The IDF and Ministry of Defense are getting ready for a major order of weapons systems from Rafael Advanced Defense Systems Ltd.. An informed defense source said that the order would amount to at least several hundred million shekels. The source told "Globes" that the emerging procurement plan has picked up speed in recent months, with important figures in the IDF air force and land forces involved in planning the array of products to be ordered from Rafael by the Ministry of Defense Procurement and Production Directorate (PPD). The source did not specify which systems will be ordered in the upcoming deal, but noted that the items in it would be used by IDF branches in the coming years, and that procurement would be on a multi-year basis.
Defense sources believe that the products to be ordered from Rafael include large quantities of Gil anti-tank missiles, which IDF ground forces in various conflict theaters regard as very useful. Other than Gil missiles, which are developed and manufactured by Rafael, Rafael is also responsible for the development and production of the Trophy active defense system for tanks and APCs and the Iron Dome and David's Sling anti-missile and anti-rocket defense systems. David's Sling was delivered to the air defense command several weeks ago, ahead of its being declared operational.
"The array of products includes a variegated mix of products corresponding to the IDF's operational needs," the source said. "The procurement plan to be approved soon by the Ministry of Defense contains weapons systems that will be used mainly by the air and land-based forces. One of the land forces' most severe problems is that the types of munitions they use are very expensive, which limits procurement. Implementing the procurement plan will enable the army to deal with this problem."
The collection of products to be ordered in the Rafael deal will include a new version of the Gil missile (marketed by Rafael overseas under the name "Spike"), according to a specification dictated by the IDF land forces. This specification, combined with testing and analysis of the operational needs of armies in Europe, led to an accelerated development of Gil missiles to be sold to the IDF for 40% less than the missiles sold hitherto.
In addition to lowering the price, the weight of each missile is slated to shrink by 15%, making it easier for infantry to carry them. An IDF source said that these changes would not affect the missiles capabilities or the ways of operating them. Six weeks ago, the Ministry of Defense signed a huge NIS 1.75 billion agreement to procure munitions from Israel Military Industries Ltd. (IMI) in 2019-2025. Annual procurement in the deal will be NIS 250 million
The Ministry of Defense and Rafael declined to comment on the report.
Published by Globes [online], Israel Business News - www.globes-online.com - on February 14, 2017
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