technology rather than on other things". Some of the struggles among the Israeli defense companies for UAV sales in South America and Africa have been accompanied with charges that bribery was used to

clinch the deals in Africa. Is this true? Are bribes an inseparable part of transactions in Africa? "First of all, sales in Africa account for only 10% of our worldwide sales. More than this, it's important to understand that a gross injustice is being committed against this continent if after every deal the bribery charge is raised. This is unfair if the world wants to see Africa progress. I'll admit that it's not easy to work in Africa. You need lots of understanding and patience. I'm prepared to prove that in the case of Aeronautics not every deal entails illegal acts, despite what the world thinks about doing business in Africa". Leumi points to another development that helped Aeronautics grow at a phenomenal rate: the technological revolution. "In the 1980s most of the technologies came from the world of 'defense' - including telephones and the Internet. Today we see that almost all the technological developments are the result of civilian applications. Take for example a field radio that used to weigh twenty kilos and compare it to today's ordinary lightweight mobile phone: naturally today's phones are much more advanced. Game consoles too, like Sony's 'Playstation' have processors far more powerful than any standard military simulator. "Our basic concept has been that we can take inexpensive civilian technology and develop it for military apps. The breathtaking developments in every field have definitely helped us. If in the past UAV ground stations were based on computers priced between four and six million dollars, then today the average laptop goes for a thousand dollars and its capabilities are stronger by several powers. The upshot is that the entry threshold into the defense business is much lower for young companies than in the past, and we've exploited this opportunity to the full". Now that you've established a large defense company in Israel, what next? "We're undergoing a major organizational overhaul. Shifting from a startup to a full-fledged company with all the standard institutions is a very complex process that we're still in the middle of. I believe it will be

completed by the end of 2012". Are you able to keep to all your commitments? "Given our growth rate in the last decade it's been difficult to maintain a faultless level of management, but I think that our number of employees will enable us to close the managerial gap. We've been a bit behind in some developments, but nothing substantial in comparison with other companies – and this has always been done in coordination with the client. True, our expansions has certainly been dramatic, but let's take a sober look at it. Aeronautics is a small company in the field of global defense. We still have a long way to grow. The annual global defense market stands at $1.4 trillion. We're very active in the field of UAVs, which still demands a lot of development. "Currently we're in the final stages of a three-year development project for all the main components of UAVs. We've developed the ‘Dominator’ (to mention just one product) - the first UAV that uses two engines to supply electricity at a voltage high enough to operate several systems simultaneously. We've also invested a great deal in advancing UAV regulations for civilian use. As part of this effort we've begun writing our programs according to civilian aviation standards. We believe that the more that UAVs are used for civilian tasks (such as traffic supervision and maintaining environmental quality) and not just for military purposes, the greater our chances of becoming the world leader in this field".

The direction: ground According to Avi Leumi, Aeronautics' UAV sales account for approximately 70% of the company's income. Aeronautics is investing heavily in the development of other systems (one of its subsidiaries, Orion, is the leading supplier of fuzes for air force bombs). "Our main direction of development will be 'ground' products", Avi Leumi reveals. "In recent years we've advanced deep into the field of ground robotics and have invested in the development of an entire series of robots for land and sea use. The fruits of this investment we hope to reap in the coming years". 

JUNE 2011



special interviews

“The only way to really do business is through joint ventures” Major General (res.) Yedidia Ya’ari, CEO of Rafael, in an exclusive IsraelDefense interview, discusses Rafael’s directions of development, “Iron Dome”, “Trophy”, the South Korean market, and the struggling merger with Israel Military Industries (IMI) By Yaakov Katz


JUNE 2011

Photo: Meir Azulay


n face of the global recession and the Americans’ planned withdrawal of military forces from Afghanistan and Iraq, Rafael Advanced Defense Systems continues its high-stake investment in R&D, in a bid to boost export sales, according to Yedidya Ya’ari, Rafael’s chief executive officer (CEO). Ya’ari, former commander of the Israeli Navy, was appointed CEO of Rafael in 2004, two years after the company went from being the Defense Ministry’s main R&D authority to an independent government-owned business with a global outreach. With his appointment, Rafael’s sales have steadily increased - from $798 million in 2004 to $1.6 billion in 2009 and $1.85 billion in 2010. Profits have also spiked from $112 million in 2009 to $170 million in 2010. In an exclusive interview with IsraelDefense, Ya’ari states that Rafael is well positioned in case of a possible slowdown: On the one hand it has a secure backlog of over $3.5 billion in contracts, and on the other hand it is developing unique technologies that the foreign market requires. Rafael, for example, annually invests hundreds of millions of dollars from its own coffers in R&D, not including funds provided by the government or customers for the development of special projects. “A company needs to invest constantly in R&D while looking ahead”, Ya’ari states. “In this respect Rafael is very similar to a hi-tech company. We have 6,500 workers but we’re competing head-to-head with industrial giants twenty times our size”. The last year alone, Rafael has spearheaded some of Israel’s leading technological achievements. It reached the 1000 mark

 Major General (res.) Yedidia Ya’ari, CEO of Rafael Advanced Defense Systems

in sales of its world-class targeting pod, called Litening, and in March, the company’s “Trophy” active protection system, mounted on an Israel Defense Forces (IDF) Merkava Mark IV tank, intercepted an antitank missile fired from the Gaza Strip. A month later, the “Iron Dome” counterrocket system intercepted eight rockets fired from the Gaza Strip at Beersheba and Ashkelon. Due to the immense international interest in the “Trophy”, Rafael will display the antimissile system at the Paris Air Show, in late June, even though it is a land system. “This is truly an amazing system – it can hibernate for a long time and then wake up exactly for the five seconds it’s needed to intercept an incoming missile”, Ya’ari relates. Ya’ari credits Rafael’s technological achievements to the high caliber of people employed in the company. As an example, he notes that 60% of Rafael’s workers are

engineers with second or third degrees. As a business strategy, Ya’ari has brought the company into a number of joint ventures with foreign companies. Two examples will suffice: The joint venture in the United States with Northrop Grumman to manufacture the Litening targeting pod; and the partnership with Raytheon to develop “David’s Sling”, an antimissile defense system designed to intercept medium-range missiles like the Iranian Zelzal and Fajr that are now in Hezbollah’s hands in Lebanon. Rafael has also joined forces with BAE Systems to manufacture naval weapon stations and is currently seeking new project partners in India and South Korea. “The only way to really do business today is through joint ventures since everyone wants to have the work done in his country and be self-sufficient”, Ya’ari says, predicting a boost in sales to South Korea, in the coming years, which he called a “major

emerging market”. “The two countries actually situated on the front lines are South Korea and Israel, and almost everything that is relevant for Israel can be relevant for South Korea”, he adds. Another flagship product of Rafael is “Iron Dome”, the anti-missile missile system that gained international prominence after intercepting Palestinian Kassam and Katyusha rockets in April. The defense ministry has ordered Rafael to build four more batteries in addition to the two it already supplied to the Israeli Air Force (IAF). Delivery of the first battery is expected in late 2011, and the remaining three in late 2012. The IDF hopes to purchase at least a dozen more over the coming years. According to Ya’ari, orders from foreign customers could speed up the delivery schedule to the IAF and also lower the cost of the system and its various components. “The size of the orders influences the

amount of time it takes to manufacture the system”. Ya’ari claims that the company’s rich, decades-long experience in developing air-toair missiles like the “Derby” and “Python” is what enabled it to develop the two revolutionary missile defense systems – “David’s Sling” and “Iron Dome”. Both systems will operate in the lower tiers of Israel’s planned multi-tiered missile defense architecture, topped by IAI’s “Arrow-2” and “Arrow-3” missiles. “Without the expertise gained over the years in developing air-to-air missiles, we never would have been able to produce the ‘Iron Dome’ in two and a half years”, he admits. Another top of the line Rafael product is the “Spike” antitank guided missile of which more than 10,000 have been sold to twenty countries across the globe. “This is the best antitank missile, in the world with capabilities unmatched by any

other comparable system”, Ya’ari proudly recounts. “What makes it unique is that it comes in so many different variations – NLOS ER, SR and MR – that can be fired from the ground or air”. Turning to future, Ya’ari says that the company is studying new areas of interest even as it works to finalize the Rafael-IMI merger. According to media reports, talks to conclude the merger have stalled in recent weeks due to differences over the retirement of IMI employees and the amount of money the government is willing to come up with, to cover IMI’s debt. “The government’s decision is still standing and everyone is striving to overcome the difficulties and solve the problems”, he says. “There still remain questions about the future of IMI employees, how we merge, what happens to overseas operations, and the type of compensation and investment the government is willing to grant”. 

Germany to Israel: A Gift - NBC Decontamination Systems


ermany is offering Israel the gift of eight TEP 90 decontamination systems, and Israel is considering receiving them free of charge. TEP 90 is a mobile, vehicle-transported system that enters and decontaminates an area after an NBC attack. The system operates in various conditions such as planes, helicopters, runways, sensitive electrical-optical equipment, AFVs, and even in the treatment of humans. TEP 90 was produced by the German Kärcher Company, which has already supplied dozens of the units to the Bundewehr (Federal Defense Force). The CEO of the company's defense section, Helmut Stelzmüller, a true friend of Israel, has initiated the transfer of the eight systems, that are no longer in use in the German army, as a gift to Israel – with the aim of helping it deal with a possible NBC attack. The German government has agreed to the initiative. The proposal was recently conveyed to

 TEP - 90

Israel and is being studied by the Israeli Air Force and Israel Institute for Biological Research at the city of Nes Ziona. The reason that a decision has not been made yet to accept the advanced system is because the material it is based on is GD2000, while Israel already has a supply of American-made decontamination material. GD-2000, however, is considered more advanced than the American material because it doesn’t corrode the planes and

other vehicles that it decontaminates. Furthermore, the new material is designed to restore runways and equipment to full operability at a great speed. The "Beit El" Company that produces NBC protection systems is also involved in the initiative to transfer the German system to Israel without payment. "Beit El" belongs to the German community in Zichron Ya'akov, in the north of Israel, and sees its goal as defending Israel from an NBC attack. Kärcher's CEO, Stelzmüller, told IsraelDefense that this is a token gesture that the German government has fully consented to. "Germany regards itself as one of Israel's greatest friends and is concerned about its security. The German system is suited, first and foremost, to the needs of the air force". The decision whether to absorb the German system - with the air force first in line - will soon be made by the Israeli defense establishment. 

JUNE 2011



special interviews

IAI Prepares for “Ground Year” No longer just aircraft: In the coming years Israel Aerospace Industries (IAI) will be increasingly focused on developing products for ground combat, cyberwarfare, HLS, and green energy. IAI president and CEO – Itzhak Nissan elaborates By Nir Dvori


Why is IAI being “grounded”? “This definitely is a strategic move and the direction of development is significant. IAI possesses advanced technologies that it developed for aerospace products. The same technologies can also be adapted to ground products. We plan to declare next year as ‘ground year’ in the company. Our goal is to boost sales in ground systems”. To get the strategic ball rolling, IAI set up a ground staff this year, led by Brigadier General (res.) Shmuel Yakhin, former head of military research and development. Yakhin built up a team of former military people who are formulating a whole shopping cart of company products in the field of ground systems. “One of the key areas in ground systems development is robotics”, Nissan explains. IAI and Elbit Systems are partners in the G-NIUS company that developed the unmanned ground vehicle ‘Guardium’, and is also investing huge sums in the development of additional robots and ‘See-Shoot’ systems that identify the target in the field and direct


JUNE 2011

Photo: IAI

srael Aerospace Industries (IAI) is about to announce a “ground year”. For a company that grew up in the field of airplanes this is not something to be taken lightly. It indicates a strategic shift: the company is searching for areas of development outside its natural playing field. The person leading the strategic revolution talks about it in an exclusive interview with IsraelDefense. Meet Itzhak Nissan, IAI president and CEO (since 2006).

 IAI president and CEO, Itzhak Nissan

fire at it automatically. The observer sees the target from a distance and only has to pull the trigger (this too can be done automatically, but the IDF prefers the final fire order to come from a human). What other directions are you moving in? “I’ve set up a review team to check from scratch different areas IAI could move in. We’re examining every idea. For example, we’ve decided to enter the field of green energy. This means we’ll be developing turbines that create electricity far out at sea. We’ll be innovating with technologies that we originally developed for completely other tasks. In this case, the turbines’ propeller movement is aerodynamic like in an aircraft, and the turbines’ control systems can operate on systems that we developed to control UAVs at distances of dozens of

kilometers. “Another area we’re entering is cyberwarfare. For obvious reasons I can’t go into too much detail, but the review teams are currently checking how we can integrate into cyber-defense and cyberattack. Naturally we’ll continue to develop our core fields – the “Arrow 3” anti-missile missile system, UAVs, surveillance and intelligence systems, executive aircraft, radar, and so forth”. One reason why IAI is looking for new areas of activity is probably because its cash box is swelling with profits. In the first quarter of 2011 company earnings were higher by 175% than the same quarter last year. The number of orders may have decreased somewhat compared to the fourth quarter of 2010, but it still stands at the enormous sum of $8.6 billion.

IAI is considered the largest defense company in Israel, with 17,000 workers. According to Nissan, during the last two years, 1600 have gone on pension, and in their place a thousand younger workers have been absorbed. Despite the growth in sales, the company has not increased the number of workers. “We underwent internal reorganization and recruited new workers from outside only when we couldn’t find qualified workers within the company”, says the CEO. IAI’s largest market is India. But the

Business News

country with whom economic relations are rapidly developing is, curiously, Russia, whose security relationship with Israel, generally speaking, is not the best, especially after the Israeli military attaché, Colonel Dr. Vadim Leiderman, was expelled last May. IAI claims that the Leiderman affair will not set back the giant project that it signed with Russia last year, to build the infrastructure for UAV production on Russian soil. In the coming years IAI’s gain from the deal is estimated at $300 million.

