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IDF's Merkava tank Photo: AFP
IDF's Merkava tank Photo: AFP
 
 

IDF stronger than ever

Op-ed: New developments grant Israel unprecedented military advantage over enemies

Guy Bechor
Published: 11.25.10, 11:29 / Israel Opinion

Alexander the Great, the man who conquered the ancient world, said that those who develop new combat methods or who possess new arms will be triumphant. Indeed, at this time Israel is creating strategic military advantage that is unprecedented in the history of the Arab-Israeli conflict.

 

A series of innovations at sea, in the air and on the ground that the enemy does not possess – and will not possess – is completely changing the balance of power in the Middle East. With these innovations, the IDF is turning into an unquestionably powerful and deterring army.

 

This year and next year, we’ll be receiving two more German-made Dolphin submarines, which together with the Israeli technological developments installed in them are no doubt among the world’s most advanced subs. This will bring the number of advanced submarines possessed by the Navy to five; according to foreign reports, these subs can fire ballistic (and potentially nuclear) missiles.

 

According to foreign reports, this is the most effective nuclear deterrent power we have vis-à-vis Iran.

 

Only five other states possess ballistic submarines with nuclear potential: The United States, Russia, China, France, and Britain. Upon the arrival of the two new subs in Israel, we’ll be the world’s third-strongest power on this front, ahead of China, France, and Britain.

 

The submarines are mobile and elusive, they cannot be eliminated easily, and they can get very close to their target. For those reasons, France decided to completely annul its ground-based nuclear missile arsenal and make do with nuclear power in the air and at sea. The territorial element, which was always problematic in Israel, is resolved through the subs.

 

Germany took part in funding all the Dolphin submarines thus far: It bore all the production costs of the first and second subs, half of the third’s, and one-third of the fourth and fifth ones, according to German media reports.

 

Israel’s tank revolution

Meanwhile, President Obama promised Israel another 20 stealth F-35 aircraft in connection with the freeze. In any case, Israel will receive the first 20 such planes, paid for with US military aid funds. The advantage of these aircraft, which cost $2.7 billion, is that they cannot be detected by enemy radar and can land and take off vertically. The planes will only arrive in four years, yet at that time the Air Force would be able to fly through the Middle East undetected.

 

According to reports this month, the IDF is also starting to receive the new anti-missile defense system for its advanced tanks. For the time being, the advanced Merkava 4 tanks had been reinforced with the system, and the intention is to gradually equip all IDF tanks with it. This innovative system, which is made by Israel’s armament authority Rafael and was developed in Israel, is the only one of its kind in the world. Its quality is attested to by the fact that the US wants to purchase it for its troops in Afghanistan.

 

So why is it a strategic revolution and not just another weapons system? Because it may eliminate the superiority of states like Syria and groups like Hezbollah in respect to anti-tank missiles. Hezbollah premised its entire combat doctrine following the Second Lebanon War on thousands of anti-tank missiles. It did not bother acquiring any tanks because of this missile tactic. Yet should these missiles be neutralized, Hezbollah shall remain vulnerable in the face of the advancing Israeli armored corps. The same is true for Syria and its outdated tanks.

 

And so, the strategic balance in the region is completely changing, and the enemy clearly understands the implications of a new regional war.

 

 

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