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January 21, 2014 3:30 pm

Israel’s Precision Strike Capabilities Are Global Market Hit (VIDEO)

avatar by Joshua Levitt

An IAF fighter jet takes down an unmanned vehicle that penetrated deep into Israel airspace.

In targeting Islamic Jihad operative Ahmad Sa’ad, driving a motorcycle on Sunday in the northern Gaza Strip when he was struck by a precision missile from an Israeli Air Force jet flying overhead, the IDF demonstrated its precision strike capabilities that are now being sold on the global market.

Footage of the strike, taken inadvertently by a security camera, showed the terrorist, responsible for firing six rockets from Gaza towards Israel last week, being blown from his motorcycle, while neighboring cars were barely affected by the blast.

According to Defense News on Tuesday, “standoff artillery, laser-guided bombs, precision tank rounds and a host of other weapons initially developed for the Israeli military are proliferating on the global market as demand grows for operationally proven precision strike capabilities.”

“Israeli industry executives cite an expanding roster of international customers and strategic partners seeking accurate, lethal and low-cost tools for combating urban insurgents and so-called disappearing targets with minimal damage to uninvolved civilians,” the specialist newspaper reported.

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Israel Military Industries (IMI), the state-owned company slated for privatization this year, has precision rockets and tank rounds operational in 10 countries.

“The world is moving toward lighter, more maneuverable, precision forces, and IMI is vectoring our proven combat experience, our systems engineering expertise, and our portfolio of multidimensional systems to meet growing market demand,” Retired Maj. Gen. Udi Adam, chairman of the IMI board, told Defense News.

Defense News also cited Rafael’s Tammuz, a standoff missile used to target rocket-launching squads, and sources of renegade cross-border fire from Syria, and Elbit Systems’s Lizard laser-guided bombs, used in IAF strikes on Gaza weapons warehouses, as two of the Israeli-developed systems now being deployed by armies on nearly every continent.

Defense News said South Korea announced this month that it would equip new AgustaWestland AW159 Wildcat maritime attack helicopters with Rafael’s non-line-of-sight (NLOS) Spike missiles, the international brand name for the Israeli Tammuz. The South Koreans said the Israeli missiles launched from helicopters or Humvees would support targeting operations against rocket launchers, artillery tubes, and commando forces attempting to invade from North Korea.

Ron Kaplan, marketing manager for Rafael’s Tactical Precision Weapon Systems Directorate, said Rafael has over 20 customers for original, long-range and NLOS versions of Spike, including Chile, Finland, Germany, India, Italy, the Netherlands and Poland.

“We’re augmenting all the advantages of our electro-optical seeker with laser homing, which makes it easier to engage in some scenarios where targets may be outside the seeker’s field of view,” Kaplan told Defense News. “Gunners see exactly what the missile sees all the way to the final fraction of a second before impact.”

He told Defense News that Rafael recently completed an upgrade to its ground-launched, long-range Spike, called Spike LR, which extends striking distances from four to five kilometers. Rafael is under contract with two customers to integrate the Spike LR in helicopters, he said.

“Within a year, we’ll have a mature system of Spike LR to be fired on helicopters, in addition to infantry. It’s the same configuration and same weight as existing Spike LRs … and for many users, this extra one kilometer makes it a very attractive, low-cost option for attack helicopters operating at closer range,” Kaplan said.

Elbit, another major Israel defense technology company, sells precision strike air-, land- and sea-launched systems that are now operational in dozens of countries, including through joint ventures in India, South Korea and Brazil, where its Lizard laser-guided bombs and other precision targeting systems are operational on Brazilian AMX fighter jets and other platforms.

Elbit’s largest market outside of Israel is the U.S., where government contracts and strategic partnerships are managed by Elbit USA, its Fort Worth, Texas-based subsidiary. Together with Boeing, Elbit developed the seeker for the Laser joint direct attack munition (JDAM), which converts the GPS-guided weapon to full dual-mode capability. The two companies are in full-scale production to supply Laser JDAMs to the U.S. Air Force, Defense News said.

Watch the security camera footage of the IAF’s precision strike on a terrorist riding a motorcycle:

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