Friday, October 30, 2015

(En - 30 Oct 2015 - News) Israeli jets scrambled after helium balloon spotted in Golan Heights

Israeli Air Force jets scrambled to the Golan Heights Friday morning after what turned out to be a helium balloon was spotted flying from the direction of neighboring Syria.

Ground forces and jets were dispatched after spotters observed a suspicious object making its way into Israeli air space Friday morning.

The air force is on high alert after last week’s incident when an Israeli-Arab man paraglided into Syria, allegedly of his own initiative, to join a rebels group.

On Saturday night, large military forces were mobilized to the Golan Heights border after one of the military’s lookout positions along the border with Syria spotted a paraglider crossing from Israel and landing in Syrian territory in an area controlled by a rebel group affiliated with al-Qaeda.

The man, a 23-year-old from Jaljulia, crossed the border in order to join a terror group based in Syria, the Israel Defense Forces said.

According to the Hebrew-language news website Ynet, the man landed in the south of the Syrian Golan Heights near the Jordanian border. The area is controlled by jihadist group Shuada al Yarmouq, made up of al-Qaeda defectors.

The group has in the past pledged allegiance to Islamic State, and has been fighting the al-Nusra Front, a local affiliate of al-Qaeda that is today the dominant rebel group in the Golan.

(En - 30 Oct 2015 - News) Israel hosts its largest-ever international air force exercise

Air forces from around the world have gathered deep in the Arava desert in the south of Israel for the past week and a half to take part in the largest aerial exercise in the history of the Israeli Air Force.

The “Blue Flag” exercise, which is continuing through November 3, pits the Israeli Air Force, the United States Air Force, Greece’s Hellenic Air Force and the Polish Air Force against a fictional enemy state, the captain in charge of all IAF exercises told The Times of Israel Thursday night.

A number of other countries, including Germany, also sent pilots and officers to observe the exercise, but did not take part.

This joint drill is the second “Blue Flag” exercise; the first took place in 2013 and was the largest multi-lateral exercise the IAF had ever hosted.

The various air forces collaborated closely through every step of the current exercise, the IAF captain said, from planning to execution and finally to debriefing

Though the exercise began on October 18, planning for it started nearly eight months ago, the Israeli official said, with an IAF representative contacting each participating country and initially asking, “What do you want to train for?”

Those requests came together to form the plan for “Blue Flag,” which sent Israeli and American F-15 squadrons, along with Israeli, Hellenic and Polish F-16 squadrons, flying through nearly all of Israel’s air space, firing simulated weapons against fictional enemy missile launchers, convoys and aircraft, he said.
Though the drill was intensive and demanding, it was designed more to test the mettle of the men and women behind the controls than to test the technical capabilities of the fighter jets themselves.

“We wanted it to be challenging for the airmen, rather than for the machines,” said the IAF captain, who cannot be named for security reasons.

In order to “put the airmen through their paces,” he explained, the people running the exercise tried to surprise them, putting them in situations where “the pilot doesn’t know where their target is coming from.”

“Blue Flag” ends next Thursday.

Wednesday, October 28, 2015

(En - 28 Oct 2015 - News) Airport shocked to find unclaimed package with dead body inside

Customs workers at Ben-Gurion Airport were astounded to open an unclaimed package there on Tuesday and find a woman's corpse inside.

Foreign Minister spokesman Alon Lavi said that the package arrived Tuesday morning on an Aeroflot flight from Russia. There was no accompanying paperwork with the body identifying the deceased, or the person who sent the “package,”  or any of the necessary permits needed for burial.

Lavi said that after hours of efforts with the assistance of Zaka, including the head of that organization in Russia, Shaya Deutsch, the identity of the corpse was discovered: a woman who died 11 days ago. The Foreign Ministry is now arranging the necessary paperwork to enable burial.

Moti Bukjin, the Zaka spokesman in Israel, told Mako that the family of the deceased “innocently decided to send her for burial in Israel. Since they did not know the procedure, they thought they would just send her like they would a package.