Relations between IAI and Russia will also come to fruition with the launching of the communications satellite “Amos 6” that is expected in late 2011. The satellite is currently in the final stages of production, and will be launched into space by its owner – the Israeli company Spacecom. The actual launching will be made by a Russian company that operates the launch facility in Uzbekistan. “IAI really is enjoying a peak year”, says Itzhak Nissan, “but we hope to break the record next year”. 

Recent Transactions

Camero has supplied Xavier TM400 radars - tactical through-wall imaging solutions - to KLPD (Netherlands’ elite counter-terrorism unit). The company is in advanced talks for additional sales. Israel’s HBA has won a tender as the exclusive representative of Safariland, the leading American supplier of law enforcement and riot dispersal equipment. As a result, HBA expects a 50% spike in sales. Elbit Systems is equipping an Asian country with advanced training systems for armored and infantry forces at $32.7 million. The project will be

carried out over the next three years. IAI sold anoter lightweight intelligence gathering aircraft to a Latin American client. The plane, a B350 Beechcraft, is produced by an Elbit subsidiary and is designed for police intelligence, surveillance and reconnaissance. Controp (security & Defense) has sold a number of lightweight Shapo (Multi-Sensor Payload Observation System) camera units to the air force of a South American country for environmental monitoring, as well as security and defense missions.

Elbit Systems signed a contract to set up a helicopter pilot training center for Macedonian military and security forces. Elbit will operate the center over an eight-year period. The contract is estimated at 43 million euro. The Israeli startup Ron Tal, which was acquired by Verint, has won a tender to establish a C2 (command & control) system for the San Francisco International Airport. The Nextiva-MR-62 system automatically identifies irregular events. Orbit will supply the US Navy with a telemetry (wireless remote control) communication system for

a fleet base. The system will be used mainly for measurement and data processing in testing fields. SDS (Suspect and Detection Systems) will supply three types of night vision sharpshooting and surveillance systems to the Indian Defense Ministry. The $44 million deal will go into effect in the third quarter of 2011 and be completed by late 2012. IAI has sold the Czech army POP (Plug-in Optronic Payload) lightweight optical systems. The system, mounted on armored vehicles, is used by forces in Afghanistan. The deal is worth several million dollars.

JUNE 2011



Photo: Meir Azuulay

Controlled integration Women will continue being integrated into combat roles, but it must be done under supervision – concludes a comprehensive IDF physiological study that examined the implications of the differences between the sexes in combat units By Efrat Cohen


he lengthy study carried out by the IDF Medical Corps in conjunction with the United States Army Medical Department, states that the physical stress demanded of women in combat roles must be limited. The study and its findings were led by the Israeli Medical Corps’ physiological section. Participating in the study were professionals on behalf of the Women’s Affairs Advisor to the Chief of Staff and personnel from the IDF’s combat fitness department. The research included an in-depth study of women’s integration into combat units, given the physiological differences between males and females. The researchers focused on the “Caracal” light infantry battalion which is comprised mostly of women. Less than half the soldiers in the unit are men, unlike other combat units that are open to women (for example certain artillery and air defense units where the number of women stands at ten or twenty percent). In general, the overall percentage of women who fill roles considered “combat” stands at only 3%. Women who volunteer for combat units serve for three years, compared to the regular twoyear service for most women. The test group, whose results appear below, was made up of dozens of women from the “Caracal” unit (whose designated task is security and observation along the Jordanian border in the south of the Is-


JUNE 2011

 Female combat soldiers in the “Caracal” Light Infantry Battalion

rael) and their male counterparts from the same unit, as well as test groups of female soldiers who serve as medics or dental assistants. Every few weeks the participants went to the IDF’s physiological institute at the Tel Hashomer Hospital for physical strength stress tests and check-ups of irregular phenomena such as stress fractures in the legs. The study began prior to enlistment and continued through basic training and the entire military service. All of the participants had to fill in detailed questionnaires on their lifestyle before enlistment, especially aspects of it that were likely to have influenced bone structure and physical strength. The research found that even when physical demands of female combat soldiers were significantly reduced, according to a special “stress scale” prepared for the “Caracal” female combat, and was considered lighter than the standard test used for men in combat training, still 12% of the women suffered from stress fractures compared to zero percent for the men. On the other hand, male combat soldiers who trained according to the reduced stress scale adapted for women attained a low-

er level of physical strength than the IDF standard in combat units. The study attributed stress fracture to two main factors: differences in lifestyle between women and men in the preenlistment period and, naturally, physical differences between the sexes, such as the higher percentage of fat in women’s bodies or the more developed muscle mass in men. The research confirmed what the literature has long claimed: bone density in men is significantly higher than in women. However, when the male or female combat soldier was examined individually, in some cases the women were stronger than the men and in better physical condition. Nevertheless, the physical demands on women in combat units have to be reduced by 30% compared to those of the men, especially in endurance training (which demands prolonged effort such as running). As for load carrying – women must not be made to carry more than 30% of their weight and men no more than 40%. Another finding: When women are in their early and middle teens they do

less physical activity than men, and their rate of dieting is much higher. They eat fewer foods rich in calcium, such as cheese, which is necessary for bone strengthening, and some of the studies showed that women who planned on volunteering for combat units suffered from stress fracture when they carried out a training regimen on their own, prior to enlistment. Based on the research results, it was decided to continue integrating women into combat units but in a controlled manner. Every new role for women that demands a significant physical effort has to be scrutinized first. The study emphasizes that special care has to be taken on the “stress scale” to lighten the demands on women during the training period. The IDF has also decided to prepare women for combat units prior to enlistment – mainly through education and information programs that explain correct eating habits and training regimens conducive to good health. During training and operational duty the amount of time that women have to stand continuously will be reduced since it was found that prolonged stranding, not only running, can induce stress fracturing – a phenomenon that does not exist among the men.

Differences between the sexes – men and wonen in combat units men


Average height

174 cms.

Average Weight

70 Kilogram

60 Kilogram



Percentage of body fat

162 cms.

Aerobic ability (endurance) Aerobic strength (intensive exercise activity) Average time for running 2 km. Max. carrying weight (relative to body weight)


60% lower for men 30% higher for men 25% higher for men

9.5 12.5 40%

25% higher for men


Source: IDF

“If the study enables women to reach combat roles duty better prepared – the result will be less stress fractures and loss of training days, which is especially important since women take a longer time to recuperate than men”, says a source in the IDF’s medical branch. “As a rule, the research findings corroborate what physiological science has long known, but they enable us to continue integrating women into combat units with minimum mistakes”. Thanks to the research findings and the policy that the Women’s Affairs Advisor to the Chief of Staff, Brigadier Gen-

eral Gila Kalifi, recommended, the army decided to focus on improving the integration of women into traditionally maledominated roles now open to them, rather than opening new roles still being performed by men only. The improvement in the integration of women into combat roles includes not only the reduction of physical demands but also the adaptation of equipment to their specific needs (protective vests and helmets, for example), and guaranteeing conditions that enable them to remain in the field for as long as the men (such as separate latrines and showers). 

Tactical Satellite Communication

Israel Aerospace Industries (IAI) develops satellite communication system for forces in the field


his June, Elta, an IAI subsidiary, unveiled for the first time a mobile satellite communication system designed for combat troops in the field. The system - MAPSAT (Man Portable Satellite Communication Terminal) - weighs in at 8.5 kilos, fits in a backpack, and can be toted by an individual soldier. The system's satellite receiver and transmitter enable spoken communication and data transfer when over-the-horizon communication capabilities are essential and other

communications systems are unable to provide direct contact. The system is usable almost immediately after it's turned on and links up effectively to communications satellites (receiving and transmitting) on Ku and preprogrammed frequencies. MAPSAT (EL/K-1895) conveys audio and data on network to a number of users simultaneously – for example, a communication network between a combat team and command post. 

JUNE 2011



Ground Forces Interested in New Mobile Cannon

 ATMOS cannon of Elbit systems


he German company KMW is offering the IDF a cannon to be produced on American soil and financed by American defense funds. Its competitor is an Israeli artillery piece manufactured by Soltam Systems Germany's KMW (Krauss-Maffei Wegmann) is offering IDF ground forces a new mobile cannon for the artillery corps. The company will be competing with a cannon produced by Israel's Soltam Systems. The new weapon is an item in the ground forces'

multi-year plan for 2012-2016, and acquisiber) shell, with a maximum target range of tion will proceed if the general staff approves forty-one kilometers. Atmos is transported the IDF's five-year plan – "Halamish" – this on the back of a wheeled truck. August. The new artillery piece is intended The IDF's chief artillery officer, Brigadier to replace the venerable M-109 ("Galloper") General David Suissa, said in an interview - maximum range twenty-seven kilometers - in a military journal that if the artillery corps that has served the IDF for decades. absorbs a new weapon operated by a The KMW cannon, known as AGM limited crew, the "superfluous" troops will (Artillery Gun Modul), fires a 155 mm (L52 be transferred to other combat layouts. The caliber) shell and can be operated by a artillery corps also operates UAV and precifive-man crew. KMW is in advanced talks sion guided munitions (PGMs) layouts.  with American companies on production of the gun in the United States, since this is the condition that will allow the IDF to pay for the purchase with American defense aid. The German cannon's rate of fire is six shells per minute at a maximum range of over forty kilometers. Competing with KMW for replenishing the IDF artillery layout is the Israeli company Soltam Systems (that Elbit Systems conglomerate acquired last year). Soltam is offering the "ATMOS" cannon (Autonomous Truck Mounted Ordinance  AGM cannon of KMW System) that also fires a 155 mm (L52 cali-

After the Merkava: The Next Generation ‘Tank’


he Merkava Tank Planning Directorate has set up a team to study the principles of the tank of the future. The defense establishment has yet to make a decision or even broach a tangible direction for the systematic development of a new tank, as production of the Merkava Mark IV tanks nears completion, but the team has been mandated to present ideas for an armored fighting vehicle that will provide massive mobile firepower on the future battlefield. The team includes IDF officers and members of the defense ministry. Basic questions are being raised: Should the future tank be lighter than the 70-ton Merkava? Can the thick layers of armor be dispensed with, because of new "active defense systems" capable of intercepting antitank missiles in flight? Will the tank


JUNE 2011

of the future be operated by a four-man crew, or perhaps less? Will it require a cannon or will an advanced recoilless firing system, launched from the turret or rear of the tank, suffice? Also being studied are engine output and the need for a heavy track system, like the Merkava's or perhaps a light track system, or even wheels. "The changes in the battlefield stagger the imagination, and the questions being broached on the tank of the future are only in the initial stage, almost philosophical in nature", admits a defense source. "We're trying to envision the direction of developments on the future battlefield, and then we'll formulate suitable ideas. At any rate, the tank of the future is still very far off, and if sweeping changes are introduced then it’s doubtful that the armored vehicle will still be called a 'tank'". 

The IDF Tests "Spidertech" Sensor


he IDF has begun testing a new sensor from the Israeli startup "Spidertech". The new sensor, called “Tarantula”, is buried in the ground and detects suspicious movements. A patented device, that took scientists six years to develop at an investment of twelve million dollars, provides the sensor with 3D capabilities. It detects suspicious noise not only within a specified perimeter but also the direction it comes from. Unlike standard geophonic sensors, the "Spidertech" sensor is based on acceleration measurement rather than velocity measurement. The sensors "know how" to intercommunicate, and 22,000 of them can be linked to a single computer. At the end of the trial period the IDF will decide whether to acquire the new sensor. 

