Israeli Air Force

Big_Zucchini

Well-Known Member
A recent air defense drill tested all current tiers of Israel's air defenses, against a very wide variety of threats.


The air defense array consists of 4 layers, from C-RAM up to ICBM-killers.

Iron Dome - SHORAD/MRAD, C-RAM, anti-LRR.
Tested against mortars (most if not all missile based C-RAM can't really defeat mortars), UAVs, and even heavy rockets with 250km range.

David's Sling - MRAD/LRAD, BMD, anti-CM.
Lower spectrum tests unknown. Defeated 700km range ballistic missiles. Said to defeat advanced SRBMs like Iskander, and potentially MRBMs.

Arrow 2 - BMD for SRBMs up to LRBMs.

Arrow 3 - BMD for ICBMs.

So except for the Arrow 3 which uses a special warhead design suitable only for exo-atmospheric flight, all layers appear to have a good amount of overlap.
In addition, the IDF operates Patriot missiles in roughly the same layer as the David's Sling, to provide commonality with potentially assisting US forces, ability to resupply from allies.

The big news is that the test included cruise missiles, which is important for 2 reasons:
1)The Iron Dome was bought by the US specifically to protect against cruise missiles. It would not save money as the US will conduct its own tests, but it will raise American confidence in the system.

2)Iranian proxies have gained an even greater degree of access to cruise missiles, particularly those who have some unexplained beef with Israel like the Houthis (I mean, just look at their flag).
Previously, only Hezbollah had cruise missiles (Yakhont), and even then it was assumed most or all were destroyed in an Israeli naval operation.
Iranian cruise missiles also have the potential to reach Israel.
If they continue extending their range like they always do, soon enough it will become a practical capability.

As said, the IDF currently has 4 layers, but plans to maintain at least 5 layers which will include an added laser system as VSHORAD, and create a variant of the Iron Dome for maneuvering forces.

On top of that, the Israeli Navy can potentially deploy ships to Israel's north to protect against high end threats with its long range Barak 8 missiles.
 

OPSSG

Super Moderator
Staff member
KC-46 and CH-53K to enter IAF Service in future — Part 1

1. The Israeli Air Force (IAF) has 39 pilots have been credited with ace status (having shot down at least 5 enemy aircraft), just got more capable with 2 new platform purchases — the tanker and heavy lift aircraft purchases in Feb 2021 give the IAF more heavy lift and the ability to strike at range as far as Iran.

(a) Of these 39 fighter aces, 10 have shot down at least 8 enemy jets. Beyond fighter pilots, in any future air war with Iran, these new capabilities would play an important role to assist the IAF to strike at range, in Syria, in Lebanon, or even Iran itself.​
(b) By 2024, the IAF will operate 50 F-35As (out of the Nevatim Air Force Base in southern Israel). The IAF is hoping to acquire a third squadron of F-35s—which would bring the fleet up to 75—though Israeli budgetary and political uncertainty are holding up this critical decision.​

2. As David Kilcullen wrote:
“Modern war is fought in a crowded, cluttered, electronically connected, mostly urban and coastal environment, against a complex mix of adaptive state and non-state adversaries who copy each other’s techniques, and are often seeking to overwhelm us through a large number of small simultaneous challenges, rather than a single big threat. They tend to prefer decisive shaping (winning the conflict before the first shot is fired) and creative ambiguity (rather than fully covert or clandestine operations) as a way to avoid our conventional strength.”​

3. As such, in my opinion, the F-35 has become central to these IAF modernisation efforts to deter Iran from overtly (as opposed to covertly) supporting Hezbollah, which began when the first two jets landed in Israel in 2016.
(a) The IDF has several potential fronts—mostly Hezbollah in Lebanon, Hamas in the Gaza Strip, and Syria and Iran in the Golan Heights. If Lebanon is its only front, then the IDF will dispatch its best units there. Even if Israel faces more than one front, the fight in Lebanon will be its top priority. However, it does not make sense to overcrowd south Lebanon, with its narrow and often winding routes. IDF vehicles might be stuck in traffic jams.​
(b) The IDF would need to concentrate on Hezbollah’s centers of gravity, and there might be more than one. The Israeli offensive might be launched on a wide front to quickly reach many objectives and to save time, while putting maximum pressure on Hezbollah. In addition, due to the rugged terrain in south Lebanon, the IDF would strive to exploit any accessible road.​
(c) On 3 Jan 2020, a US MQ-9 Reaper fired a hellfire missile killed Qassem Soleimani, the head of Iran’s Revolutionary Guards’ Quds Force in Iraq. Suleimani’s death does not result in a substantial reduction of Iranian influence in Iraq, but it will certainly change the quality and modes of how this influence is exerted. Israel welcomed the attack. Soleimani was one of Israel’s most dangerous foes, who among others helped Hezbollah to receive weapons. Despite this setback, Hezbollah was careful not to provoke Israel, for a few months after the assassination. However, Hezbollah might be involved later on in an Iranian retribution against the US and/or Israel, in the Middle East or elsewhere.​
(d) Revelations that Israel provided the intelligence that helped the United States target the second most powerful political figure in Iran, Quds Force commander Qassem Suleimani, ups the pressure on Hamas and Islamic Jihad, both proxies of Iran, to retaliate by attacking Israeli targets.​

