Empowered by modern technology, artillery is regaining its fabled punch after being diminished by the evolution of aerial attack and missiles.
The introduction of precision strike, driven by guided missiles, had threatened to eliminate artillery from the battlefield. However, advances in such areas as high-g-resistant electronics, durable guidance systems and miniature servos have endowed artillery with advanced capabilities.
Iranian President Hassan Rouhani cleverly opened a gap between the White House and Israeli Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu's government, with a recent diplomatic charm offensive that seems intended to ease economic sanctions against Iran that were imposed as punishment for its ongoing nuclear program.
The Israeli defense industry is being buffeted—some might say battered—by winds of change. In this case, it is a perfect storm of budget cutbacks by many countries, including Israel, that are shrinking defense expenditures concurrently with the winding down of wars in Iraq and Afghanistan.
Rafael Advanced Defense Systems of Israel has unveiled an addition to its Spice series of aerial bomb-guidance systems. This time, however, the Spice 250 (Spice means smart, precise impact, cost-effective) is a unitary weapon that offers significantly enhanced standoff precision-strike capabilities. Weighing just 127 kg (248 lb.), the bomb is capable of penetrating hardened bunkers. Importantly, it allows attackers to engage targets while out of range of enemy missile defenses.
Operational tactics that have been developed in the past decade among Western forces often owe their origins to asymmetric warfare. One such tactic—wide-area aerial persistent surveillance (Waaps)—evolved from U.S. Air Force missions in Afghanistan.
Waaps is now finding acceptance among Israeli strategists. It leads efforts by the Israel Defense Forces (IDF) to provide air and ground elements with the ability to remotely monitor wide areas and use resulting intelligence to assess situations and act against enemies in timely and decisive ways.
Israel Shipyards is expanding the Saar class of missile boats used by the country's navy and also sold to foreign customers. The company is making the ship a “mini-corvette,” with longer range—beyond 3,000 nm—and sophisticated defensive capabilities. The move addresses the need for Israel and other nations to project power well beyond their territorial waters.