Tuesday, October 27, 2015

(En - 27 Oct 2015 - News) IAF strikes Gaza after rocket hits southern Israel

Israeli Air Force warplanes struck targets in the Gaza Strip on Monday night, the army said, in response to rocket fire on the south hours earlier. The two sites hit in the strikes belong to the Islamist Hamas organization, which controls the Strip.

IDF spokesman Lt. Col. Peter Lerner held Hamas responsible for the rocket fire, and warned that there would be “consequences” if it failed to rein in those carrying out the attacks on Israel.
“The intolerable reality of civilians continually living under the threat of Gaza rockets is unacceptable, unbearable and must stop. Hamas must enforce their responsibilities or face the consequences. We will act against those that attack us and hold those that enable attacks against Israel accountable,” Lerner said.
According to the IDF, the strike on Israel earlier Monday evening was the 18th rocket launched from Gaza to hit Israeli territory since January 2015.
The rocket fired from the Gaza Strip hit southern Israel, as air-raid sirens sounded across the communities adjacent to the Hamas-ruled Palestinian territory.
The IDF said the rocket, which landed in an open area in the Sha’ar Hanegev Regional Council, caused no injuries or damage.
Local residents reported hearing an explosion outside one of the Israeli communities adjacent to the border fence.

Friday, October 23, 2015

(En - 23 Oct 2015 - News) IAI Extends Panther’s Endurance, Positioning the VTUAV to Address South Korean Surveillance Needs

Israel Aerospace Industries (IAI) is unveiling a new variant of its Panther Vertical Take Off and Landing (VTOL) UAV, equipped with a hybrid propulsion system integrating electric and internal combustion engines. The drone, displayed by the Korean Hankuk Carbon company, is designated ‘Front Engine Panther’ (FE-Panther) and is the latest development of IAI’s Panther family.

“Cooperation with Hankuk Carbon is a real opportunity to develop new capabilities and to pursue new business opportunities,” Ofer Haruvi, CTO of IAI’s Military Aircraft Group said. “This cooperation will be beneficial to the Republic of South Korea’s military and civilian authorities.”

IAI and Hankuk Carbon are marketing the FE-Panther to South Korean governmental entities under a Memorandum of Understanding (MoU) signed between the two companies, pursuing the feasibility study of the concept of a VTOL UAS for South Korean requirements.

According to Moon-Soo Cho, CEO of Hankuk Carbon, the new drone will be tailor-made to meet local requirements, which demand independence from runways in Korea’s mountainous region.

The new variant weighs 67 kg. – only two kilograms more than the existing three-motor Panther. Hankuk Carbon provides the fuselage assembly, made of lightweight composite materials, and some sub-systems.

The hybrid propulsion system enables users to employ two different power sources – the tilting electrical motors are optimal for vertical takeoff/landing and hovering, while the internal-combustion engine is employed for cruising.

The new propulsion system extends the mission endurance of the Panther by 33%, maintaining the same payload capacity (6 kg.) as the all-electric version.

“To develop and manufacture this VTOL UAV for Korean civil and military uses, and to meet the different needs of potential customers, both companies are also working on the joint development of another hybrid propulsion system,” Moon-Soo Cho added. “This strategic partnership will become a major manifestation of the Korean government’s policy of creative economy.”

(En - 23 Oct 2015 - News) Israel reportedly breached Iranian air defenses while preparing potential strike

Israel successfully probed Iran's air defenses in 2012 as it took advanced preparatory steps toward a strike against its nuclear facilities, according to a report published by The Wall Street Journal on Thursday night.

American officials discovered Israel's late-stage planning by spying on its national security council, on its air force and on Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu, the article contends. Israel reportedly put its pilots on alert on moonless nights, and considered a raid that would have involved its commandos sabotaging Iran's nuclear facilities from within.

Mistrust over the nuclear issue first took root when, in 2011, the Obama administration began secret preliminary negotiations with the Iranians in the Omani capital of Muscat.

