Israel's Military Is a Powerhouse for 1 Big Reason: It Makes U.S. Weapons Better
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Key point: Israel takes its security seriously. For this purpose, it buys modified American equipment or changes it itself.
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The Israeli Defense Forces provide a wide range of American military equipment due to the substantial amount of American military aid to Israel. However, American equipment has not always been best suited to the harsh desert and urban conditions of the IDF. As a result, American equipment in the Israeli service is often extensively modified to meet the unique mission of the IDF. Here are some unique derivatives of American devices that the IDF sets up.
1. MAPATS anti-tank missile
The IDF has a long relationship with the anti-tank guided missile. In the long desert approaches that surround Israel, anti-tank missiles can direct the battle flow and are very effective weapons. While the first ATGMs deployed by Israel were the French SS.10 and SS.11, it was replaced by the American TOW (Orev in the IDF service) rocket in the late 1970s. However, due to its wire-guided nature, the TOW has range limitations and cannot be used under all circumstances. Water, trees and power lines can interfere with the management of the TOW or endanger the operator of the TOW. As a result, the Israelis developed a version of the TOW that used laser guidance to avoid these problems. A new engine and improved warhead gave the original TOW superior penetration and speed. The MAPATS have had export successes, although they are being replaced by other, more recent Israeli ATGMs with a fully native design.
2. Israeli M16 and CAR-15 variants
While nominally most of the IDF has switched to the Tavor, variants of the M16 continue to serve in the IDF. In the late 1980s and 1990s, however, these rifles were the front rifles of the IDF and replaced the heavier FN FAL and the Israeli Galil (although Galil carbines remained in use in the Panzer Corps due to their shorter length with folded supplies). In the Aughts, Israel set about modernizing these rifles. Due to the largely urban nature of the battle in which the IDF infantry was involved, the long 20-inch and 14.5-inch barrels of the M16 and Colt 653 were considered too long. The barrels were sawn to a length of about 12.5 inches and the resulting carabiners were called "Mekut'zrar". The furniture on these was varied, but always had an eye for the practical. Textile tapes could be wrapped around the plastic hand guards to make them stiffer and prevent creaking. Red dots were placed directly on the handles and the supplies were often replaced by modern M4 supplies with six positions. The result was relatively modern, light carabiners at affordable prices. Mekut'zrar carabiners are still in use today, although they have been replaced by new stocks of M4 and the Tavor series.
3. Machbet self-propelled anti-aircraft gun
While the M163 VADS was always seen as a “makeshift solution” for the short-range air defense solution for the US military, the VADS underwent significant Israeli service in the 1982 Lebanon War. Not only did they kill on a Syrian MiG-21, they also provided valuable ground support and suppressed the infantry in urban and mountainous areas with their 20-millimeter rapid-fire cannons. While they were retired from American service in the 1990s and replaced by the better armored but slower firing M6 Bradley linebacker, Israel decided to upgrade their VADS to the new "Machbet" standard instead and optoelectronic tracking system to install a better radar. A quad stinger pod and an ADA network data link to VADS to make it effective against a wider variety of goals and to respond more quickly.
4. The F15 Baz Meshopar
Israel was one of the first customers for the American F-15 fighter. It was admirably the backbone of the Israeli Air Force (IAF) in the late 1970s. In addition to its outstanding air-to-air role during the 1982 Lebanon War, the F-15 was also used in Operation Opera and Operation Wooden Leg, both long-range strike missions. These were carried out with the addition of some local control and sensor pods. While Israel later acquired variants of the F-15E Strike Eagle ground attack under the name F15I Ra'am, they also updated their first and second generation F-15s to a new standard with local electronics and parts under the name F. -15 Baz Meshopar or Baz 2000. The upgrade included new radar with AIM-120 and Israeli Python missile compatibility, revised cockpits with a new gas and joystick and glass cockpit, and improved electronic warfare capability. This upgrade program ran from 1995 to 2001, and these updated F-15s are expected to continue to be used in the future.
Charlie Gao studied politics and computer science at Grinnell College and frequently commented on defense and national security issues.
This appeared for the first time in 2018 and will be published again due to the interest of the readers.
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