Written by Lieutenant Colonel S. Belov, Captain 2nd rank P. Kuznetsov; Originally appeared at Foreign Military Review 2020 #4, translated by AlexD exclusively for SouthFront
You can read this article in German. LINK
The military-technical cooperation (MTC) of Israel with foreign partners is determined by the military-political course pursued by the country’s leadership, aimed at ensuring national security, strengthening the influence of Tel Aviv in the region and in the world as a whole. As the most important component of support for the national military-industrial complex (MIC), it contributes to military and technical dominance over the Arab states of the region. The country’s modern MIC, which has a high-tech research and production base, has a significant impact on the development of the Israeli economy.
In terms of sales of military and dual-use products, Israel ranks seventh in the world after the United States, Russia, France, Germany, China and the United Kingdom. Over the past 5 years, it has accounted for about 3% of global arms exports. The main volumes of supplies of weapons and military equipment of the Jewish state fall on the countries of South, South-East Asia and the Far East. In 2014-2018, the share of this region in Israel’s total exports was about 61%, with a significant part of it going to the CIS countries (about 18%) and Europe (9%).
The leadership of the state pays special attention to consolidating its positions in the arms market of European states, as well as to finding new consumers of military and dual-use products, both of its own and joint production. One of Israel’s main European partners in the field of military-technical cooperation is Germany.
Cooperation between Israeli and German military-industrial companies cover a wide range of issues and includes both the production of new and modernisation of existing models of military equipment. It should be noted that within the framework of cooperation, samples of military and dual-use products are also produced, intended for export to third countries. It is noteworthy that Germany regularly allocates subsidies to the Israeli side for the purchase of German-made military equipment, which contributes to the strengthening of bilateral military-technical ties. Berlin’s provision of financial resources to Tel Aviv is carried out within the framework of the concept of “Germany’s special responsibility for the security of the Jewish state”.
Currently, the two governments are implementing an agreement for the construction of four Saar-6 corvettes* with guided missile weapons for the needs of the Israeli Navy. They are a modernised version of the German ship of the project “Meko A100”. Laying and most of the hull work is carried out by the German shipbuilding concern Thyssen-Krupp Marine Systems at the German Naval Yard Kiel in Kiel. The total cost of the contract is about 480 million dollars, of which 130 million are allocated by the German authorities.
The arrival of the lead corvette “Magen” in Israel and its subsequent transfer to Tel Aviv is scheduled for the first half of 2020 at the end of a series of sea trials. Work on the installation of weapons and basic support systems is planned to be carried out on site by the Israeli MIC. The ship is expected to be commissioned into the Navy not earlier than 2021, the transfer of the second and third (“Oz” and “Atsmaut”, respectively) is scheduled for 2020, the last of the series (“Nitshon”), at the end of 2021.
The basis of the submarine forces of the Israeli Navy are five diesel-electric submarines, built at the German shipyard in Kien (contract from 2005 worth 8 billion dollars). At the same time, the first three of them are “Dolphin” (leading). “Leviathan” and “Tekuma” – made on the basis of German boats of Project 209 and belong to the type “Dolphin”. The next two – “Tanin” and “Rakhav” (type “Improved Dolphin”) – are built on the basis of Project 212 with significant changes in accordance with the requirements of the Israeli customer. Receiving the sixth (supposed name “Dakar”), the last boat under the contract, is planned for early 2020, and the commissioning of the Israeli Navy is scheduled for 2021. The propulsion system of the upgraded diesel-electric submarine, in addition to three diesel generators and a propulsion electric motor, is equipped with two electrochemical generators with a capacity of 120 kW each. This contributes to the improvement of stealth indicators (due to the reduction in the number of forced ascents) and, accordingly, the autonomy of navigation.
The Israeli company Elbit Systems together with the German company Dil Defence is implementing a project to equip military transport aircraft of the Bundeswehr with protection systems against surface-to-air missiles equipped with an infrared homing head. It is assumed that the first 12 “Jay Music” complexes worth $73 million will be installed on four A.400M aircraft (three complexes per aircraft).
Difficulties in the implementation of the programme for the creation of an unmanned aerial vehicle (UAV) “Eurohawk” for the Air Forces of European states, as well as the need to organise intelligence support for the national peacekeeping contingent in Afghanistan, forced the German government in 2010 to lease four Israeli reconnaissance “Heron” UAVs. In February of the same year, the first unit began to perform tasks in the interests of the contingent of the German Armed Forces as part of the International Security Forces in the IRA (Islamic Republic of Afghanistan), and by September of the same year, the Bundeswehr soldiers operated three drones and two ground control stations.
Based on the positive experience of using these aircraft in Afghanistan, the German Armed Forces command decided to deploy the Heron-1 UAV in Mali. In July 2015, the Federal Agency for Armament, Information Technology and Operations of Germany signed a contract for the lease of one such kit for use in the framework of a Multi-Disciplinary Integrated UN Stabilisation Mission in the country. Later, their number in the country was increased to three units.
In February 2019, the contract for the lease of five combat and two training aircraft was extended for another year, the amount of the transaction, which also includes the professional training of 35 crews, amounted to about $990 million. At the same time, the Israeli air base Tel Nof began training German military personnel as UAV operators to complement the Red Baron unmanned aircraft unit formed in the German Air Force. For practical training, five leased Heron-TP reconnaissance and attack vehicles from the 210th Aviation Squadron of the Israeli Air Force UAV are used.
Within the framework of cooperation between the two countries in the field of production and modernisation of anti-tank weapons, a joint Israeli-German enterprise “Eurospike” (Dusseldorf) was established. Seventy percent of the orders of which fall on the Armed Forces of Germany, the rest of the products are supplied to the armed forces of Latvia, Bulgaria and Italy. Currently, the land forces of the Bundeswehr have about 400 “Spike” ATGM launchers of various modifications and more than 3,500 missiles for them. In addition, in 2019, Israel and Germany signed a new contract worth about $200 million for the licensed production of 250 launchers and 1500 ATGM for them in Germany.
Thus, Israel and Germany are actively developing bilateral military-technical cooperation, within the framework of which there is an exchange of modern technologies for the production of air defence systems, as well as experiences in the combat use of weapons and military equipment. In general, the high reliability, manufacturability and optimal cost of Israeli-made military equipment samples, as well as the possibility of creating joint ventures, will contribute to the expansion of demand for Israeli MIC products on the international market.
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