JUNE 2011



“An Excess of Technological Risks” The “Arrow 3” anti-ballistic missile will soon undergo initial testing. Project manager, Inbal Kreiss, of Israel Aerospace Industries (IAI), divulges some of the missile’s capabilities By Nir Dvori

“Arrow 3” Photo: IAI

The initial test of ‘Arrow 3’ will be held this year”, Project Manager Inbal Kreiss tells IsraelDefense, in reference to advanced interceptor systems being developed by Israel Aerospace Industries (IAI), in a joint project with the United States. The goal of the test is mostly classified, Kreiss admits, but its main purpose is to appraise the special abilities programmed to the interceptor. “Arrow 3”, also known as “Super Arrow”, is an upper tier interceptor in Israel’s multilayer defense concept. Below it are “Arrow 2”, “David’s Sling”, and “Iron Dome”. “Arrow 3” is designed to intercept ballistic missiles carrying unconventional warheads in the exoatmosphere. The new interceptor is smaller than “Arrow 2”, and is based on cutting-edge principles and technological breakthroughs already patented by IAI. The technological idea at the core of the new interceptor is the two-stage engine: the first engine lifts the missile into the exoatmosphere, separates, and the missile remains with the second engine – the maneuvering missile. The interceptor’s uniqueness lies in its light weight and absence of dynamite. Instead, it employs a sophisticated, electro-optical homing warhead that “sees” a very wide spectrum while in flight, and allows for very high maneuverability that gives 56

JUNE 2011

the missile a high degree of freedom for defensive purposes. Thus, the time needed for interception is shortened – a vital factor in the defense concept, especially in the event of a missile barrage. “Arrow 3” is constantly “updated” in flight on the incoming target, and can be diverted from target to target even if the targets are distant from one another. Also, the homing head distinguishes between the enemy missile and deception bodies breaking away from it. The “hit-to-kill” intercept is made by a frontal collision between the interceptor and target missile. The collision in space totally disintegrates the target. Another advantage: “Arrow 3” can be launched from advanced missile boats. A recent first-of-its-kind lab test was undertaken to check how active multi-layer steering systems operate synchronously – including those of “Arrow 3”. IAI marks a decade since the operational deployment of the Arrow system (“Arrow 1”). “Arrow 3” is the natural outgrowth of the system’s ongoing improvement and is expected to become operational in five years. The project’s development team numbers several hundred engineers and technicians at IAI’s Malam (integrated systems engineering) plant. The project manager is Inbal Kreiss. Inbal joined the IDF after completing her studies in chemical engineering at the Technion. She served in the Research and Development Authority (MAFAT) and from there went to IAI. In 2000 she worked as an engineer on the “Arrow 2” system” and beginning in 2007 has been head of the “Arrow 3” project. “We’re operating on the level of risk management, doing things that have never been done in other systems, really pushing the technology to the edge”, says kreiss. Inbal Kreiss is silent on the cost of the “Arrow 3” project due to the sensitivity of IAI’s relations with the United States, its

 Inbal Kreiss, “Arrow 3” Project Manager Photo: IAI

project partner. “I’ll only say that up till now the development team has accomplished all of its tasks – both the Americans and the Israelis”. IsraelDefense has leaned from American sources that the system’s price-tag comes to $700-800 million, a figure published three years ago. Israel has asked the United States to include in its annual budget to the Arrow project - $140 million – the development of “Arrow 3” and arming Israel with the system. The United States, IsraelDefense was informed, assumes approximately 80% of the development and production costs for the anti-ballistic missile, while Israel outlays the rest. When the system becomes operational, its cost will be $2-3 million dollars per unit. Development of the “Arrow 3” project is being carried out with the American Boeing Company, which produces some of the components. Final production and integration is at the Malam plant in Israel. The United States is not planning to arm its forces with “Arrow 3” missiles since the Defense Department prefers the American-made interceptor systems – Aegis and THAAD (Terminal High Altitude Area Defense). Experts (Israeli, of course) avow that the Israeli systems’ performance is equal to and even surpasses their American counterparts. After the initial test, which will last a year, a second series of tests will examine various aspects of the system’s operations. The main test will be an actual launch of the “Arrow 3” interceptor against a target missile. All of the tests will be conducted in Israel. 

The “Air Mule” Takes off Urban Aeronautics Demonstrates the “Air Mule” to IDF High Command By Danni Shalom


he Urban Aeronautics Company is rounding out preparations for the coming demonstration of its UAV “Air Mule” before the IDF high command. “Air Mule” is designed to transport supplies to fighting forces and medevac troops from fire-saturated battlefields. This outstanding aerial vehicle is unmanned but capable of transporting humans. Development began in 2007, and it its maiden flight was held in 2009. Since then “Air Mule” has performed several hovering flights, accumulating approximately forty flying hours. The next tests will have it flying at 60 to 100 knots without a ground-based connecting cable (as required until now by the Israeli Civil Aviation Authority). The Defense Ministry is financing half the outlay of “Air Mule”’s operational technologies. Next year Urban Aeronautics will look for a strategic partner, local or foreign, in order to complete the project and commence industrial production. The systems are being developed in close cooperation with the air force’s chief medical officer and ground forces command. If the IDF confirms its procurement, “Air Mule” is expected to be operational in 2015. Although Urban Aeronautics’ initial ideas for a UAV were civilian in nature (flights over congested urban transportation systems),

 “Air Mule” after publication of plans to equip the US marines with UAVs capable of transporting humans, the company’s directors decided to concentrate their efforts on the military arena. Dr. Rafi Yoeli, company CEO and the guiding light behind the initiative, believes that this type of UAV will be able to fly to designated locations; navigate by means of a pre-fed computerized flight program and GPS systems; and land independently. Supplies will be unloaded at the landing site for troops waiting for the UAV. Wounded can be harnessed to special compartments on the sides of the vehicle and then “launched” to an evacuation point. The “Air mule” is compact: six meters long and two meters wide. Its Turbomeca Ariel jet engine drives two internally enclosed propellers that vertically lift the vehicle and cargo. Employing more than 200 flaps, the UAV’s flight path can be precisely controlled. Urban

Photo: Urban Aeronautics

Aeronautics is developing a number of UAVs that operate on the principle of internally installed propellers. In addition to “Air Mule”, other models include Centaur, designed to carry three to five passengers without a pilot, and X-Hawk, a two-engine model intended to transport five to eight passengers. “We’re now able to land and take off from any point”, says Dr. Yoeli. “For the first time this lets us evacuate wounded from almost anywhere. Our UAV, carries a gross weight of close to 400 kilos”. Besides civilian and military uses, Dr. Yoeli notes the wide range of other missions where UAVs will prove invaluable: flying above dangerous zones such as nuclear reactors and areas contaminated by chemical plant leaks. Urban Aeronautics is in contact with the United States Army and the militaries of other nations, including India and Italy, for possible sale of the “Air Mule”. 

New Airborne Weapon By Moriya Ben Yosef Israel Aerospace Industries (IAI) unveils the MLGB (Medium Range Laser Guided Bomb) in the Paris Air Show. The MLGB is capable of dual mode guidance: homing in on a target via a laser beam or feeding coordinates into its GPS mechanism. The bomb is designed to attack both stationary and mobile objects. Mission parameters are transmitted to the weapon prior to its release from the aircraft. Once in flight, it corrects its path

until final approach to target. The MLGB can be dropped from fighter planes or light attack aircraft. Weighing 115 kilos and 170 cm long, it's especially suited for tasks demanding minimal collateral damage, thanks to its high degree of accuracy and relatively small warhead. In addition, MLGB has a multipurpose fuze that can be used above the target, on the target, or for penetrating the target. 

Photo: IAI

 MLGB JUNE 2011




he Israeli defense establishment is increasingly disturbed over Russia's decision to supply the Syrian army with the "Yakhont" – a supersonic, shore-to-ship cruise missile (known in the West as P-800 Oniks). To counter this threat, Israeli missile boats will soon be equipped with "Barak 8" anti-missile missiles - the advanced version of "Barak 1". Israel's defense industries are developing a similar version for the Indian navy, even as other Indian defense industries work with Russia on a local version of the "Yakhont". Published accounts of Russia's intention to sell the "Yakhont" to Syria, first appeared in 2009. The following year Russia officially announced its decision to go through with the deal, in spite of Israel's political efforts to block it. Israeli security officials have recently informed IsraelDefense that the missile deal appears cut-and-dried. According to Israeli estimates, despite Russia's interest in maintaining good relations with the West, and its 2010 decision to procure UAVs and technology transfer from Israel Aircraft Industries (IAI) (estimated at over $400 million), the sale of advanced weapons to Syria, defined as "defensive armaments", is important to Russia for economic reasons and retaining its regional status. "Yakhont" poses a veritable nightmare for the Israeli navy given its offensive capability which is a giant leap ahead of present-day shore-to-ship missiles in the region. The new missile can hit a vessel 300 kilometers from the


JUNE 2011

shore with a powerful warhead packed with a 200 kilogram load of explosives. This means that Israeli ships will be under almost permanent threat from the "Yakhont" (which will probably be delivered, with Israel's knowledge, to Hezbollah). The "Yakhont's" specs make it extremely difficult to intercept since it's a "sea skimming" missile: fifteen kilometers from the target it drops to an altitude of ten meters above the water, making it practically impossible for radar to detect. The missile cruises at a truly incredible velocity - more than twice the speed of sound (Mach two), and its radar homing device is built in such a way that electro-optic defense systems are all but at a loss "to lock" onto it once it's in flight. The Indian version of the missile, called "BrahMos", is already in an advanced stage of development. Israel's "Barak 8" defense system for protection against shore-to-ship missiles began in 2000 as a joint project of the navy, IAI, Rafael, and the Defense Ministry’s Research and Development Authority (MAFAT). The system is planned to replace "Barak 1" missiles that have been operational for some time. The new system, "Barak 8", is designed to protect not only missile boats but also warship groups engaged in joint operations in a given area. The goal is to cover the entire group with circumferential protection by sending data from the vessels' radar systems to a command and control (C2) system, and coordinating the data between the

Photo: IAI

Photo: AP “Yakhont”

Israel's defense establishment is concerned about Russia's decision to supply Syria with "Yakhont" anti-ship missiles that can hit a target at ranges of hundreds of kilometers while traveling at a speed greater than Mach 2. Israel has not been idle: the "Barak 8" missile is being developed in a huge arms deal with India By Danny Shalom

“Barak 8”

"Barak 8" versus "Yakhont"

vessels in order to create a composite picture of the battle and impending threats. The moment a threat is detected, the system issues a fire order to each of the systems mounted on the ships' decks according to their expediency for neutralizing the threat. "Barak 8" consists of an advanced C2 system developed by the IAI's Mabat (space systems and technologies) that integrates task management to of a single fire-control system or simultaneous fire control by a number of units. Based on STAR-MF-LB-type radar (EL/M- 2084) developed by Elta Systems Ltd, "Barak 8" displays a semicircular numerical image at a 360 degree angle above the ship or layout of ships. It excels in high resolution and is capable of detecting missiles with very low radar signature. The installment of the defense system on Israeli navy "Sa’ar 5" missile boats is designated to begin next year alongside the older "Barak 1" systems. "Barak 8" is a single-stage missile with fixed stabilizers in its lower section and flight control surfaces in its nose. It's mounted in vertically fixed, cylindrical launch canisters below the ship's

deck. During target engagement, the missile is vertically launched and immediately enters in flight horizontal position in order to hit and destroy the target, all the while receiving navigational updates from the vessel's guidance system. When the target enters the range of the independent detection systems, the missile zeroes in and destroys the target. "Barak 8" has a sophisticated seeker designed to intercept low-flying aircraft and sea-skimming missiles in any type of weather. Developed for the Israeli navy, has been adapted for India's naval needs. The project's development and production, and integration into the Indian navy, in the deal signed in 2009, is considered one of the largest projects in the history of Israel's defense industries. The scope of the transaction is in the billions of dollars. The Indian version of the missile is also designed to be shore launched, thus protecting the subcontinent from

Barak 8 anti-aircraft and anti-missile missile rocket accelerator and cruise engine

Yakhont Type Propulsion

anti-ship and shore facilities cruise missile rocket accelerator and ramjet for cruising dimensions

340 cm. (ground model - 450 cm.)


890 cm.

85 cm. (ground model - 94 cm.)


170 cm.

27 cm. (ground model - 54 cm. accelerator)

Body diameter

70 cm.

1350 kilograms (marine model)

Net weight

3000 kilograms

52 kilograms (marine model)


300 kilograms

70 kilometers (marine model)


Mach 2 (marine model)

120-300 kilometers

Maximum speed Mach 2.5

sea and air threats. Management of the project required the establishment of the new "Air Defense Plant", a subsidiary of IAI, in late 2009.Testing "Barak 8's" systems began

in 2007. It is currently being tested on "Sa'ar 5"-class corvettes and will become operational in 2011. Next year the system will be installed on Indian ships and in static shore bases. 

Underwater Intruder Interception Rafael soon to complete development on the Torbuster – the first active defense system for submarines By Efrat Cohen


afael is soon to complete development on the Torbuster – an underwater interception missile system designed to actively defend submarines against vessel- and helicopter-launched torpedoes. Torpedoes are a deadly threat to submarines. For twenty-five years Rafael has been manufacturing the Scutter - a "reactive expendable acoustic torpedo decoy". The system launches a signal-transmitting decoy that imitates the signals a submarine emits, thereby attracting the incoming torpedo, whose homing device is based on acoustic identification. Unlike the Scutter that operates according to the "soft kill" principle (altering the sensory system of the approaching threat and diverting its course), the Torbuster is considered the fourth generation of active interceptors, capable of the

"hard kill". It attacks the incoming torpedo: hitting and destroying it in the water. The new defense system is designed to intercept slower-moving torpedoes than in the past, including threats with electronic counter-countermeasures, (ECCMs) capable of outfoxing third generation acoustic diversion decoys. Like its predecessors, Torbuster includes acoustic deception, but goes one step further. Not satisfied with "merely attracting" the incoming torpedo, it lures the threatening missile onto its trail

then triggers its own attack mechanism. The moment the defense system identifies a torpedo in its vicinity, it activates its warhead that explodes in the water and completely neutralizes the threat. The Torbuster system is expected to be operational sometime in 2011. Rafael has already offered the system to a number of navies, including the Australian Navy. Marketing will begin once the last wrinkles in its operational system are ironed out – which is expected in the very near future. 

 Torbuster

Photo: Rafael

JUNE 2011


Four Questions

Five Years since the Abduction of the Israeli Soldier - Gilad Shalit

“Gilad can be brought back”



Major General (res.) Eyal Ben Reuven, chairman of the Born to Freedom Foundation that seeks information on prisoners and MIAs, Gilad Shalit is five years in captivity, is there still a chance of bringing him back alive?

“Of course there’s a chance, especially since all the sides gain to profit from his return: Israel is waiting for him; Hamas can obtain the release of Palestinian prisoners and score points for having forced Israel’s hand on the deal; and Egypt can boost its status for its role as a regional mediator. The only thing that isn’t clear is the debate over the price that has to be paid for Gilad’s freedom, and as I see it we’ve crossed a red line in the debate. An Israeli soldier has been in a cell or hole in the ground for five years and I look in amazement at our national leaders who refuse to abide by the ethical code: “Don’t abandon a soldier on the battlefield”.


Do you believe we should pay whatever Hamas is demanding in order to bring him back?

