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Army Related Forum Topics about the Israeli armed forces, special forces, tanks, apc's, guns etc + world armies.

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  #1  
Old 05-27-2014, 03:26 PM
Mcteed Mcteed is offline
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Default Israeli Patton tanks retired?

YNet says that the last of Israel's Patton tanks have been retired. I assume they mean the last of the M-60 Magach tanks? Are there any M-48s still in use?

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Old 05-27-2014, 07:40 PM
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Even the Mark I Merkavot are being retired (maybe partly stripped of hi-tech and sold), so you can imagine all of those Magach or Rams have no place. Sharyyon, IDF Armour, is all-Merkavot.

This is part of a major shift by the IDF to smaller armed forces, but all state-of-the-art and hi-tech. Leaner, maximum flexibility, technically educated soldiery, etc. Part of this is a response to large budget cuts, but partly it is a new way of thinking, not to save and improve everything that can move, fire rounds, and damage the enemy in the event of another major multi-front war. Better to spend the money on the latest and best that we can afford.

I do believe that Armour has gone all-Merkavot for MBTs.
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Old 05-28-2014, 07:47 AM
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As David said, even Merkavas MK I's are on sale partially as scraps and partially as refurbished tanks to any interested parties. Patton was a wonderful tank for its time, but has no place in modern Armoured warfare.
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Old 05-28-2014, 01:24 PM
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Both the Yankee Pattons and the Brit Centurions, with a little Hebrew magic dust sprinkled over them, were among the most battle-tested MBTs ever. A faded, torn old photo of the rebbe Baba Sali taped up over the loader, and they were good to go to hell and back.

The great debate is, will there ever again be a coordinated multi-front land attack on Israel with massed armour, at least possible enough that we need all those heavy brigades up and running, or even ready-reserve? Massive attack--YES. But will it be an old fashioned clash of steel?

I'll be ready to say "no" when our stealthy subs show how they can breach and land themselves up on the Golan, and have a Road to Damascus experience. That big open plane just invites attack, even if Syria will never be able to start anything by themselves, or even contribute much to the fight if they do.

Yet Arab nations have left Israel alone for 40 years now, and are not even remotely in shape, or attempting to be in shape, for coordinated mass attack on Israel. Khamas and Hizbullah are pathetically weak in all areas save rhetoric, and no one ever got a sucking chest wound from the bombastic braggadocio of a tubby cleric who lives underground like a pale mole.

The British Army, once a mighty bastion of heavy armour, has only about 400 tanks. Excellent though they are, it is clear that their projection for the future use of their forces does not include any major armoured clashes. Israel maintains about 2300 Merkavot Mark 2, 3 & 4. There was talk of cancelling the Merkava line, but saner heads prevailed (in my opinion).

All those old tanks were a drag on the up-to-date heavy brigades, in a way, as they took up big chunks of budget. It is all missiles, aircraft, submarines, satellites and mysterious hi-tech which we'll only know about when the Ramat-Kal goes oopah! on the button.

Last edited by David of Galilee; 05-28-2014 at 01:33 PM..
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Old 05-28-2014, 02:20 PM
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I am not so concerned that Israel is getting rid of their large supply of Cold war-era tanks and planes. These items needed to be retired or sold in the next ten to twenty years anyway so why not save some money doing it earlier. In the short term there is very little chance of any armored mass attack on Israel. Egypt is the only country currently with considerable armor assets and so long as the corrupt military is in power there is almost no chance of a mass attack on Israel. In the short term, the only country possibly or likely to fall to Islamist groups is Syria but you can never predict the long term. No one expected the Western Europeans to face a resurgent Russia and have to come to grips with the fact that their armor forces is not sufficient to counter Russian invasions of sovereign countries.

The issue is that Saudi Arabia is modernizing her army. If the Islamists ever take over Egypt and Saudi Arabia, the entire military picture changes overnight. If those two countries fall to Islamist takeovers, Jordan, Lebanon and Syria would likely fall too. The big concern is the budget cuts and lack of newer high-tech replacements. That could lead to a situation where a quick Islamic takeover of Saudi Arabia, Syria and Egypt and maybe Jordan followed by an attack on Israel could find Israel with not enough armor. While this nightmare scenario would not lead to the destruction of Israel, the lack of armor could result in many more deaths than necessary. A similar situation Israel found herself in the Yom Kippur war. The best would be to slowly build the inventory of advanced armor with the ability to ratchet up production if the region changes. Budget cuts makes this impossible and the few hundred modern Merkava tanks and Namer vehicles would not be able to quickly repel a massive attack. The savings from selling and not maintaining the large stock of reserves should be put to slowly upgrading smaller more lethal inventories and not be cut from the defense budget entirely.

This may be a far fetched scenario but the same would have been said if someone predicted five years ago Egypt, Tunisia, Libya and part of Syria would be taken over by Islamic groups. The Egyptian military probably saved the region for the next 5-10 years but the Islamist groups are not going to go away so easily...
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Old 05-28-2014, 06:27 PM
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Sa'udi Arabia is already in the hands of extremist, but of a type the West has been supporting and to which the West has been supplying advanced weaponry for several decades. For some reason, the Salafyyah (aka Wahhabism) of Sa'udi Arabia is ok, even to pseudo-conservatives like the Bush presidents.