While the White House failed to inform the Israelis for months, Jerusalem knew of the talks from the get-go: Israeli intelligence had successfully identified and tracked the tail numbers of unmarked American planes carrying US officials to the secret negotiations, according to the report.

Allegations that Israel spied on the talks first appeared in the spring, after a cyber security firm publicly identified a pattern of breaches in its firmware at a select group of luxury European hotels. All of them had hosted the nuclear talks.

The talks ultimately resulted in the Joint Comprehensive Plan of Action, a deal that is intended to cap, restrict, monitor and partially roll back Iran's nuclear program for a finite period. Israel opposes and says it is not bound by the agreement.

Monday, October 19, 2015

(En - 19 Oct 2015 - News) Russia blocks Israeli jets over Lebanon

Russian forces warned Israel over IAF flights in Russian controlled airspace near the Syrian–Lebanese border area after Israeli jets were detected nearby, according to a report Friday in the Lebanese media outlet As Safir.

The report comes a mere day after Russia announced that it had established a "hotline" with Israel in order to coordinate aerial activity over Lebanon and Syria.

As Safir quoted Lebanese diplomatic officials who were "in the know," as saying that the warning was issued after Russian radar identified Israeli aircraft approaching Russian-controlled airspace two weeks ago.

"Russian A/C immediately blocked the Israeli jets' path while they flew above the Akkar region in northern Lebanon. The Russians immediately sent a clear warning to the Israelis that entering Syrian airspace would be a pretext for opening fire," the source said.

According to the paper, which is considered loyal to Hezbollah, the Israeli aircraft quickly heeded the warnings and changed their course. The incident occurred mere days after talks were held between Israeli and Russian officials regarding the shared airspace. The report claimed that the Russian message instructed the Israelis to stay away from Syrian airspace.

Lebanese officials quoted in the report said that Israeli aircraft typically fly over northern Lebanon on a daily basis, "and tended to fly on a path above the Akkar region, later conducting reconnaissance in a circular pattern above the Lebanese territorial waters, eventually reaching the Syrian territorial waters."

The report quoted an official as saying that, "Their goal was to observe the movement of ships in the port of Tartus, as well as tracking the air traffic coming in an out of Latika airport – out of concern over possible weapons transfers to Hezbollah."

The same official claimed that the Lebanese army had noticed a decline in Israeli over flights since the warning was issued on the first of October, but clarified that flights in the area remained ongoing.

Friday, October 16, 2015

(Fr - 16 Oct 2015 - Actu) Roll Out d'un premier C-130 modernisé

L'industriel israélien Elbit a annoncé la sortie d'usine du premier avion de transport modernisé C-130 Hercules (Dénomé « Karnaf » en Israël) destiné à l'armée de l'Air israélienne.

La modernisation a compris l'intégration d'un nouveau radar et d'une avionique « tout écran ». Des systèmes qui devraient améliorer les capacités de vol à faible altitude et de nuit de l'appareil. La voilure du C-130 a aussi été remplacée.

Ce programme de modernisation, réalisé en collaboration avec Israel Aerospace Industries, devrait permettre aux C-130 israéliens de voler jusqu'en 2040. Israël opère une douzaine de C-130E/H. L'Etat hébreu a également commandé des C-130J.

Sur son site, Elbit Sytems présente sa solution pour la modernisation des C-130. Celle-ci comprend un pilote automatique numérique, huit écrans multifonctions en couleur, un système de navigation GPS/Inertiel, une vision tête haute, un système de cartographie numérique et une « sacoche de vol électronique » (EFB).

Le groupe israélien propose également, en option, l'intégration d'un système de mission comprenant un système d'autoprotection, des moyens de communication par satellite, d'une système de suivi de terrain, un système permettant le largage à basse altitude, un système d'observation multi spectral ou encore une liaison de données.

Il n'est pas précisé lesquels de ces systèmes ont effectivement été intégrés à bord des C-130 israéliens.