Major General (res.) Eyal Ben Reuven is chairman of the “Born to Freedom Foundation”. He is currently the president of B.E.N. (Business Exchange Network) and served as deputy commander of the Northern Command in the Second Lebanon War


JUNE 2011

“I think we have two options to free Gilad: one is a military operation and the other is to pay the heavy price, and take the necessary steps to restore our deterrent strength. Since military action is impossible, even though it’s the preferred method, there’s nothing we can do but go for the second option and this means paying the price for Gilad’s return and fighting afterwards. “In my opinion Israel has demonstrated it capability of carrying out targeted assassinations of terrorists and their abettors (for example, eliminating the perpetrators of the Munich massacre of Israeli athletes at the 1972 Olympic Games), and this can be

done in the case of Gilad Shalit - after he is safely returned. Israel is in a continuous struggle against terror, a conflict that has its up and downs - sometimes we’re on the top, sometimes on the bottom. In the case of Gilad Shalit we’re currently the underdog. We have to climb out of the slump because it is only getting deeper. Having a soldier captive puts a political constraint on us and also limits our ability to take military steps in the Gaza Strip. This equation must be reversed”.


Are you implying that whoever was involved in Shalit’s abduction will be eliminated after we pay the price for his return?

“Well, this is an option. What I’m saying is that we have the power and we mustn’t forget it”.


What is your view of the Shin Bet’s (Israel’s Security Agency) position that the release of Palestinian prisoners could boomerang on us since they are liable to revert to terrorism and murder scores of Israelis?

“I’m familiar with all the numbers and stats, but I reject this line of reasoning. In order to carry out terror today the perpetrators don’t need reinforcements from their colleagues, currently under lock and key in Israel. The other side can decided to use terror, but this is a question what serves its best interest. Claiming that the release of Gilad Shalit spells the death of Israelis is unsound reasoning being foisted on the Israeli public. I meet with a considerable number of security people in my work and they have answers to the terrorists who would be let out of prison in a tradeoff for Gilad Shalit. The prime minister equivocates over many issues; unfortunately this is one of them”.



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The Leading and Central Security Exhibition in Israel 28-30 June 2011 | The Israeli Convention Center, Tel-Aviv

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Five Years after the Second Lebanon War

“In the Next War the Israeli Home Front Will Come under an Unprecedented Attack” The Home Front Command launched an unparalleled campaign in May to prepare the home front for the next war. A senior IDF officer informs IsraelDefense that the command is getting ready to absorb 1000-2000 tons of explosives in the heaviest populated areas, in the center of the country

 Local residents try to extinguish a fire at the site of a missile attack, Haifa, 2006


n the event of another war, missile barrages will hit Israel's home front causing far greater destruction than in the Second Lebanon War, five years ago, and much more damage than in Operation “Cast Lead” in the Gaza Strip, two and half years ago. "In past wars, when 122 mm rockets fell, the damage was relatively light", a senior officer in the Home Front Command recently told IsraelDefense. "We didn’t have to tear down damaged houses and rebuild them. But this won't be the picture in a future war". To be more precise, the officer explains that ninety tons of explosives from thou-


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sands of rockets fell on Israel during the thirty-three days of the Second Lebanon War, in the summer of 2006. (the explosives in a "Katyusha" warhead) – Hezbollah's main weapon at the time - weighed only seven kilograms). In Operation “Cast Lead”, the explosive material from Hamas rockets came to 3.7 tons, equivalent to about the amount of explosives in a few air force bombs. "Today's threat however is much more serious...Not only because of the quantity of missiles and size of the warheads, but also because of their range and accuracy. In the coming war we'll see a greater number of GPS-guided munitions launched at the

Photo: AP

home front. Hezbollah and Syria now have an accuracy capability of 500 meters from the target, and have stockpiled enormous numbers of missiles tipped with warheads weighing hundreds of kilos, such as the Syrian-made M-600s, Fateh-110s (Iran's version of the Syrian missile), and Scud Ds with a 700 kilometer range and warheads weighing no less than 485 kilograms. "Taking into account how much pounding Israel can sustain in a war with Syria and Hezbollah on the northern front, wouId venture that 1000-2000 tons is a worst-case estimate", adds the officer. "Now let's put the things in a proper perspective. In the Second World War, a single German city,

protected space) or underground shelter in multi-family residential complexes, 25% of the population is still without a protective infrastructure". What about the budget for protective kits containing gas masks against ABC? "Here too the budget's a problem. The supply of these kits is sufficient for only 60% of the population. According to the distribution plan, 27% of the population is already furnished with them. Within a year the distribution will be complete, but even then 40% of the population will be left without a protective kit. "Two Israeli factories produce the kits, and even if they work round the clock it will still take two years to close the gap. This is a very real problem. The time might come when we'll have to issue instructions to the population in the case of a missile attack instructions to those who have the kits and to those who don’t". 


Lebanon Haifa





250 Km range from Lebanon. Covering almost 7,000,000 Israeli citizens

70 Km range from Gaza. Covering almost 3,000,000 Israeli citizens



40 Km range from Gaza. Covering almost 1,000,000 Israeli citizens

Egypt 302 mm



220 mm

Range 20

Fajr 5


Fajr 3

The defense establishment assumes that in any future war the home front, which includes military bases, national infrastructural facilities, and the bulk of the population in the center of the country, will be subject to an attack of unprecedented proportions. This is why the Home Front Command launched an information campaign in May to prepare the public – especially psychologically – for what it can expect. But beyond a general alert of a missile attack, other steps are being taken too. One of these is the improvement of the warning system. "Since the Second Lebanon War dramatic progress has been made in this field. First of all we've doubled the number of sirens from 1500 to 3000, but this is only part of the picture. The sirens' level of reliability has risen from 76% to 96%, and this year it will reach 98% efficiency. The system is activated and operational 365 days a year, twentyfour hours a day, not like in the past when it was manned only in times of emergency. "In addition to the sirens we're working on a wide range of other warning systems in the event of a missile attack on the home front. In June the 'Personal Message' system will become operational. The system picks up all the detection 'signals' (from the

122 mm


radar), processes them, estimates the expected impact area, and sends a personal message to all the cellphones, television converters, beepers, and Internet users in the area. In the first stage, the system will send a warning to the public's cellphones. In other words, it will be capable of identifying mobile phones in the area – and only in that area where the missiles are due to fall - and reaching the cellphones directly and in real time. The warning will be impossible to ignore even if loud music is playing in a car or somebody is inside a closed, air-conditioned office. The cellphone will vibrate, flash, and emit a special sound that warns of an imminent missile attack. All the user has to do is download the applications from the cellphone companies to the smart phone". There aren’t enough bomb shelters for the entire population. "True", admits the officer. "While 5% of the public has a security room (residential


Dresden, was saturated with 8000 tons of explosives. "In the first nine weeks of the Blitz, the Germans dropped an average of 206 tons of explosives on London every night, not counting the enormous number of firebombs. Yet despite all this destruction, Britain stood firm. The bottom line is that while the threat to Israel has substantially increased, explosives weighing in the vicinity of 1000-2000 tons will not destroy the country. "We're a strong nation and will know how to face these challenges. Missiles have been used before in history. We believe that our constantly improving active and passive defense measures will enable us to overcome an attack on the home front and even more importantly – we'll know how to recover quickly".




100 KM


Source: Air Force

JUNE 2011



Israeli Intelligence Boosts Operations on Social Networking Websites Israeli intelligence bodies boost information collection and deception tactics on networks like “Facebook” and “Twitter” By Moriya Ben Yosef

Facebook” is more up-to-date than any intelligence report", Brigadier General Noam Tibon, commander of the IDF's Command and Staff College, admitted recently. Tibon did not mention it, but Israeli intelligence bodies are boosting collection activity on social networking websites: A lot of manpower has been allocated to tracking websites such as "Facebook" and "Twitter". Social networking websites are now the focus of Israeli intelligence services especially since the wave of popular protest in the Arab world in recent months which, in large part, developed from Internet communications. This was particularly true following the events on "Nakba ("Catastrophe") Day" on May 15 – the date celebrating the establishment of Israel in 1948, and that the Palestinians mark as the start of their national disaster. The IDF was well aware that the social websites were organizing protest activity for that day, but was caught by surprise by the people's march that stormed the northern fence on the Syrian border and spilled into Israeli territory near the Druze village of Majdal Shams on the Golan Heights. "In view of the heavy criticism over what

was perceived as the Israeli security forces' muddled response to the "Nakba Day" events, and the tons of information that had been flowing on the Net beforehand, official intelligence layouts are now in an accelerated process of quick-learn and engagement with these sources of information", says Gadi Aviran, a former major in the intelligence corps and the founder of Terrogence – a company that deals with

open intelligence on the Internet and supplies services to all the intelligence groups in Israel and many government bodies. According to Aviran, "Solid information on armies is hard to come by on the social networks, but information on terrorist groups or elements that create government instability is very common. Real time information from the Web on the upheaval in Egypt was important for Israeli intelligence no less



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comme n tar y

Major General (ret.) Danny Yatom than information on the procurement of new aircraft". Also, the retiring head of the Shin Bet (Israel Security), Yuval Diskin, who left his post, coincidentally, exactly on "Nakba Day", made note of the social networks' place in the world of intelligence. "You see hundreds of thousands of people clicking 'like' on Facebook to a march being organized, but we don’t have an algorithm to show how many will actually join the march", he says. According to Dr. Jacques Neriah of the Jerusalem Center for Public Affairs, a former senior member in the IDF Intelligence Corps and advisor to the late Prime Minister Yitzhak Rabin, "Today many people realize that social networking offers tantalizing clues to the intelligence puzzle, even if no events take place in reality in the dimensions that the Web suggests. The social protests in the Arab world were given a powerful push on the Internet and made many headlines, but their actual impact has been somewhat exaggerated because most young people in the Arab countries don’t have a computer and online access is via second and third parties such as Internet cafes. In Africa and the Arab world, if one person has access to information from a website – then it spreads quickly to others by various means. Interestingly, the Palestinians in Judea and Samaria are very much connected to the Internet, relatively speaking". The IDF intelligence branch has a special unit for info warfare that "plants" information on the Internet and all the media channels. Can social networks be a theater of cyberwarfare? "You can create a new group and determine that an event will be held at a different point, and in this way precipitate a debate over the nature of event and it will be. At this stage the intelligence unit joins the discussion", says Lieutenant Colonel (res.) Dr. Mordechai Kedar, a member of the BeginSadat Center for Strategic Research who served in the Israeli Intelligence Corps for twenty-five years and specializes in the Arab political discourse and mass media in the Arab world. "If you want to be smart, set up a number of sites for popular protest in order to create confusion and disconcertment that will diffuse the effort". 

Heading towards Another War? The ideology of political Islam advocates the domination of religion over state, the establishment of an Islamic Caliphate, and the replacement of secular law with an Islamic code. The extremist elements that represent this perspective are engaged in an armed struggle against the West – its culture, institutions, and way of life. Therefore, I cannot envisage a situation in which religious Islamic regimes will recognize the State of Israel and accept our right to exist as a Jewish and democratic state. The recent events in the Arab world are creating deep changes in the Middle East and posing new challenges for Israel. The democratization of the Arab world will be a long and drawn out process. Whoever thinks that democratic elections are the be all and end all is making a very serious mistake. Arab society has never experienced a democratic regime, and the term “democracy” and its derivatives are neither understood nor naturally accepted by the Arab world. In order for Arab society to achieve democracy it will first have to internalize democratic values. Democratic society demands the kind of education that leads to and sustains a change in the way of thinking and bold new perspective of social-political life. Much time will pass until the regimes in the countries surrounding us become democratic, and until then we are likely to witness increasing instability, intensified hatred of Israel, and the growth of Islamic forces. In the short and intermediate terms the Middle East will be a very inhospitable place, rife with tension and fraught with danger. I believe that the Egyptian-Israeli peace treaty will remain intact, mainly due to Egypt's dependence on American financial aid and military hardware, but it will be a much frostier peace than in the Hosni Mubarak period. Another challenge stems from the freeze in the political process between Israel and the Palestinians. This September the UN General Assembly will vote on the establishment of an independent Palestinian state within the 1967 borders. Israel will choose to ignore the vote, but the world will not, and we are likely to come under international pressure to withdraw IDF forces from Judea and Samaria. When this happens a Third Intifada could break out, this time with the addition of heavy shooting and missile attacks from Hezbollah and Hamas, which is liable to escalate to all-out war. But the greatest threat remains Iran: a state where political Islam has succeeded in gaining absolute control. Iran must not be allowed to get the bomb. It is an existential threat to Israel. I do not see international sanctions halting Iran's nuclear program, therefore Israel's military option must remain on the table. The world, too, must take military action. If we're left on our own, we will act in self-defense. The IDF is a strong army, and our intelligence services are excellent, but even so, there are still things we don’t know. The IDF has to be prepared for every scenario, including war. It would be the ultimate frustration if another round of violence erupted, God forbid, and at the end of the fighting we faced the same basic problems of the Arab-Israeli conflict and the same geography and topography. There is no need for another terrible war in order to return to the negotiating table. We must renew the negotiations and prevent the next war! Major General (Ret.) Danny Yatom is chairman and CEO of GSG Ltd. He was a Member of Knesset (Parliament), head of the Mossad, and chief of staff to the prime minister

JUNE 2011



n February 12, 2011 the Greek National Intelligence Service arrested two Lebanese of Palestinian background on suspicion of planning to perpetrate a terrorist attack. This type of arrest is not a routine matter in Greece. The suspects were identified as members of the “Fatah al-Islam” organization who came from the Nahr al-Bared Palestinian refugee camp in northern Lebanon. The Italian newspaper Corriere della Sera noted that the two had entered Greece clandestinely. Their assignment was to infiltrate terrorists from another organization by using fake passports. Whether or not there was any connection with this incident, less than two months later Israel’s Counter-Terrorism Bureau in the Prime Minister’s Office published a chilling warning to Israelis traveling abroad to be especially vigilant in “Mediterranean Basin States” such as Greece, Cyprus, Turkey, and Malta. In a rare move, the security bodies went out of their way to leak tidbits of information to the media on the terrorists who were planning an attack on an Israeli target overseas. According to the reports, Hezbollah’s overseas operations mechanism, headed by Talal Hamia, takes order from Hezbollah’s secretary general, Hassan Nasrallah, and Iranian General Qassem Suleimani, commander of the Revolutionary Guards’ “al-Quds Force” (“Jerusalem Force”). Hamia’s right-hand man and bodyguard is Ahmed Faid. As Israeli sources further revealed, Hezbollah’s overseas strike mechanism is backed by a highly developed technical department, whose explosives engineer is Ali Najam al-Din. His associate is a detonations expert who assembles the devices – Malek Obeid. Other activists are Mehmet Taharurlu a Turkish citizen whose job is to recruit collaborators for the terrorist infrastructure that Hezbollah has set up in Turkey, and a Lebanese cellular agent, Naim Haris, who holds Brazilian citizenship and recruits Hezbollah agents from around the word. Another key figure is Majid al-Zakur, known as “the forger”. He’s responsible for preparing the operatives’ bogus passports.


