The Weapon Wizards: How Israel Became a High-Tech Military Superpower
Though not confirmed by Israel but it has been documented that drone such as Heron has the ability to destroy targets as well. A drone assassinated Hamas military commander, Ahmed Jabari.
Not all drones are flown from air bases. This provides commanders with quick over-the-hill intelligence. This can fly at an altitude of feet and can fly up to three hours. Israel realized the importance of tank during six-day war. They were in touch with Britain for delivery of top-secret tank named Chieftains. After series of trials, Israel was ready to strike a deal.
However, citing political considerations, Britain backed away. The decision startled Israel. The irony is that Soviet Union continued to supply arms to Syria and Egypt. Israel did not want to be in similar precarious position again and realized that they must lessen their dependency on others.
After few years, they came up with an indigenous produced tank known as Merkeva Mark I. Three years after they were rolled out, the tank demonstrated their striking capabilities in the First Lebanon war. Israel planted some amazing features in these tanks, hitherto unseen in other tanks. The tank had automatic tracking system combined with video camera. This enabled the gunner to lock its target before launching the shell.
The latest tank Merkava 4 is considered a smart tank, with dozens of sensors, degree camera and task computer. This enables a crew to stay inside and the commander can see what is happening exactly outside, such as approaching threats. The tank crew also have satellite-guided weapons. One such innovative weapon is Kalanit. The tank crew is equipped with the ability to choose different modes for detonating this weapon. This can detonate on impact like for fortified structure or vehicle. They can be also programmed to stop mid-air over a terror squad, and can be exploded with multiple different charges, scattering thousands of deadly fragments.
Another groundbreaking work in this field is development of active protection system for tank. The system known as Trophy intercept and neutralize incoming threats such as anti-guided missiles.
It has been so successful that US Army had awarded a contract to shield it's Abrams tank. Israel was in complete panic and paralyzed when Iraq had been firing Scuds during the Gulf War. The experience was traumatic. However, the threat is not only from the nations, but also the non-state actors like terrorist groups. They are involved in countess suicide bombings.
Israel has been harassed and threatened by two notorious terrorist organizations namely Hamas and Hezbollah.
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There were times, when they were firing more than rockets per day into Israel. To add to the woes, the range of the rockets was increasing in every two years. To counter the obscure threats, Israel pushed for missile and rocket defense system as top agenda, in collaboration with a US company. A system called Iron Dome was built to intercept short-range rockets. It took only three years to design and manufacture Iron Dome.
Next in the production line was Arrow, which is a system for incepting ballistic missiles. It would intercept rockets that are too big for Iron Dome but not big enough for Arrows. Israel became the first country to deploy missile defense system even before the USA. However, other countries like USA, Japan and South Korea have also invested in missile defense system but none can boast off possessing multitier architecture with different systems.
During the Yom Kippur war, bellicose and invading armies of Egyptian and Syrian forces threatened Israel. The events had completely taken Israel by surprise. They then realized the importance of satellite photography, as a vital tool for providing warning about the movement of enemy troops. They sought USA's help for satellite information.
USA provided inconclusive information and that too not real time in nature. In other words, USA was unable to retrieve imagery and related information about the conflict while it was underway. Moreover, the policy followed for sharing information with Israel was inconsistent. Israel became skeptical about USA's motive. It could not rely on USA for the information that is so vital for its survival.
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The endless dependency on USA was not going down well with Israel. They then conceptualized, designed, developed and ultimately kick start their own satellite program. In , a satellite named Ofek-I was launched which culminated Israel into an exclusive club of nations with independent satellite launching capabilities. They realized the benefit in few years during the Gulf War. Iraq was firing Scud missiles into Israel. The satellite helped in locating missile launcher and thus warned civilian of the impending attack. In the later years, Israel started developing state-of-the-art satellites.
They became satellite superpower and specialized in manufacturing and putting in orbit mini satellites. The countries were either entering into strategic partnership with Israel or purchasing satellites. The impressive clients list include France, Italy, Singapore and India. In a nuclear reactor, there are big steel machines that are used to enrich uranium. If a nation wants a nuclear weapon, it has to enrich uranium.
These steel machines are called centrifuges. One after another, centrifuges started malfunctioning. Before Iran finally was able to figure out the reason, the series of events caused extensive damage to Iran's nuclear programme. A malicious computer worm called Stuxnet triggered the damage. The worm targeted the device that controlled the speed of the centrifuge motors.
It increased and decreased the speed in such a way that it lead to eventual breakdown of the machinery. This way Israel managed to attack Iran without firing a single bullet. Struxnet was not just a virus but it was a weapon in literal sense that dictated new rules of modern warfare.
The Weapon Wizards How Israel Became a High Tech Military
The nation however has given rise to a booming cybersecurity industry and they figure among top five nations. Currently, there are more than cybersecurity companies in Israel. Israel was always militarily superior compared to its enemy. However, during Yom Kippur war, it felt a sense of vulnerability.
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It then realized that apart from military superiority, it also requires a technological edge. Israel as a nation is a story that has surprised the world. How weak and ancient people returned to their homeland and despite odds survived and prospered. They are anathema to their neighboring countries which put them in a very imperil position.
However, they might be engaged with different countries and groups at different point of time but they knew that their fait accompli is going to remain unchanged. The book does not simply narrate about the technology that has bought Israel success on the battlefield but also about people and culture of innovation, that has made it possible.