(e) Meanwhile, the urgent task of monitoring and, where necessary, striking Iranian attempts to inject advanced weapons into Syria continues. Recently there are reports of a series of Israeli airstrikes on IRGC and pro-Iranian militia targets. The strikes reportedly hit targets in eastern Syria’s Abu Kamal and Deir Ezzor regions, near the border with Iraq, in areas Iran has attempted repeatedly to take over and turn into a link in its ground corridor connecting Iran, Iraq, Syria, and Lebanon.​

4. On 23 Feb 2021, the IAF became the 2nd international KC-46 customer after Japan. The current order is for 2 KC-46, with plans for a eventual fleet of 6; to eventually give the IAF’s F-35As increased range and persistence over targets and enhance ISR efforts.

5. For background, I note that the IAF’s existing fleet of CH-53 Yasur helicopters carry out a number of missions, including long-range assault and deep-penetration insertion and extraction of special operations teams. But maybe their most important mission is that of combat search and rescue (CSAR).

(a) A clue to how CSAR is accomplished may have been just unveiled by the IAF in the form of a Jul 2018 photo of a CH-53 Yasur with what appears to be an electronic warfare array setup in its doorway.​
(b) The photo shows what appears to be a roll-on, roll-off electronic warfare system of some type situated behind the doorframe of the CH-53's starboard door. There seems to be a pair of horn antennas or cooling vents protruding from the panel, as well as some other flat panels or access ports.​
 
Last edited:

OPSSG

Super Moderator
Staff member
KC-46 and CH-53K to enter IAF Service in future — Part 2

6. Given that these Yasur helicopters (based on the CH-53D), are slow flying, they have some tricks up their sleeve to be able to survive in a CSAR or deep penetration mission in support of special operations, which is often in enemy territory. With this in mind, giving them an organic electronic warfare capability is logical. I suspect that this system can engage in jamming of enemy radar systems, like those on point-defense SAM systems. Israel has struck Iranian targets in Syria, and its aircraft have been targeted by thousands of Syrian SAM missiles, with one F-16 was hit by such a missile and downed in 2018.

7. On 26 Feb 2021, the IAF selects the CH-53K to meet its heavy lift and special missions requirements. The CH-53K heavy-lift helicopter is capable of conducting unrefueled missions while carrying 27,000 pounds over 110 nautical miles in high/hot conditions, which is triple the load-carrying capacity of the CH-53E.

8. It is expected that Israel will come under an onslaught of 2,000 rockets and missiles every day during a future war with Hezbollah in Lebanon, Home Front Command Maj.-Gen. Uri Gordin said when speaking at the B’Sheva Conference in Jerusalem. Given the scale of rocket and missile attacks in the next war, it is important for Israel’s special forces to land deep into enemy territory to not only destroy the rocket factories but also to destroy Hezbollah’s command structure. While Iran too might seek to avoid a full-scale war, a clash between Israel and Hezbollah might still lead to such a conflict.

9. The IAF has defense systems, such as the Iron Dome, that can intercept only a portion of Hezbollah’s 2,000 projectiles per day due to their vast numbers. Furthermore, defense systems cannot destroy the missiles and rockets on the ground before they are lunched. This is why the IAF has been training to launch thousands of sorties in a very short time, aiming at destroying Hezbollah targets, including rocket launchers.
(a) Since 2012, Israel has carried out hundreds of sorties in Syria, aiming to reduce as much as possible the delivery of weapons to Hezbollah in Lebanon. Israel avoided directly attacking Hezbollah in Lebanon, although some in Israel support a preemptive strike against the terrorist organization. There is a low probability that Israel will conduct a massive surprise offensive against Hezbollah due to its cost and the uncertainty of the outcome.​
(b) Israel’s F-35As could take part in the war to provide ISR in Lebanon and Syria, but this highly advanced aircraft is needed most against advanced air defence over Iran. The ability to inflict serious damage to Iran, helps deter Iran.​
(c) In a war over Lebanon, both sides will use unmanned aerial vehicles for gathering intelligence and attack, including the extensive use of Elbit’s Hermes 900 Kochav Hermes 900 UAV by IAF. The "Kochav" or Star has a capacity of a 350 kg and is designed to be able to carry a number of payloads on a number of hardpoints under its wings. Its endurance abilities allow it to perform very lengthy, long range missions during a single sortie.​
 