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A Multi Tentacled Behind the dire travel warning issued by the Counterterrorism Bureau to Israelis, lies deep concern over an attack that Hezbollah is planning to avenge the death of Imad Mughniyah in 2008. The use of forged passports, straw companies, and human infrastructure that spans continents are all part of the story – as Ronen Solomon outlines the ambitious terrain of Hezbollah’s overseas operations mechanism that seeks to carry out revenge strikes with Iranian assistance By Ronen Solomon

JUNE 2011


Naturally, the names released are only a fraction of the picture that Israeli security services have assembled on Hezbollah’s overseas strike setup. But their publication was meant to signal to Hezbollah that Israeli intelligence is well up on its overseas plans, and that the organization would be wise to examine itself and postpone the operation. IsraelDefense is filling in some of the missing pieces in the puzzle and illustrating how Hezbollah’s oversea strike mechanism is like an octopus whose tentacles spread out across the globe.

Hezbollah’s overseas strike force is not new. In the 1990s it carried out two devastatingly effective attacks against targets related to Israel: on March 17, 1992, in the wake of the IDF’s assassination of Hezbollah chairman, Abbas Musawi, a car bomb exploded outside the Israeli Embassy in Buenos Aires, killing twenty-nine people and wounding over two hundred; on July 18, 1994, a bomb went off at the Jewish Community Center in Buenos Aires (in revenge for the leveling of a Hezbollah training camp in Lebanon by Israeli warplanes) and eighty-five people were killed. The suicide bomber who detonated the car bomb was identified as a twenty-one year old Lebanese citizen named Ibrahim Hussein Berro, a known Hezbollah activist. In April 1996, a Hezbollah operator

was captured in the Lawrence Hotel in East Jerusalem when the bomb he was assembling exploded. He had entered Israel on a forged British passport under the name Andrew Newman; later, Western sources identified him as Hussein Mikdad. In October 2000, Hezbollah’s overseas operations mechanism scored one of its greatest coups: the kidnapping of the Israeli reserve officer, Colonel Elhanan Tennenbaum, after he was lured to Abu Dhabi and then transferred to Lebanon. One of the overseas mechanism’s greatest windfalls occurred, surprisingly, in the United States when a thirty-seven year old Lebanese female - Nada Nadim Prouty - received American citizenship via a bogus marriage and obtained work in sensitive government positions, first in the FBI and later the CIA. In 2005 she was placed under surveillance and in 2007 was caught downloading, without authorization, highly classified material on Hezbollah from the FBI databank. At the start of the new millennium the overseas strike force remained in “sleeper” mode. Hezbollah preferred direct clashes with Israel along the border (as in the cases of the abduction of three Israeli soldiers in October 2000 and the kidnapping of two reservists that sparked the Second Lebanon War in July 2006). The organization’s Unit 1800 was also active. Its role is to launch attacks from countries bordering Israel or from inside Israel through Palestinian terror organizations. For many years the grand designer of all Hezbollah opera-

tions was the head of the organization’s military branch – Imad Mughniyah. The overseas unit’s “hibernation” ended abruptly on the night of February 12, 2008. Imad Mughniyah was in Damascus celebrating Iran’s Independence Day at the Iranian Embassy. According to the Sunday Times of London, which quoted “Israeli intelligence sources”, a booby trap inserted in the headrest of Mughniyah’s car exploded when the victim sat behind the steering wheel. Mughniyah was killed on the spot. Although Israel has never officially admitted its part in the assassination, Hezbollah has been planning its revenge ever since, and the overseas strike mechanism returned to life. The first attempt to avenge Mughniyah’s death occurred in Baku, the capital of Azerbaijan, in 2008. According to published accounts, Hezbollah operatives, with the help of Iranian intelligence officers, planned to penetrate three booby-trapped cars into the Israeli Embassy compound and other Western targets to make it appear that the strike was the work of Global Jihad and not the Lebanese organization. Four collaborators were recruited from the local Jihad organization and were supposed to carry out the plan. Two Hezbollah operatives were arrested in possession of Iranian passports, explosives, binoculars, cameras, pistols with the silencers, and photos of the Israeli Embassy area. After their arrest, Iran exerted formidable pressure on Azerbaijan for their release, which

 Imad Mughniyah

 Qassem Suleimani

 Hassan Nasrallah

The targeted assassination of Imad Mughniyah


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photo: AP

Hezbollah activists in Istanbul photo:

ultimately gained them expulsion in exchange for an Iranian guarantee agreement not to operate on Azerbaijani soil again.

The Iranian infrastructure Iran’s involvement in Azerbaijan is not accidental. Hezbollah’s overseas mechanism enjoys the envelope that Iran provides it through its worldwide offices and Revolutionary Guards spec ops units. Actually, Hezbollah’s overseas setup is an inseparable part of Iran’s “al-Quds Force” that came into being in the late 1980s,and operates parallel with the Iranian army and intelligence services, in exporting revolutionary principles and carrying out missions around the world. In effect, the “al-Quds Force” is the long army of Iran. The head of the force is General Qassem Suleimani, seconded by Muhammad Jafri Shaharduni who serves as deputy chairman of the Supreme National Security Council which coordinates the force’s operations with the military and intelligence branches. General Suleimani has three assistants. One is the “al-Quds Force” commander in Lebanon, General Muhammad Reza Zahedi, commonly known as “Hassan Mahadi”, from the time he served as liaison officer in Damascus in 1998-2002. Zahedi was transferred to Lebanon after the Second Lebanon War at the conclusion of his assignment as a field officer in the Revolutionary Guards. His job in Lebanon was to restore the operational ca-

pabilities of Hezbollah’s military and intelligence arms. He most likely acts under a diplomatic screen alongside Hussam Khouchnoyess, President Ahmedinejad’s special advisor to Lebanon, whose office is located next to the Iranian Embassy in Beirut. General Suleimani’s other assistants function as local commanders in Iraq and Afghanistan. “Al-Quds” operates mainly in the following areas: Europe, Iraq, Afghanistan, India and Pakistan, Lebanon,

Ironically, similarities can be found found between the Hezbollah’s overseas strike unit’s style of operations and that of “Caesarea” - the Mossad’s operational unit Palestine, North Africa, America, Turkey, and Saudi Arabia. The force’s human infrastructure is based on a worldwide network of collaborators, especially Iranian and Palestinian emigrants and Iraqi refugees who received political asylum in Europe. Operations take place under the guise of community institutions, humanitarian organizations, and cultural offices. A 2008 study published by the United States Congress estimates that the “al-Quds” staff oversees 4000 organizations and straw companies that serve as covers for the force’s activity. Much of “al-Quds Force” recruitment

and training, which includes members of Hezbollah’s overseas strike unit, takes place in Revolutionary Guards’ camps in Tehran and Syria, but in recent years, due to Hezbollah’s growing presence in Africa and Latin America, training camps have been set up in countries such as Sudan (Hezbollah headquarters are located in Khartoum, the capital) and Venezuela (as part of the cooperative relationship between Iran, Hezbollah, and President Hugo Chavez’s armed militias). Hezbollah maintains a permanent presence in Tehran, where its members take part in “al-Quds” overseas operations assignments that are not directly linked to Hezbollah but that require operatives who can easily penetrate Arab communities.

Skyjacking As in any relatively small compartmentalized organization, recruitment to the overseas operations unit of Hezbollah is based on the “friend brings a friend or relative” system; therefore, over the years, many of the operatives have been identified bearing the same family name. This phenomenon caused a major problem in vying with Hezbollah is acquiring human intelligence (HUMINT). Many of the recruited operatives are from a few extended families (the Hamadis, Musawis, Shahadas, Harevs, and Harises). On the other hand, drawing up a blacklist and then tracking the activists by various means is relatively easy. Hezbollah has sought to counter this by providing the operatives with sham Lebanese passports under false identities. Hezbollah’s strike mechanism crystallized in the early 1980s, starting from humanitarian aid organizations for Lebanon’s Shiite population. It began as a small group founded by Imad Mughniyah when he worked as a subcontractor for various clients, such as Iran, that needed “terrorist services”. Many activists in the group hail from the Mughniyah family. In 1983 the group carried out a series of murderous attacks against American embassies in Beirut and Kuwait, and American and French marines who were part of the multinational force

JUNE 2011


stationed in Beirut. The strikes took the lives of over 300 Americans, including CIA agents who were in the embassy at the time. The truck bomb used in the embassy attack was prepared in the Beqaa Valley - an area under Syrian control - and was secretly driven to the Lebanese capital. In December 1983 some of the group’s members were apprehended after attacking the American Embassy in Kuwait. Seven of them, including Mughniya’s cousin, Mustafa a-Din, were sentenced to death. Their arrest led Imad Mughniyah to carry out a series of revenge strikes, among them a succession of skyjackings.

Target: Israel The skyjackings of the 1980s and 1990s are no longer the signature of Hezbollah’s overseas strike unit. Instead, it has concentrated its efforts in carrying out major terror attacks. Ironically, as we can learn from different reports, similarities can be found between the unit’s style of operations and that of “Caesarea” - the Mossad’s operational unit. According to Western sources, Hezbollah saboteurs generally use standard TNT and C4 explosives. In addition to the information that Israeli security bodies have recently publicized on Talal Hamia and other senior members of the strike mechanism and its sabotage arm, the group is backed by a number of support units. One of these, the “criminal mechanism”, runs a network of messengers and money smugglers who collect funds from contributions in countries where Hezbollah is blacklisted. Other units engage in drug trafficking and stolen goods through cooperation with local criminal organizations in Europe, America, and Asia in order to obtain funds for the worldwide terrorist infrastructure. Operatives in this unit, with the close support of Iran’s “al-Quds”, smuggle weapons across borders. The “criminal mechanism” specializes in procuring special weapons on the black market, especially in the Balkan states. The shopping list includes standard explo-


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sives, shoulder-fired anti-aircraft missiles, antitank missiles, light weapons and explosives (these armaments usually originate from Former Soviet Union republics). Another important unit is the “collection mechanism” that recruits and handles collaborators and agents who collect “regular” intelligence and “special” intelligence prior to an operation. The mechanism is assisted by “Unit 71” which is responsible for security and counter-espionage. Hezbollah agents in this field are trained in operational conduct and eluding one’s trackers. Imad Mughniyah’s assassination in Damascus

and the targeted killing of senior Hamas operator Mahmoud al-Mabhouh in Dubai in 2010 (also attributed to Israel) forced the unit to reevaluate its overseas security arrangements and even set up a network of surveillance cameras around Beirut to keep watch on the movement of foreign intelligence agents. Like any espionage body, Hezbollah’s international mechanism is assisted by a support department that builds the requisite infrastructure for operational activity: from passport and document forging, to counterfeiting foreign currency, and creating straw companies and renting safe houses. As far as is known, Hezbollah’s

Hezbollah’s bases and operation sites Africa: Sudan, Eritrea, Gambia, Senegal, Gabon, Liberia, Sierra Leone, Nigeria, People’s Republic of Congo, Guinea Sibau, Angola, Kenya, Ivory Coast, Mauritania, Mali, Uganda, Northern Zaire, Moroco, Libya Europe: Belgium, Scandinavia (Sweden, Denmark), England, Greece, Spain,Malta, Cyprus, France, Germany

North America

Asia and Oceania: Afghanistan, Southern Thailand, Indonesia, New Zealand, Singapore, Cambodia, Malaysia, Pakistan, Uzbekistan Eastern Europe and the Caucasus: Slovakia, Croatia, Serbia, Albania, Azerbaijan, Bosnia, Ukraine, Turkey, Georgia, Armenia, Romania, Russia North and Central America: Canada, USA, Mexico South America: Argentina, Venezuela, Ecuador, Colombia, Brazil, Paraguay, Cuba The Middle East: Iraq, Iran, Saudi Arabia, Bahrain, Kuwait, United Arab Emirates, Yemen, Gaza, Egypt, Syria, Jordan, Israel

South Amer

state-of-the art printing machines that assist the master “forger”, Majid al-Zakur, in his various tasks, came from Iran.