Sa'udi Arabia is a genuinely Arab country. Syria is Arabized, but not in origin actually Arab. Same with most of Egypt. Sa'udi Arabia has a hard time being close to these countries, and Islam does no better at uniting different nations by faith, than Roman Catholicism or Protestantism have done.

I am seriously looking at Israel being threatened by international force at some point. Arabs never were our biggest threat, except as outsiders support them. In fact, more Westerners probably would gloat over Israel being wiped off the map than Arabs. Iran's leadership is very anti-Israel, but the Iranian people mostly got along with Jews--better than Central and Eastern Europeans. And today, anti-Semitism is well-rooted and growing throughout the West, and East.

So what threats to prepare for? How can one miniature country barely the size of an Australian sheep station or a Canadian national park really know how to shape its armed forces to prepare for all possibilities?
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Old 05-29-2014, 12:20 PM
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Quote:
Originally Posted by David of Galilee View Post
Both the Yankee Pattons and the Brit Centurions, with a little Hebrew magic dust sprinkled over them, were among the most battle-tested MBTs ever.

The British Army, once a mighty bastion of heavy armour, has only about 400 tanks. Excellent though they are, it is clear that their projection for the future use of their forces does not include any major armoured clashes.
The Brits were the leaders at Armoured Warfare inventing the tank and Choabham Armour, and still are pretty damn nice. Chally's have proven their mettle in 'Stan and Telic.

Incidentally, many Indian Army Regt.'s carry honours from Cambrai Day.
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Old 05-29-2014, 01:08 PM
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Yes, British tank armour was so good the Yanks gave in and began using their licensed version of it. I'd rate Britain and Israel for best tank innovation, though the solid, powerful and reliable American and Russian tanks are top level performers. Brits are great long-distance shooters, as we are.
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Old 05-29-2014, 01:53 PM
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India has traditionally relied on British (Vickers, Chieftain) and lately Russian (T72, T90) tanks along with some others thrown in (French AMX-13, proved their worth in '65 against Pak where the Tankette went places others couldn't) along with trying to develope an indigenous platform (Arjun MBT).
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Old 05-29-2014, 05:16 PM
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In the Yom Kippur war, eventually, Israeli mobility, and a training ethos that encourages each individual tank commander to act independently, as and when it became necessary, allowed for less modern tanks to beat back more modern Soviet MBTs.

Some of the terrain that India has to fight in is idea for smaller, lighter tanks, as long as training philosophy encourages independence of the young officers and the seasoned NCOs that tend to be the ones in the thick of it once the fur starts flying.

Both Syria and Egypt had, by 1973, competent armoured commanders, but sadly, for them, the Soviet orientation idealized sticking to battle plans and classroom doctrine. Whereas, we Jews need a good reason to follow a strict plan (and often there is a good reason).

Soviets doctrine focused too much on Day 1 of the war, and ideal outcomes. Israeli doctrine says no matter how badly it starts, we have to win. So we plan not only for Day 1--the Big Punch--but for the fall-apart phase, when everything that can go wrong does. FASHLA. Can you get yourselves out of messes?

Egypt and Syria had the tanks to do much more, but couldn't break doctrine. And when solitary Israel tanks, and small groups, ran around knocking out superior Syrian and Egyptian tanks, they over estimated how many of the enemy faced them.

Those old Centurions on the Golan, with their sprinkle of Hebrew Magic Dust, and some of the best tank mechanos in the world, were our miracle. That's why retiring the old war machines, and dissolving the brigades, is so emotional.

So, Knaur, does Indian armour have a distinct preference in MBTs? India is so large that I can imagine different regions may have different requirements. Is your armour organised around brigades with very independent commanders? Does Divisional HQ keep strict control?
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Old 05-30-2014, 11:26 AM
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From the impression I get, there is preference for Russian T-90's retrofitted with explosive reactive armour and Thales optics over any other type, perhaps because a majority of current crews learnt the trade on license manufactured T-72s.

Brigades are quite independent, though certain assets are allocated by Division HQ so there is that. Of course, a good Brigadier is one who has good Battalion/Regt. CO's at Lt.Col/Col. level as that stage is the one where independent command initiatives start asserting themselves. IIRC all Lt.Col's have to clear Brigade command level exams anyway though they'd only be leading Bns.

The overarching arm is called Indian Army Armoured Corps, though its not actually of Corps size or commanded as one, just like the Regiment of Artillery is not really just a Regiment.