Last edited:

Big_Zucchini

Well-Known Member
  • Thread Starter Thread Starter
  • #4
I do wonder why, when the Iranian threat is so pressing and the capability to fly long distances whilst hidden is so crucial, the KC-46A buy is done in a near vacuum.
Of course, CH-53K aircraft might be refitted for aerial refueling, but are they really a good enough alternative to dedicated stealth aerial refueling aircraft like the MQ-25?
I'm sure the MQ-25 is expensive and the blanket is small, but the general plans which included the more exotic and expensive aircraft like the V-22, did not include any such capability, even if at the expense of some KC-46A.

But that's just something I'm curious. Reason I'm posting is because of this video:

On one hand I really hate how they show every launch like 5 times only from different angles.
On the other hand, that's still the coolest air defense video I've ever seen!
It shows an Iron Dome battery dealing with a multiple drone attack done simultaneously with a heavy rocket barrage.
This is in many ways a complex scenario and the operators need to have a good understanding of the system they're handling.
 

south

Active Member
I do wonder why, when the Iranian threat is so pressing and the capability to fly long distances whilst hidden is so crucial, the KC-46A buy is done in a near vacuum.
Of course, CH-53K aircraft might be refitted for aerial refueling, but are they really a good enough alternative to dedicated stealth aerial refueling aircraft like the MQ-25?
I'm sure the MQ-25 is expensive and the blanket is small, but the general plans which included the more exotic and expensive aircraft like the V-22, did not include any such capability, even if at the expense of some KC-46A.
MQ25 is probe and drogue. Israeli fighters are boom refuelled. They are not compatible.
 

Terran

Well-Known Member
I do wonder why, when the Iranian threat is so pressing and the capability to fly long distances whilst hidden is so crucial, the KC-46A buy is done in a near vacuum.
Of course, CH-53K aircraft might be refitted for aerial refueling, but are they really a good enough alternative to dedicated stealth aerial refueling aircraft like the MQ-25?
I'm sure the MQ-25 is expensive and the blanket is small, but the general plans which included the more exotic and expensive aircraft like the V-22, did not include any such capability, even if at the expense of some KC-46A.

But that's just something I'm curious. Reason I'm posting is because of this video:

On one hand I really hate how they show every launch like 5 times only from different angles.
On the other hand, that's still the coolest air defense video I've ever seen!
It shows an Iron Dome battery dealing with a multiple drone attack done simultaneously with a heavy rocket barrage.
This is in many ways a complex scenario and the operators need to have a good understanding of the system they're handling.
I am not sure refit is needed the USMC seems to be coming from the factory fitted for it same as V22.
MQ25 is stealthy not stealth. Its designed as a tanker but for fast naval jets not slow chubby chopper. It was also not designed for stealth its streamlined absolutely with a modern Radar cross section reduction but it’s likely no more stealth than a modern 4.5Gen fighter. The main goal was basically to build an engine and wings for a buddy stores pod. Additionally the CH53K isn’t Steath at all. Finally the exact cruise speed of the MQ25 is unknown but best guess is around 350knots for CH53K it’s about 170 knots.
This is why C130 is used for heli tanking and not something more impressive. Even KC46 is to fast.
Air to Air refueling with a chopper is always that comprise of slow enough to keep in the pocket fast enough not to fall from the sky.
V22 Osprey however is fast enough to tank off either.

MQ25 is probe and drogue. Israeli fighters are boom refuelled. They are not compatible.
correct. F35A which is the basis of F35I, F15I, F16I are all boom receivers. Save for the Alesia Aermacchi M346 trainers The only aircraft I know of in Israeli service that are probe and Drogue types would be rotary wing. With off the shelf kits for H60.
 

Big_Zucchini

Well-Known Member
  • Thread Starter Thread Starter
  • #8
IAF receives the Oron new generation AEW&C aircraft, which succeeds the Eitam and Shavit aircraft of the Nachshon squadron.
There are currently 2 Eitam (AEW&C) and 3 Shavit (SIGINT). The Oron will combine their capabilities into one aircraft.
There is currently one Oron in the IAF's inventory, and the IAF raised the need for an additional 2.