Hezbollah everywhere Undeniably, the pinnacle of Hezbollah’s overseas operational mechanism is the dispersion of its operatives throughout the world. In many places, Canada for example, the organization is backed by a large community of Lebanese expatriates. In other countries it employs “sleeper” agents on permanent payroll, and “cover” offices for normative civilian activity. Some countries are considered “friend-

ly”, such as Venezuela, whose president, Hugo Chavez, maintains close ties with the Iranian government. It seems that Hezbollah agents have ready access to Venezuelan passports. Hezbollah has built a substantial infrastructure in Egypt. The organization is likely to exploit the current political upheaval that Egypt is going through. Hezbollah activity in Egypt is instructive - Muhammad Qablan the head of the local Hezbollah branch, was arrested in 2009 after entering Egypt on a false Lebanese passport under the name “Hassan al-Rol”. Mubarak’s government also uncovered Muhammad Yosef Mansour’s identity – commander of the

“Egyptian Office”. Mansour held a Lebanese passport under the name “Sami Shihab” and was taken into custody. At the time, Egypt accused the Lebanese government of cooperating with Hezbollah in preparing officially signed and sealed documents with the names of fictitious people. But Venezuela and Egypt are not alone. The attached map is based on publications that testify to Hezbollah activity and prove that the organization’s agents have managed to reach, by whatever means, every corner of the world. Now the question is who will eventually win: Israeli counter espionage or the Lebanese mechanism? 

around the world




rica Australia

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seconds that


history THIRTY YEARS SINCE THE BOMBING OF THE IRAQI REACTOR The Mossad’s preemptive sabotage of the Iraqi nuclear reactor and recruitment of Iraqi scientists into its ranks, the air force commander’s urgent request to government ministers to support the operation, Iraqi paper currency scattered to the wind beneath the roaring engines of the aircraft, Chief of Staff Eitan, visibly moved, handing out dates to the pilots and making sure, up to the last minute, that the head of military intelligence knew nothing of the impending attack. New pictures, new disclosures: The untold story of the bombing of the Iraqi reactor 72

By Danny Shalom and Amir Rapaport

JUNE 2011

Exclusive photo

June 1981, air force underground bunker a few days after the operation in Iraq. Center: Major General David Ivry. Left: Colonel Aviam Sela. Rear: Lieutenant Colonel Shamai Golan

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“Don’t let Joshua know a thing about it”. These were the instructions that Colonel Efraim Lapid, head of the IDF Intelligence Corps Collection Department, received from the chief of staff, Lieutenant General Rafael Eitan (Raful). The date was early June 1981. H-hour for Operation “Opera” - the attack on the Iraqi nuclear reactor “Osirak” - was approaching and Raful fretted over the possibility that the head of the Intelligence Corps, Major General Yehoshua Saguy, would get wind of the operation that he was dead against and try to obstruct it. “Yehoshua mustn’t know about this”. Lapid, later a brigadier general and IDF spokesman, faced the most agonizing dilemma of his career: on the one hand the chief of staff specifically ordered him not to reveal the secret to his immediate superior; on the other hand, he felt bound by a sense of loyalty, and was fully aware that according to procedures he could take special measures in information collecting – but only in an emergency situation and only with permission of his superior officer. After a heavy battle of conscience, the chief of staff’s order trumped the emotions and procedures. Thus, on the eve of the holiday of Shavuot, on June 7, 1981, a handful of IDF officers (five or six at most), privy to one of the greatest operations in the history of Israel, were ensconced in the Intelligence Corps operations room in Tel Aviv. In the adjacent operations room in to the “Bor” (“Pit”), the grey underground bunker beneath the general staff base (Hakirya), a few more officers - about ten – were directing the operation. At their head stood the commander of the Israeli Air

Exclusive photo

 The Mossad’s first photo of the reactor


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Force (IAF), Major General David Ivry, and next to him, Chief of Staff Raful. Above the “Pit” the base was practically deserted (because of the holiday), but in the center of the city, the head of the Intelligence Corps, General Saguy, was about to celebrate the holiday with his family. Only after the attack was completed did he receive a phone call: “Get over to the Kirya immediately. We’ve bombed the reactor”. In retrospect, Operation “Opera” - the destruction of Iraq’s nuclear reactor - was one of the most transformational events in the Middle East in the last decades. Books have been written about it, television programs have related it from countless angles, but thirty years on, IsraelDefense brings the stories never before told: the Mossad’s targeted assassination that pushed back work on the reactor, the lack of solid military intelligence, the almost unbearable responsibility borne by the prime minister and air force commander, and the “smoke and mirror tricks” that masked the operation not only from the head of Israel’s Intelligence Corps but especially from the Americans. And last but not least, the nearto perfect performance itself. The story begins in 1974, when a deal was signed between Iraq, and the government of France, headed by Jacques Chirac. The deal called for France’s construction of two nuclear reactors in Iraq. These facilities - termed “research reactors” were built close to Baghdad. Israel’s suspicions that the reactors were designed for more than just research were well-founded: until the 1967 Six-Day War Israeli-French scientific cooperation was very strong. Israel considered France a strategic ally,

especially as France had built the nuclear reactor near Dimona, where, according to foreign reports, Israel was developing its own nuclear weapon. But the Mossad soon discovered that the concern over the Iraqi reactor was indeed justified: in addition to “scientific research” the Iraqis were building a hot cell laboratory to separate plutonium from radioactive rods and were producing military-quality nuclear fuel. It was obvious they were planning to assemble an atom bomb. The estimated date for production was 1980. Later, the date was pushed back to the fall of 1981. Suffice it to be said that this postponement was not caused by natural defects in the materials. Before the ink on the French-Iraqi agreement had dried the Mossad (which the activity described has been attributed to it) already began sabotaging bomb production in the reactor. The clandestine organization tracked the sites where the equipment was being manufactured and its delivery route, and made sure that an “invisible hand” caused heavy damage. More than once the Iraqis complained to the French that the equipment being shipped was impaired. The French suspected that the Israelis were involved in the constant sabotage, but had to send new ware according to the contract. Sometimes replacements took weeks and even months. French suspicion of Israel’s involvement in the subversion grew on April 6th 1979 when a mysterious explosion occurred in the factory in Toulon, where the reactor’s dome was produced. Till today, the par-

 “Chisel formation” – before takeoff

ty behind the sabotage is not “officially” known. Nevertheless, the Mossad was unsatisfied with the level of damage and length of delay. In the 1970s it tracked down the names of Iraqi scientists studying abroad – many of them in France. We may assume that the Mossad made generous offers to these scientists for their cooperation in delivering intelligence data on progress in the reactor and maybe even in carrying out acts of sabotage. By 1980 it was clear that even if production of “the bomb” had been postponed, sooner or later it would make its debut. The big question was: to attack the reactor and risk war with Iraq and a devastating international response against Israel (even in the case of failure) or accept the fact that Iraq will be nuclear armed and hope for the best. The prime minister appointed a special committee, headed by the former chief of intelligence, Major General Aharon (Arele) Yariv, to study the issue. Yariv’s unequivocal recommendation: Don’t attack! But the Mossad was split by sharp differences of opinion between the head of the organization, Yitzhak (Haka) Hofi, and his deputy, Nahum Admoni (his successor). In the Intelligence Corps, the head of the Research Branch, Brigadier General (later major general) Aviad Ya’ari supported an attack – in diametric opposition to the head of the Intelligence Corps Major - General Saguy. The chief of staff, Raful, and the commander of the air force, Major General David Ivry (later deputy chief of staff, ambassador to the United States, and director of the National Security Council) believed

Photo: IAF magazine

that an attack was feasible. The operation’s opponents were not only wary of the repercussions of mission failure but also concerned over “interference” in the Iran-Iraq War, then at its height and favorable to Israel’s interests, and jeopardizing the fragile, freshly-signed peace treaty with Egypt. The treaty had been signed in 1979 and had not been fully implemented yet. Israel was set to evacuate its military bases in Sinai. Also, there was fear that the American administration would level heavy sanctions on Israel. A primary source was supplying the Israeli government with inside information on the opinions and arguments of both the opponents and supporters of the operation. Ironically, the ministers who opposed an attack were those who had a strong military background: the defense minister, Ezer Weizman, former commander of the air force and deputy chief of staff; and Yigal Yadin, the deputy prime minister, and former chief of staff. Just as discussion on the reactor strike was in full-swing, the Israeli political system underwent a crisis during which the defense minister, Ezer Weizman, resigned from office. By this act Weizman hoped to bring down the Begin government, but to no avail. Begin survived the political shift, and decided to retain the post of defense minister for himself. He had good reasons for this.

First plans Planning the attack began in 1979, when Weizman was defense minister. Weizman

“The Mossad tracked the sites where the equipment was being manufactured and its delivery route, and made sure that an ‘invisible hand’ caused heavy damage. The French suspected that the Israelis were involved in the constant sabotage” and chief of staff Eitan ordered a team to formulate two alternatives for neutralizing the reactor: a ground operation by “Sayeret Matkal” (Israel’s elite special forces unit) or an air strike. The team held meetings under a heavy mantle of secrecy. The number of people privy to the secret could be counted on the fingers of one hand. The Mossad supplied the team with all the information in its possession, but this proved negligible: only a general map (1:250,000) of the reactor area, which precluded serious operational planning. Mossad operatives in France and Iraq were frantically ordered to get more precise maps and a photograph of the reactor. The best picture, taken between trees at a few dozen meters from the target, shows the reactor’s dome and surrounding buildings. This was the main intelligence accessory used in the attack, and IsraelDefense displays it here for the first time (at page 38). The reactor’s location in the outskirts of Baghdad, not far from the confluence of the Tigris and Euphrates Rivers, was for all practical purposes “terra incognita” for Israeli intelligence. Israel regularly tracked the Iraqi army in case it was sent as an expeditionary force to assist the Arab armies surrounding Israel, as it had done in previous wars since the 1948 War of Independence. Thus, the intelligence corps had information on military movement in the western part of Iraq, near the Jordanian border, but not in the heartland of the country. Satellite photos were unavailable in this period. Only the US had a satellite with up-to-date photography of the region, but it was unwilling to share its products with Israel.

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Anatomy of the attack Preparations for the attack on the reactor continued parallel to secret discussions in the government. Begin insisted that decision be unanimous. After taking up the defense portfolio, the last two hard nuts in the cabinet to crack were his deputy, Yigal Yadin, who was “reinforced” with the interior minister, Yosef Burg. Ivry, the air force commander, spent hours trying to convince them that the mission was doable. Finally the government gave its unanimous approval and authorized prime minister


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Menachem Begin, foreign minister Yitzhak past could warn the anti-aircraft systems Shamir, and chief of staff Rafael Eitan to deployed around the reactor and put them decide on its exact timing. on a high state of alert. At the same time, the research departNaturally, the Israeli pilots who carried ment staff checked and rechecked the out aerial reconnaissance sorties in the first plans for attacking the reactor. They con- months of 1981 had no idea of the real cluded that there was no importance in reason behind the IDF’s heightened interest destroying the dome, but the reactor core, in this remote area. ten meters underground, had to be penIn the meantime the air force’s operations etrated. department drew up contingency plans in Most of the personnel in the operations the event of complications. Possible landresearch department were physicists and ing sites for Hercules planes were located mathematicians whose IQ level hovered in in the heart of the desert, the Mossad the stratosphere. The head of the depart- obtained Iraqi paper currency to be used ment was a young officer, Major Yitzhak by downed pilots to bribe the kings of the Ben-Israel (later a major general, professor, desert, the Bedouin, while awaiting rescue. head of the Administration for the DevelopIn the weeks prior to the attack the air ment of Weapons and Technological Infra- force repeatedly ordered its planes to penstructure, a member of the Knesset, and etrate Jordanian air space. The Jordanians, today chairman of the Israeli Space Agency who were in an official state of hostility with and director of the National Cyberwarfare Israel but maintained friendly relations with Unit). After innumerable calculations, Ben it in practice, were furious at the violations Israel and his staff realized that it was better of their sovereignty, but the desired effect to drop 900 kilo “dumb” bombs on the re- was attained: “To get them used to” the actor rather than smaller bombs with delay fact that Israeli planes occasionally intruded fuzes, even though the latter were consid- across the border. ered “bunker blasters”. Two giant “dumb” Lieutenant Colonel Zeev Raz and Lieubombs were likely to do the job and blow tenant Colonel Amir Nahumi, the comup the reactor core, but just to make sure manders of the squadrons that already the mathematicians recommended upping begun absorbing the F-16s, discovered the number to eighteen. A decision on the only in January 1981 the objective they flight path remained: on the one hand, were practicing for. They were asked to the route had to be as short as possible withhold the information from the pilots because of fuel constraints, and as far as taking part in the attack – almost until the possible from radar stations, settlements, very last minute. and ground observation. It was decided On January 20, 1981 Ehud (Udi) Benthat the planes would take off the Etzion Airbase in northern Sinai, which was still in Israel’s hands at that time, penetrate Saudi Arabian air space in the Ha’il region, and fly at low altitude, skimming the Saudi Arabian desert floor until the Iraqi border and the target: Baghdad. Saudi Arabia’s deserts are vast, endless. It was critically important to collect  The “Osirak” reactor burning minutes after the attack intelligence on the area and map the radar stations, power lines and Amitai, one of the eight pilots designated communications lines that the planes were to take part in the bombing, was killed in a likely to encounter as their bellies licked training accident. Ehud was the son-in-law the ground. Any lookout post in the des- of the deputy minister of defense Mordeert that caught sight of the planes roaring chai (Motke) Zipori – the person respon-

Exclusive photo Photo: Air Force Magazine

The head of the secret team that examined the options for hitting the reactor was Colonel Aviam Sella, director of the air force’s operations department. When Weizman was presented with the two alternatives, he ordered the planning to continue but the ground action scrapped. Before he died in 2005, he revealed to Shamai Golan, a member of Sella’s team and an air intelligence officer: “The truth is that I wanted to cancel the operation. I was worried that Sayeret Matkal would press to carry out, and I assumed that the air force would only ‘concern itself’ with its maps and nothing would come of it”. When the initial plans for an air strike began to crystallize, the IAF’s frontline planes were Phantoms, Skyhawks, and F-15s. These aircraft lacked the range for a roundtrip flight to Baghdad. Israel’s air refueling ability was still undeveloped in this period. An unexpected result of the Khomeini Revolution in Iran had enormous implications for the IAF: The United States decided to transfer eight F-16s, originally destined for the Shah’s army, to Israel. The planes landed at the Ramat David Base in the north of the country in July 1980. Eight of the twelve pilots, who trained on the F-16 in the United States, prior to their arrival in Israel, were designated to take part in the “Osirak” attack. They were repeatedly ordered to practice flight conditions that simulated the path to and from Baghdad, a distance of about a thousand kilometers. Because Israel’s geographical area is very limited, the pilots had to fly far out into the Mediterranean, come back, and then veer south to Eilat, without having a clue why they were always returning on their last drop of fuel.

