Defense Minister Moshe ‘Bogie’ Yaalon at the 168th graduation ceremony of the Israel Air Force Academy on June 26, 2014.
Posts Tagged ‘Air Force’
Israel has decided to build a series of assault posts designed to return fire rapidly in the event of an attack from across the border.
The decision came in response to just such an incident that occurred earlier this week, and cost the life of a 13-year-old Israeli boy. His father, a defense ministry contractor on a job along the security fence, was seriously wounded along with two others. They were sitting in a water truck when a Kornet anti-tank missile scored a direct hit on their vehicle. Mohammed Karkara paid the price and died in his father’s arms.
According to the IDF, live personnel will staff the series of assault stations — the “Defensive Canopy” to be strung out along the 210th Territorial Division — as the situation warrants. The “210th” is the area that secures Israel’s border with Syria in the Golan Heights.
The IDF maintains a similar series of posts in the south, strung out along the Gaza border as well. Within the stations are various types of technologies that allow for quick coordination between the various military elements – air force, ground troops, artillery and so forth – needed to repel any enemy attack.
Israel plans to vacate all its bases in the central region in the coming months, according to Harel Locker, director-general of the Prime Minister’s Office, who has been tasked with the goal in order to streamline the military system.
Locker made the statement at Tuesday’s Globes-BDO Ziv Haft Capital Market Conference, saying budget cuts for the defense establishment had forced the move.
Last week the IDF warned it was halting air force training and non-active flights, as well as all non-active training programs for career and reserve personnel due to the budget cuts imposed by Finance Minister Yair Lapid (Yesh Atid.) The drastic measures came following the ministry’s refusal to infuse additional funds into defense coffers which had already been approved in a special vote by the Cabinet in October. The squabble over funds comes at a time when a new unity government between the Fatah-led Palestinian Authority and the Hamas terrorist organization has been re-established under the PLO in Judea, Samaria and Gaza, and terrorism against Israel is on the rise on both sides of the 1949 Armistice line (also known as the “Green Line” or “pre-1967″ line.)
“All of the land on which IDF bases between Haifa and Be’er Sheva” are located would be up for sale, Locker said – effectively raising money for defense through the capital markets rather than earmarking funds in the state budget.
“This sort of government investment will contribute to economic activity in the market. It will also free up land for more than 100,000 housing units in high-demand areas in central Israel,” he noted.
In addition, Locker claimed the move towards the northern and southern periphery would boost the economy in those areas. “Tens of thousands of career officers and soldiers will work, live, buy and enrich” those regions, he claimed.
However, so far the move by the air force to the periphery doesn’t seem to have done much other than create havoc on roads in the south that were never built to accommodate the increased amount of traffic. The construction project to widen and develop the area around the Nevatim air force base, meanwhile – particularly the reconstruction of Route 31 from the Shoqet Junction near Be’er Sheva to Arad – has turned the entire northeastern Negev upside down for more than a year, with little to show for it other than more vehicular accidents.
Locker said the state would fund the project through sales of the land on which the bases are now located – “the most expensive lands in high demand areas… for tens of billions of shekels.” He said he was turning to the business community gathered at the conference for extra-budgetary financing of the project – “financial institutions, banks and other entities.” He added that he hoped to complete the process “within a few weeks.”
The IDF is grounding training flights in the Israeli air force, effective immediately, according to a report late Tuesday night by Walla!
Starting next Sunday, pilots will fly only during actual operations and in flight school, IAF fighter jet commanders were told Tuesday night. The IDF decision to ground the planes includes reserve pilots as well, and was made jointly by Defense Minister Moshe Ya’alon and IDF Chief of Staff Benny Gantz.
The decision to clip the wings of Israel’s air force came after the Finance Ministry refused to send the Defense Ministry a payment of NIS 750 million ($215 million) for basic maintenance, training and drills.
Last October the Defense Ministry had asked for an increase in its budget after it had taken steps to streamline operations. The Cabinet approved a decision to transfer NIS 2.75 billion to the defense establishment from the budget surplus that existed at the time.
Nevertheless, Finance Minister Yair Lapid has continued to advocate for a cut in the budget instead, hoping to use those funds for social services.
In the long run, it may be that the equipment will come out the biggest loser of all, however. Brig.-Gen. (res) Assaf Agmon, head of the Fisher Institute for Air and Space Strategic Studies, was quoted as saying, “a plane that doesn’t fly suffers in terms of its condition; rubber dries out, the body is damaged. It’s for good reason pilots often air out their plane for 15 minutes before a mission, so as to preserve the plaine’s flight condition.”
A source in the Defense Ministry told Walla!, the Finance Ministry “refused to hold logical negotiations while at least making good on its earlier commitments, and therefore we had no choice but to make decisions like these.”
“The IDF planned in a responsible manner the work plans for 2014 according to the missions and the size of the army, as approved in October by the Cabinet, and in January by the Foreign Affairs and Defense Committe,” the IDF Spokesperson’s Unit said in a statement. “Throughout that time the meaning of the approval of a work plan with an inadequate budget was presented to all the relevant parties. It was made clear that in May, the IDF would reach an extreme point at which hard decisions would be required.”
The Israeli Air Force has airlifted generators to end an electricity blackout in the Jewish communities of Itamar and Shiloh in Samaria (Shomron.)
The two towns, along with several other smaller communities, have been without electricity since last Thursday because of the savage storm that crippled Israel with more than three feet of snow and torrential rains in low-level areas. Teams of repairmen have been working around the clock to restore the electrical supply to all the hundreds of disconnected homes.
Aharon Katsof, a resident of Aish Kodesh in the Binyamin region of Samaria, told Tazpit News Agency, “We have been without power for five days. We have been using wood for heat, and gas for cooking. We also lost our water supply, so we melted snow for water. During the first days we had a problem with food supplies, and we were completely cut off.
“At some point the army began to provide us with food. Those who had wood-heating hosted those families who had none. We had communal meals. Today, most cars were dug out of the snow, and so we can get in and out; the siege has been broken.”
An Israeli Air Force drone crashed into the Mediterranean Sea off the coast south of Tel Aviv Tuesday, the second drone crash in three months.
The Navy picked located the debris of the Hermes 450 UAV and brought it experts to analyze the reason for the malfunction, which probably was in the engine, according to preliminary estimates.
The drone was involved in a training exercise and not an intelligence operation, the military said.
The Israeli Air Force (IAF) struck back at Lebanon, hitting a terrorist target near Beirut, Lebanon early Friday morning.
The IAF said all targets were hit, and the pilots returned home safely. There is no information on damage or casulties on the part of the enemy.
The strike was in response to the four rockets launched at Israel yesterday.
The Israeli government said it is holding the Lebanese government responsible, though Lebanese president denied involvment in the attack, and is reported to have said that the rocket attacks were a violation of the ceasefire between Israel and Lebanon.