WASHINGTON — Israel, blocked by the United States, has developed an indigenous upgrade of the AH-64 Apache attack helicopter.
A leading industry newsletter said Israel’s military oversaw the modernization of the Apache, produced by the U.S. firm Boeing.
Defense Industry Daily asserted that Israel installed electronic warfare, advanced avionics and self-protection systems on the Apache fleet of the Israel Air Force.
“On the other hand, the type’s consistent usefulness has led Israel to make extensive improvements of their own, to the point where Israel has effectively created their own improved AH-64A configuration,” DID said.
An Arab branch of the international hackers’ movement Anonymous is threatening to mount a large scale cyberattack on Israeli government websites on April 7. A similar attack took place last year on April 7. Israeli government web sites came under heavy attack on that day, but the hackers failed to bring down any Israeli sites, the Foreign Ministry said on April 7, 2013. A Ministry spokesperson said that users had been unable to access its site for several seconds Sunday afternoon. The situation was corrected, and all Israeli government sites were running as usual. According to the Ministry, Israeli experts had successfully fought back the attacks, with the cooperation of internet service providers. The hackers’ group claimed at the time that 9,000 Israeli Facebook accounts were hacked, and that personal details of students from Haifa University were compromised, as were hundreds of passwords to Israeli email accounts. However, terrorism commentator Yoni Alpher said that the damage to government and security-related websites had been minor: sites were slowed down or hacked for short periods of time, he explained, and the data that was compromised had not been significant.
One of the primary targets of the attack was Larger than Life, an NGO for children with cancer. “The website of Larger than Life has been under attack from pro-Palestinian hackers for a week,” Larger than Life wrote on its Facebook page several days after the attack began, “and every day they take down our site and plant different content – flags, a skull, symbols and all sorts of hate-related things.” “It is too bad that this is happening, of all places, to a website for an organization whose purpose is one of love, and assistance to every cancer stricken child under treatment in Israel, without differentiating on the basis of religion, race or nationality.”
The sources said the Air Force was equipping the Apaches with two new electronic warfare systems developed in the Jewish state.
“They are based on the huge operational experience of the force in using the Apache Longbow in a variety of combat scenarios,” an officer, identified only as Maj. Yonatan, said.
The upgrade has been developed amid the U.S. refusal to modernize Israel’s Apache fleet, employed in attacks on the Hamas-ruled Gaza Strip.
The sources said the administration of President Barack Obama blocked Israeli efforts to modernize the Apaches or purchase new helicopters from Boeing.
The new Israeli systems were cited by the official magazine of the Air Force. The sources said the sensors underwent trials in early 2014 and would be integrated on the Apaches later this year.
The sources said the Air Force would enhance the AH-64A helicopter to D configuration. They cited such capabilities as avionics, EW and advanced munitions, including the AGM-114 Hellfire, produced by the U.S. firm Lockheed Martin.
Israel is finally ready to combat shoulder-launched missiles and they’re going to do it with lasers.
Israel’s Ministry of Defense announced Wednesday that SkyShield, developed by Israeli defense contractor Elbit Systems, had successfully completed testing and is certified for commercial use to combat the threat of man-portable surface-to-air missile systems (MANPADS) by combining advanced laser detection and disruption technologies.
C-MUSIC, the commercial version of SkyShield, integrates laser technology with a thermal camera to deflect incoming threats by jamming. After detecting incoming missiles with an infrared sensor, it fires a laser that disrupts the missile’s navigation system, taking it off course and detonating the missile a safe distance from the aircraft.
Image: Elbit Systems
“SkyShield has been validated under the most complex and sophisticated testing conditions ever conducted in Israel and is now ready to protect Israeli airlines,” said Israel Air Force Brig. Gen. Eitan Eshel, director of research and development at Israel’s Defense Ministry.
The technological advancement is a direct response to the 2002 attempt by terrorists in Mombasa, Kenya in which two surface-to-air missiles werefired at an Israeli charter plane shortly after takeoff. The missiles missed their target and its more than 250 passengers, but the event prompted then-Prime Minister Ariel Sharon to call for an urgent defense response.