The prevailing atmosphere in the subterranean briefing room was that of history being made. Unfortunately no one snap a few pictures to document the moment for posterity. the chief of staff, Rafael Eitan,talked for twenty minutes sible for the daily administration of the nation’s security bodies while Begin held the defense portfolio. The air force deliberated over Ben-Amitai’s replacement. The commander of the Ramat David Airbase, home of one of the squadrons tasked with the mission, Colonel Yiftach Spector (later brigadier general) insisted that he will fly with his men on the dangerous operation. Ivry vetoed the request: Spector had only begun training on the F-16 therefore a wiser choice would be one of the four pilots who had undergone F-16 training in the United States and had mastered the requisite flight skills. Spector held his own and went all the way up to the chief of staff. In the end Raful and Ivry bowed to the pressure and added Spector to the “eight”.

Prime Minister Menachem Begin declared in the government meeting that approved the operation. On May 8 a dry-run exercise was held, as Operation “Ammunition Hill” – the codename for the attack - approached. Raful arrived in the middle of the seven day traditional mourning period. His son Yoram, a pilot, had just been killed in another air force training accident. Summer came earlier than usual. The temperatures climbed and the air was dry. In addition to the debilitating heat, Israel was in the throes of a furious election campaign. Border incidents between Israel and Lebanon and Syria were becoming increasingly frequent. The Syrians had transferred their missile batteries to the Beka’a Valley in Lebanon. The IDF was evacuating its bases in Sinai. May 14 was the original date planned for the attack in Iraq. The latest intelligence Grounded reports showed that the reactor was proIn the spring of 1981 Israel received ab- tected by five SAM-6 (surface-to-air) batsolutely solid information: Seventy kilos of teries and a large number of anti-aircraft enriched uranium were to be shipped to guns. As luck would have it, the reactor’s the reactor in June, after which time an at- air defense layout was recently reinforced tack would be impossible. because of Iranian air strikes that had be“A giant clock is hanging over our heads gun in January. The main problem was that the weapons now faced south – the direction of Photo: Government Press Office the enemy. Therefore air force operations decided to have the planes swoop in from the north. In the final days before the attack a SAM-6 battery from another area had suddenly “disappeared” from air force intelligence’s observation. It was assumed (an assumption that later proved correct) that it had  Prime Minister Begin, Chief of Staff Eitan and IAF Commander Ivry been moved to the reactor. The risk level grew. and it’s ticking away. I am referring to Iraq, On the night before Operation “Ammuniwhose nuclear weapons production is a tion Hill” many of the players found sleep danger to every man and woman in Israel. elusive. First of all the pilots, but also the Sadaam Hussein will not hesitate to use a prime minister, chief of staff, and air force weapon of mass destruction against us”, commander on whom most the of the

responsibility fell. Mission failure would precipitate unprecedentedly catastrophic fallout for Israel. Whatever the result, Iraq might respond with a counterattack. If one of the three decision-makers – Begin, Raful, or Ivry – blinked, the operation would be postponed or even cancelled. But this is not what happened. On the morning of the attack the chief of staff and commander of the air force made their way to Etzion Base from Tel Aviv in separate planes. Shamai Golan from the intelligence air group also flew the same route in a military “executive plane”. Golan clutched a black briefcase that he had picked up earlier from Mossad headquarters in the center of the country, and nobody, except for him, knew its contents. The date of the attack was set for Sunday, when the French workers in the reactor (the few who remained after the Iranian air strikes) were on weekend vacation. Take off would be in the afternoon to allow the pilots to reach their objective at zero altitude in the last light of day and return at high altitude protected by darkness. A tense atmosphere enveloped Etzion on the morning of May 14. The mechanics scuttled around the hangars, the planes had arrived an hour earlier from their mother base in the north, and armed and fueled without anyone knowing their mission’s destination. Raful dedicated his first half hour at Etzion to visiting the room of his late son Yoram, who had served at the base. If the soul of this crusty, tough paratrooper-farmer was in turmoil as he gazed at his dead son’s bed – his countenance revealed nothing of it. When Shamai Golan’s plane landed in the late afternoon, an unexpected mishap occurred: Golan slipped and his briefcase spilled open. Suddenly, hundreds of Iraqi bills flew out and scattered between the planes’ roaring engines. One of the mechanics, who immediately realized the planes’ target, fainted on the spot. Golan extended his hands to catch the fleeing money, and with the help of other mechanics managed to retrieve the bills and stuff them back into the briefcase. A short while later absolute silence engulfed the squadron’s briefing room at Etzion. The last mission briefing. In the first row sat the eight F-16 pilots – divided into the two “quartets” that

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would attack the reactor in two waves hard and fast. The first quartet (call sign: “Scalpel”) was led by operation commander, Lieutenant Colonel Zeev Raz, the commander of Squadron 117, the first jet squadron in the IDF. Together with him were Amos Yadlin as number 2, Hagai Katz, and Duby Yafe. The second quartet (call sign: “Cluster”) was led by Lieutenant Colonel Amir Nahumi, commander of Squadron 110, “Knights of the North”. The pilots in this quartet were Colonel Yiftach Spector, wing commander, as number 2, Israel “Ralik” Shafir as number 3 (and number 7 in the formation). The last plane, number 8, would be piloted by twenty-seven year old Captain Ilan Ramon, the only bachelor in the group, and later Israel’s first astronaut (who would lose his life in 2003 when the American space shuttle “Columbia” broke apart and exploded during reentry). The pilots of the six F-15s from Squadron 133 sat in the second row of the briefing room. Their job was to attack the anti-aircraft batteries and defend the raiding party if Iraqi planes gave it chase and engaged it in a dogfight. Seated with the F-15 pilots was head of the operations department, Aviam Sella. The prevailing atmosphere in the subterranean briefing room was that of history being made. Unfortunately no one thought to record what was said or snap

a few pictures to document the moment for posterity. The briefing opened with a short intelligence review, followed by operational instructions by the group leaders. There was no need to elaborate, everything had been gone over and practiced countless times. General Ivry spoke to his pilots for less than a minute, but, surprisingly, the chief of staff, Rafael Eitan, a man known for his taciturn demeanor, talked with them for twenty minutes – an eternity by his standards. Eitan said that the fate of Israel and the Jewish people rested on their shoulders. Before he concluded, he took out a package of dates, and passed them out to the pilots - something to eat in case of capture. The attack planes were on the runway, gunning up. In order to lift off with the maximum amount of fuel, Ivry allowed “hot fuelling” while the engines were running. The covering planes were also ready. Suddenly, an order came from Prime Minister Begin to cancel the mission. Begin had been under mounting pressure ever since the head of intelligence and Mossad director opposed the operation. The pressure became unsustainable when on the very day of the operation he received a letter bristling with innuendoes from the Opposition leader, Shimon Peres (today the president of Israel), recommending aborting the perilous adventure. Begin consulted with Raful, who feared that too many people knew

Israeli Air Force Flight Path to and from Iraq


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Photo: Air Force Magazine

Exclusive photo

 First announcement: the pilots celebrating

about the operation and that a leak could jeopardize the lives of the pilots. Therefore Begin ordered mission abort. Ivry, Raful, and Begin all believed that the information had been intentionally leaked to Peres in order to thwart the operation. Suspicion immediately fell on one of the eight attack pilots, Duby Yafe, who was the nephew of the former defense minister Ezer Weizman (later also the president of Israel), but especially on the intelligence chief, Yehoshua Saguy. After the mission was called off, it was decided to issue a new order for the attack under the name - Operation “Opera”. To be extra cautious, and not even involve one typist too many, orders were handwritten – ten copies at most. The basic details didn’t change, “Opera” paralleled “Ammunition Hill”. The date set for the new operation was May 31, but it too was cancelled when the president of Egypt, Anwar Sadat, invited Prime Minister Begin to a summit meeting in Sharm e-Sheikh, an invitation that Begin couldn’t refuse. The following Sunday – June 7 - was the new date. The air force commander, Ivry, would be very busy on the weekend before the operation. He had to fly to a meeting of generals in Naples and from there continue to the International Paris Air Show that was about to open. The visit to France he could forego, but he feared that if didn’t show up in Naples the Americans’ suspicion would be aroused that Israel was “cooking up” something under their noises. They suspected that the IDF was planning to hit the Soviet missile batteries deployed in the Beka’a Valley in Lebanon – a move that could jumpstart a regional war. In order to neutralize the Americans’ speculation, Ivry not only flew to Naples but also ordered an IAI “Westwind” execu-

after the attack

tive jet and invited the American naval attaché to accompany him on the trip to Naples. The attaché received the first-hand impression that as far as the Israelis were concerned everything was “business a usual”. Ivry returned to Israel on Friday afternoon, just before the Sabbath. Waiting for him at the military airfield in northern Tel Aviv were Colonel Aviam Sella and Lieutenant Colonel Shamai Golan. They informed him that “Begin and Raful are definitely ‘going for it’ this time”. There would be no more mess ups in the plans. Ivry went directly from the airfield to a very intimate meeting – in the private parlor of the prime minister’s house, where he met Raful, Foreign Minister Yitzhak Shamir, and Mossad director, Yitzhak Hofi. The chief of intelligence was conspicuously absent. The Sabbath came and went, and on Sunday, while the entire country was busy preparing for the Shavuot holiday, Etzion Airbase was again in a hectic bustle.

Take off The commander of the air force was restless on the afternoon of June 7. The Mossad had to get its people out of Iraq. This meant there would be no one on the ground to report “live” on weather conditions in the reactor area. At 16:01 the planes roared off the tarmac, each armed with two 900 kilo bombs. Two extra fuel tanks had been added under the wings, a third tank under the belly, and air-to-air “Sidewinder” missiles on the tips of the wings. The six F-15s also took off, flying in pairs of three just behind the lead planes. Each F-15 was armed with four “Sparrow” missiles, four “Sidewinders,” and an electronic warfare (EW) system.

“Minutes after take off King Hussein reported to Amman from his yacht he had just witnessed Israeli fighters heading east. The person on the other end of the line was an Arabic-speaker from Israeli intelligence” Minutes after take off something happened that threatened to return the planes to base: King Hussein was heard over a radio transmission reporting to Aman, from his Yacht in the Gulf of Aqaba, he had just witnessed Israeli fighters heading east. The king’s relations with Sadaam Hussein were excellent in this period. He rushed a call through from this yacht to the Jordanian military staff in Amman and ordered them to warn the Iraqis that Israeli planes were screaming in their direction. The other side affirmed that it received the message and promised to convey it to the Iraqis. Hussein didn’t know, according to foreign sources, that the person on the other end of the line was not a Jordanian officer, but an Arabic-speaker from Israeli intelligence. The warning, probably, never reached its destination. The planes flew at an altitude of a hundred meters, at 400 knots, in absolute radio silence. At the same time, in Israel’s skies, control and assistance planes were aloft, functioning as air control platforms and communications relay stations. Rescue forces were also in the air. All told, seventy planes and helicopters took part in the operation. The F-16 pilots in the spearhead, flying at zero altitude, could “sense” the astounded inhabitants of the desert, some of whom waved a greeting at them, unaware that the planes were Israeli. Ninety minutes into the flight the glistening dome of the “Osirak” reactor suddenly appeared. Zeev Raz ordered speed increased to 600 knots. The planes immediately climbed to 10,000 feet and prepared for a dive attack. “Watch it, anti-aircraft fire!” Raz warned over the radio. At 17:35 the attack commenced. Raz lingered a moment to carry out a heavy-load maneuver before attack-

ing, but number 2 preceded him, Captain Amos Yadlin, and flew directly at the target. “I’m on my back”, Duby Yafe later wrote in his diary, “coming in slowly, not to err, another slight correction, and that’s it. Now - Pickles 1 and 2. The bombs were released. A second has passed. Bank hard to the left and keep an eye out for missiles in the sky”. “Full burn. I pull, and here it is looming before me the wall and insides, no mistake about it, the silvery dome in the evening sun”, Relik Shafir wrote. “Seven G, I ‘fold’ the plane at high speed, and see smoke starting to rise – still no big explosion”. “I’m on my back. Now it’s only me and the plane. Heavy fire from inside the structure . . . don’t flub it. Another slight correction. Now. Bombs away!” In retrospect, Colonel Yiftach Spector, the second pilot in the second formation, was the only pilot in the “octet” whose payload missed the target. Maybe because of his limited knowledge of the F-16 or because he took off with a pounding headache, as he later recounted. Whatever the case, with the attack over the planes soared to 42,000 feet and headed home. One Iraqi jet was scrambled at the Rashid Airbase near the Jordanian border and gave chase, but returned as it came without engaging the enemy. The return flight was considered more dangerous than the approach. The planes were like flying ducks - unarmed and very low on fuel. When they landed safely in Israel - together with all the rest of the airplanes that participated in the operation – a collective burst of happiness and release of tension was felt. “The book/magazine ‘Opera’ really was brilliant, superlative, and goes to show in retrospect that what we first thought – was correct (and the others were less so). They can be forgiven”, scribbled Raful on a note that he handed Ivry in the general staff meeting after the operation. With the hindsight of thirty years, any similarity to the operation that destroyed the Syrian nuclear reactor in 2007 (attributed to Israel) and the discussions currently taking place on whether or not to attack Iranian nuclear sites – is likely to be incidental at best. or not. 