Cooperation with other countries to further develop it and help fund it domestically is already sought, potentially cooperating with Singapore. IAI is already cooperating with Singaporean industries to further fund and develop the Gabriel V missile.

The new aircraft, 'Oron', will introduce some new capabilities, and allow utilizing all the existing capabilities of the squadron in only one platform.
Much of the data processing will be automated via AI, and it will be particularly helpful against emerging enemies like Yemen, Iraq, and some new threats in Iran.

Sources:

I'm honestly excited about some in depth article by TheWarZone!
 

OPSSG

Super Moderator
Staff member
IAF receives the Oron new generation AEW&C aircraft, which succeeds the Eitam and Shavit aircraft of the Nachshon squadron.

There are currently 2 Eitam (AEW&C) and 3 Shavit (SIGINT). The Oron will combine their capabilities into one aircraft.

There is currently one Oron in the IAF's inventory, and the IAF raised the need for an additional 2.

Cooperation with other countries to further develop it and help fund it domestically is already sought, potentially cooperating with Singapore. IAI is already cooperating with Singaporean industries to further fund and develop the Gabriel V missile.
@Big_Zucchini, thanks for sharing. It took me a few days to come back with an informed response.

1. I am really excited by the capabilities to be introduced by the IAF with the Orion, as it provides an upgrade path for the 4 G550 Eitams operated by Singapore; and may explain why the RSAF has elected to retain the Fokker 50 MPAs (instead of buying the P-8A), whose maritime surveillance and land based ISR capabilities may be augmented by these improved G550s.

The new aircraft, 'Oron', will introduce some new capabilities, and allow utilizing all the existing capabilities of the squadron in only one platform.

Much of the data processing will be automated via AI, and it will be particularly helpful against emerging enemies like Yemen, Iraq, and some new threats in Iran.
2. It is likely the Orion G550 will enable further development of the Gabriel V missile or the proposed British IAI/Thales Sea Serpent (for dynamic re-tasking of moving ground or sea targets above 200km in range). There is no point in just having the ability to throw a multi-million dollar spear very far, if you can’t see the target from a long distance.

3. Singapore’s obsession with shorter and shorter sensor-shooter cycles, with warheads of different sizes, at range is quite well known. At more than a million dollars for each spear thrown, the SAF, through its 6 Formidable Class Frigates and 5 MPAs better have the CONOPS and tactical ability to fire anti-ship missiles that can do a go-around or re-target enemy land and sea command nodes dynamically (at stand-off distances via these improved CAEW cum MPAs) and via air-borne AESA radars on the F-15SGs and the Block 4 F-35Bs, to be acquired in 2026. Lockheed Martin describes the F-35’s Block 4 upgrade as a “Continuous Capability Development and Delivery” and will provide more computing power, processing power, and memory than the current F-35A and F-35B computers.

(a) Block 4 software upgrades also improves the flexibility of all F-35s with more missiles, longer ranges, and thus allow the F-35 to operate AI-flown wingmen through the USAF’s Skyborg program. The improved and increased processing power will benefit the F-35A and F-35B’s electronic warfare capabilities in jamming enemy radar and transmissions.​
(b) The increased computing power enhances the 1,000-individual transmitter/receiver units compromising the APG-81 AESA radar where the radar beams are electronically steered for a much higher transmission rate and power than a Fourth-Generation’s mechanically steered radar antennae.​
(c) According to Lockheed, the F-35A and F-35B’s APG-81 AESA radar, “Can see through weather and map the ground, detect moving objects on the surface, and even create a photo-like map of an area of interest that can even be shared with other aircraft or troops on the ground. …The radar is so powerful that it can even be used to jam other sensors that are trying to detect the F-35.”​
 
Last edited:

Big_Zucchini

Well-Known Member
  • Thread Starter Thread Starter
  • #10
A few articles popped up recently, in Hebrew, reminding of ongoing work to design and produce drop tanks for the F-35, enabling missions without refueling to distant targets like Iran.
Additionally, some secretive Rafael-made munitions were said to be somewhere in the pipeline to integrate to F-35, to unlock some new capabilities.

Exactly what kind of munitions these might be, is unknown and they emphasized they were secret. However, we have seen a while ago some photos of Stunner missiles tested as AAMs:


Additionally there is the Rampage air launched ballistic missile, although more details were given about it than the IDF usually releases for domestic used systems.
And of course there is perhaps some need to penetrate deep, underground targets, above the punching power of what the F-35A can carry right now, either for Iran, or for Hezbollah and Hamas tunnel projects.
 
Top