While Iran slams Israel for “trumpeting lies to poison” the talks, Israel goes on a military buying spree and revs up IDF training drills.
Israel has begun a massive buying spree of military goods and radically increased training drills in the likelihood that the nuclear talks in Vienna will fail and it will have to go it alone against an Iran that keeps accelerating its race to a bomb.
Backed up by a proper budget for the first time in years, the Defense Ministry requested, and on Tuesday received the go-ahead, to buy a squadron’s worth of the USA’s Sikorsky CH-53K King Stallion helicopters. These heavy lift aircraft are significantly faster, have a longer range, and can carry three times the amount of cargo and troops than Israel’s 50-year-old Yasurs, which are the current backbone of its helicopter transport fleet.
That deal alone is worth $2.4 billion.
Ynet reported Thursday on a “top secret” memorandum that the ministerial committee on defensive procurement also approved, to start negotiating with Washington for the purchase of a large number of smart bombs and other classified weapons for the air force, as well as supplies for the Iron Dome system, in a deal worth over $1.6 billion.
This is in addition to the $1 billion in American funding for replenishing the missile interceptors for the protective batteries that the House of Representatives has approved and is now awaiting the Senate’s confirmation.
The IDF has also drastically increased its training program for both regular and reserve soldiers, in both the offensive and defensive spheres. The air force is constantly practicing, and it has intensified its intelligence collection efforts, said the report. The military has also held several international cooperation drills on land, sea and air with regional allies as well as the United States.
In addition, the top brass knows, for example, that an airstrike on Iranian nuclear facilities may force Hezbollah, Iran’s terror proxy in Lebanon, to launch thousands of rockets into Israel in retaliation, and perhaps even try to cross the border to attack.
Over the last several months alone, the IDF has held two General Staff exercises, a “national home front” drill, a cyber exercise, four divisional exercises, and nine brigade exercises to hone the troops’ abilities in defending the borders. The army is also planning more drills for the coming year. All of this training, of course, costs a lot of money as well.