JUNE 2011



Facebook and Intelligence Surprises Brigadier General (res.) Hanan Gefen Brigadier General (res.) Hanan Gefen, is the former commander of the Central Collection Unit of the Intelligence Corps - Unit 8200

ecent events in the Arab world have succeeded in bewilderr ing rulers, regimes, governing mechanisms, and the media. A media circus immediately went to town over the issue of social networking on the Internet and its power to spawn, as though from out of nowhere, a young public hungry for democracy, and unafraid to confront the government and demand its rights. As an intelligence analyst I tend to doubt “instant” social upheavals or those that assume to alter a state’s DNA with the scratch of a pen or click of the keyboard. A certain similarity seems to exist between the recent events in the Arab world: lengthy mass demonstrations, chants demanding “the nation wants to topple the government” (or “the people want to liberate Palestine”, like the cries voiced by the Palestinians at the Israeli-Syrian border on May 15), the coordination of days of rage after Friday prayers, when demonstrators are willing to clash with security forces and convey photos and reports of the rioting to the media networks. And last but not least, there are also the media networks (al-Jazeera, Internet) that embellish the local events and encourage the populations in the different countries to join the wave of outspoken discontent. However, a somewhat deeper look reveals the differences between the events. Egypt was characterized by a long-festering dissatisfaction with the economic and employment situation, the Muslim Brotherhood, and President Mubarak’s designs to hand over the government to his son; Tunisia was the scene of a corrupt oligarchy; in Libya – a tribal territorial division rents the country; in Yemen – tribal, territorial, and religious polarities abound; in Syria – the continuous rule of the Alawi minority over the Sunni population; in Bahrain - a Sunni minority government dominating the Shiite majority. All these were the foci of tensions simmering on a low flame and occasion-


JUNE 2011

ally boiling over. The surprising success in Tunisia stoked the flames. Each of the events involved traditional and explosive undercurrents that were known for decades, and were distant from the social networking syndrome as San Francisco is far from Benghazi. The media and political commentators debated the intelligence community’s ability to predict events in the modern age. They recalled intelligence’s failure (again!) to identify the ascendancy of new powers, fresh and heretofore unknown, that crystallized around the social networks. In my opinion even if intelligence bodies had tracked the clutter of signals on Facebook, they would have only uncovered an infinite number of forums dedicated to every subject under the sun, but no significant insights. The biggest surprises of recent months have come from an entirely different direction: the swift and determined involvement of external elements in the internal events of the Arab countries, above the heads of state. This was made possible because of the ability to sway public opinion in the West on events taking place in the field. The surprise in Egypt was the speed and determination that the Americans displayed in their decision to get rid of Mubarak and the partnership that was woven between them and the Egyptian military establishment. The surprise in Libya was the European coalition’s relatively aggressive and rapid moves, and the dramatic change in their relation with former members of Muammar Gaddafi’s regime. In this case heavy oil interests were undoubtedly involved. If I were asked to point to those who will most likely be caught by surprise in the future, I would say it is the religious sages who sit in the holy cities, and whose vocabulary and preaching will appear irrelevant in the eyes and ears of a large part of the public that has grown up in the universe of instant information transfer.

Fatah-Hamas Reconciliation is Bad News for Peace Professor Efraim Inbar Efraim Inbar is professor of political studies at Bar-Ilan University and director of the BeginSadat Center for Strategic Studies (BESA)

he details of the May 4th agreement of reconciliation T between rival movements Fatah and Hamas are not very specific. Its contours provide for presidential elections and general elections for the Palestinian Legislative Council within a year. In addition, a new government, made up of technocrats, to preside over all Palestinian territories will be established. The main obstacle to unity and state building – control over the militias – is not, however, addressed. In the past, such bilateral agreements were not respected and it is not evident that this accord will actually be implemented. Since Hamas’ violent takeover of the Gaza Strip in June 2007, the Palestinians have been divided despite repeated attempts to bridge the ideological and political differences between the two groups. The lack of territorial contiguity between the West bank and Gaza has further contributed to this internal division. Yet, despite the uncertainties surrounding the implementation of the agreement, it clearly constitutes another nail in the coffin for the “peace process.” We have already seen Mahmoud Abbas, the Palestinian leader, refuse to participate in peace negotiations with Israel while pursuing Palestinian statehood unilaterally. The new FatahHamas political partnership is partly the result of the PA decision to stop negotiating with Israel. Moreover, the moderates within Fatah are unlikely to influence the Hamas leadership to adopt flexible positions, which would be necessary in order to reach a historic compromise between the Zionist and the Palestinian national movements. Hamas, after all, is the ascending power in Palestinian politics and thus has no intention to compromise ideologically. Hamas, a radical Islamist organization, remains committed to the destruction of the Jewish state. Its militia has launched thousands of rockets into Israel aimed at

Don’t Expect a Battlefield Decision B r i g a d i e r G e n e r a l ( re s . ) Av i g d o r K l e i n Brigadier General (res.) Avigdor Klein, the owner of Avigdor K. Engineering Systems Ltd. served as commander of the Israeli Armored Corps between 2001 and 2004

population centers. Indeed, many of the states of the world define Hamas as a terrorist organization. It is not surprising that the leadership of Hamas denounced the recent elimination of the arch-terrorist Osama Bin-Laden, which reflects a large trend in Palestinian public opinion. The agreement between Fatah and Hamas has been well-received among the Palestinians, reflecting a thirst for unity. Yet, this enthusiasm also indicates that Islamic radical elements are popular in Palestinian society. Hamas may well win the planned general elections. Its public appeal is partly the result of Fatah’s ineptitude and corruption, but more so a result of its militancy toward the Jewish state, which is lauded by many. The international community insists that Hamas recognize the state of Israel, respect the agreements that the Palestinians have signed with Israel, and foreswear violence in order to become a legitimate political actor. Hamas has rejected these demands and continues to espouse its opposition to Israel’s existence. Fatah and the PA officials do not expect Hamas to comply with the preconditions of the international community and have recently dismissed them as “irrelevant.” This is a bad omen for peace negotiations. Furthermore, the Fatah-Hamas agreement reflects a wider regional phenomenon – the growing power of radical Muslim elements. The new Egypt, where Hamas’ Muslim Brothers are more prominent, was instrumental in forging the deal and in helping Hamas return to the Palestinian political arena as a central actor. Unfortunately, Palestinian society is not ripe for a peace deal with Israel. Changes in the Arab world around Israel also seem to indicate that animosity toward Israel is on the rise as a result of the growing political influence of the Islamists.

iscussion on a new multi-year plan - like that taking place in the IDF right now (“Halamish” – the fiveyear plan for 2012-2016) - generally opens with a clarification of the implications for the IDF of “battlefield decision” on the various fronts. I believe that battlefield decision has become almost superfluous. It’s time to face reality, battlefield decision, in the classic “Clausewitzian” sense of the word, no longer exists. The strongest argument for this: the elongation of the campaigns. The IDF failed to achieve a battlefield decision against Hezbollah in Lebanon (2006) or Hamas in Gaza (2009), and the coalition forces are far from to attaining an unequivocal battlefield decision in Afghanistan or Iraq. In fact, lately they’ve been directing the results of the campaign toward achieving limited concrete gains. This is what we too can expect in future confrontations. The reason the confrontations are not decisive is that the other side is amorphous, nebulous. You can’t achieve a battlefield decision against a structureless system. The truth is that in future confrontations we will be facing organizations rather than conventional armies. The fading likelihood of a confrontation between states also stems from far-reaching global changes. From a world of one or two superpowers, now there are regional superpowers. In the absence of world superpowers to support countries and airlift munitions in time of need, it will be difficult to wage total war as we have in the past. The groups in our region realize that a fully-armed, organized army is not needed to fight us and push us to the corner. Even protest, posing as “popular” movement, can chalk up political gains. This was the case with the “Gaza Freedom Flotilla” and the Turkish ship Marmara, and the first signs on the Palestinian front appeared on May 15 when the Palestinians in Syria and Lebanon


stormed the border fence on the Golan Heights and Lebanese border. In recent decades the Arab side has made a supreme effort to neutralize the IDF’s relative advantages and drag it into the type of confrontation in which the ethical factor prevents us from taking decisive action. Under these circumstances there is absolutely no way we can defeat non-state organizations and groups that wage war against us and employ a new creative rationale. Other solutions have to be found in this type of confrontation (as well as for ballistic and non-conventional threats that Iran is cooking up for us). And what has the IDF done to cope with confrontation in the new age? We’ve developed impressive relative advantages in our offensive capabilities and our precision multi-dimensional attack potential that are designed first of all to disrupt the organizational structure and infrastructure of armies and states. The question is: Will these types of targets and objectives achieve what we need? My answer: Definitely not! New dimensions will have to be examined and only then can we decide on the appropriate directions for survival, flexible action with the rationale of (joint warfare) raids for punishment, destruction of amorphous infrastructures, targeted killings, and so forth. Finally, the IDF will have to check its methods for guaranteeing national sovereignty and the basic aspects of security (such as huge investments in means for riot dispersal). On the other hand, we will have to operate on all dimensions to protect our security infrastructure and national resources (like airports) – even under heavy enemy fire. The guiding principle is to ensure continuous action and the survival of our forces and the state’s vital lifelines, especially when they come under a prolonged threat of attrition. The name of the game is “take a long breath and guarantee a reasonable quality of life”.

JUNE 2011



Brigadier General (res.) Dr. Dani Asher

The Nature of War

Conflicting Paradigms and Israeli Military Effectiveness In Lieutenant Colonel (res.) Ron Tira’s “The Nature of War”, war is likened to a game with constantly changing rules. Brigadier General (res.) Dr. Dani Asher outlines the author’s analysis of various types of confrontations as seen through the prism of conflict in Israel and the world

Ron Tira’s recently

“The Nature of War”, Sussex Academic Press

Brig.- Gen. (res.) Dr. Dani (Daniel) Asher is a military historian and researcher, who specializes in the Arab military operations and the Arab-Israeli wars.


published book (currently only in English) sets forth the many facets of shaping military operations – a field he specializes in, inter alia, as a staff officer in the Israeli Air Force. The author likens war to the children’s game “rock-paper-scissors” when one side has the advantage of a rock, the opponent develops the advantage of paper, which induces the first side to develop the advantage of a scissors, and in response the opponent develops the advantage of a rock – and so forth. Neither side gains an absolute advantage over its opponent in any move. Tira shows that the nature of war reflects the dynamic fluctuation between maneuvering and fire, concealment and defense, mobility and obstacle, defensive advantage versus attack, and resistance versus strike force. Each side develops solutions to its opponent’s challenges (which recalls Newton’s third law of motion: for every action there is a reaction). Tira examines the diverse aspects and changes involved in shaping the contours of an operation - from the selection of centers of gravity to the identification of the parameters of military decision. He analyzes the dynamics of operation shaping in various types of war: simple symmetrical war, complex asymmetrical war, guerilla war, parallel war, and the next generation war. The chapters include a doctrinal and historical background to the different types of wars. In the case of simple symmetrical war, the author looks at the Six-Day War in which both sides entered the same battlefield with the same goals in mind. Tira then focuses on complex asymmetric wars fought against regular opponents, taking as examples the Second World War and the Yom Kippur War’s southern front, where the Egyptians upended the Israeli paradigm. The author also discusses the “battle of minds”, supporting his thesis with tables based, inter alia, on the book written by the author of these lines (The Egyptian Strategy for the Yom Kippur War) which describes the changes and solutions the Egyptians applied


at the strategic, operative, and tactical levels. The chapter on asymmetric war against a nonstate opponent depicts the encounter between two sides with different goals on the same battlefield. The Vietcong’s strategy and Jihad activity illustrate this type of war. In the fourth chapter the author looks at parallel war, that is, war between two systems that never meet, as when one side employs massive airpower against an enemy that it perceives as a “system” or “organism”. An entire chapter is devoted to the Second Lebanon War that the author sees as a parallel war against a non-state enemy. Israel’s two wars in Lebanon are compared and lessons are derived from the comparison. The next chapter deals with the author’s assessment of a future parallel war against a state opponent. Tira demonstrates that basic assumptions (‘classic military doctrine’) are eroding right in front of our eyes and altering the nature of war. Modern theories and concepts, and their relation to the terms ‘victory’, ‘military decision’, ‘center of gravity’, and ‘the decisive battle’ as conceived by Israel and the United States, are already irrelevant in many cases and will be even more so in the future. Tira argues that in the future, Israel and the Western states may find themselves in a war against a regular state army that adopts a guerilla paradigm which challenges the ‘classic military doctrine’. The author contends that in such a scenario a direct blow to the enemy, one that neutralizes his ability to realize his goal will be practically impossible. Therefore a military decision and victory can only be achieved by destroying the enemy’s freedom to fight, by undermining his war paradigm and ability to determine the type of war, and by attacking his centers of gravity known from previous wars. The book is rich in tables and illustrations that clarify the changes and developments in the nature of war throughout history, with an emphasis on the present. 

israeldefense magazine june-july 2011  
israeldefense magazine june-july 2011  

israeldefense magazine june-july 2011