I think we follow Regt.-Div-Corps model rather than Bn-Bde-Div model in command, i.e. I think basic field formation is Division rather than the Americans or Chinese, for whom its Brigade. Independent Brigades are few and far between, they report directly to the GOC in C (Corps Cdr).
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Old 06-11-2014, 02:18 PM
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Israel MoD Suspends Procurement Contracts

Threatens System Crash in Escalating Battle With Treasury

May. 31, 2014 - 03:45AM |
By BARBARA OPALL-ROME | Comments






Funding Crisis: Israel's Defense Ministry has threatened to drastically reduce operations due to budget cuts. (ABBAS MOMANI/AFP/Getty Images)

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TEL AVIV — Israel’s Defense Ministry has suspended planned procurement contracts, slowed work on major research and development projects and warned of a wave of industry layoffs to come from programs it will be forced to ax due to budget shortfalls.
In its escalating battle with the Finance Ministry over supplemental funding for 2014, the MoD imposed a two-week freeze on planned military modernization contracts pending a bottom-up review of all non-fixed expenses.
In parallel, MoD has threatened to halt, by June 1, all Army, Air Force and Navy training and to drastically reduce ongoing operations.
The contract suspension follows a procurement slowdown in place since January, which MoD claims has halved the number of new orders compared with this time last year. After years of operating without the budget authority to support multiyear investment spending, the MoD warned of a full crash of its procurement system by the end of this year.
“[It has already been] four years now, the defense establishment is operating without a multiyear plan, which means suboptimal exploitation of resources and damage to force buildup and force structure planning… [It means] that in 2015, a complete inability to start the year,” Dan Harel, MoD director general, said in a May 26 statement.
Without the necessary plus-up to its approved 2014 budget, Harel said, “The defense industries will have to fire this year thousands of people as a result of canceled procurement projects.”
Conflicting Numbers

MoD is demanding an extra 2 billion shekels ($US 570 million) in 2014 funding.
Depending on whom you ask, Israel’s government-approved top line defense budget is either 51 billion shekels by MoD’s calculation or 57.7 billion shekels, as claimed by the Treasury. The MoD uses net figures after myriad deductions while the treasury’s gross figures appear in official budget documents approved by the government.
Both topline budgets include $3.1 billion in annual US grant aid, some 26 percent of which Israel is allowed to convert into shekels for local research, development and procurement spending.
In addition to the annual aid, which Israel receives in one lump sum at the beginning of the year, the MoD stands to receive another $200 million-plus this year for cooperative missile defense programs, including Arrow, David’s Sling and Iron Dome. Those funds are not included in either MoD or Finance Ministry top line budget figures, experts here say.
Orna Simchoni Ofer, MoD spokeswoman, insisted that suspended procurement contracts and halted development programs pertain only to the shekel portion of Israel’s defense budget.
“We stopped blue-and-white programs and contracts that are paid in shekels; not with US dollars coming from US aid,” Simchoni Ofer said, referring to the color of the flag invoked here to describe locally funded spending.
However, other defense and industry sources insist funding instability has already reduced or stretched major programs supported by dollar-based annual aid, including US-based production of Namer heavy armored troop carriers.
Defense Minister Moshe Ya’alon said he hoped the Israeli Cabinet would convene soon to make the decisions needed to avert a system shutdown. Ya’alon said he warned the government last May, when it approved the 2014 budget, that it would not be enough to carry the military throughout the year.
“Both the chief of staff and I warned that the budget was enough to preserve a level of training more or less until these months, April and May. And now here we are in these months and a decision must be taken.
“I hope the Cabinet will ... take the appropriate decisions in order that the defense establishment and particularly the Israel Defense Forces, will continue to function at a reasonable profile,” Ya’alon said.
Surge Instead of Promised Cuts

In response to mass social protests in the summer of 2011, the Israeli Cabinet approved an annual 3 billion shekel drop in defense spending, beginning in 2012. At the time, Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu scored political points from a restive public by his ostensible brass-tacks determination to tamp down the defense budget.
“I promised and I delivered [a response to social protests],” Netanyahu boasted of the mandated defense spending cuts.
But Treasury officials say successive MoD budget boosts approved by Netanyahu since that October 2011 Cabinet decree have actually resulted in a steady increase in defense spending. According to treasury data, MoD received an additional 4.2 billion shekels in 2012 and another 2.8 billion shekels in 2013.
“The defense budget over the years continues to grow,” a Finance Ministry official said. “It’s growing less than MoD demands and what they claim they need ... But the fact remains that one out of every four or five shekels the government spends is on defense.”
In a May 28 interview, the official noted that since May 2013, when the Cabinet approved the defense budget for 2014, MoD received an additional 3.75 billion shekels. “Part of it they got at the end of 2013, but it was for this year, then they got another 1 billion shekels this year ... and now they’re demanding more,” he said.
“Other ministries can’t come to the prime minister in the middle of the year and ask for more. And once they get it, it’s never enough,” he said.
Simchoni Ofer, the MoD spokeswoman, noted that nearly half of the ministry’s annual defense budget goes to fixed costs such as taxes, pensions and veteran benefits and rehabilitation.
“These are costs we can’t change,” she said. “So now the government needs to decide if they’re willing to bear the consequences to industry and to overall readiness due to no more money for training.”
The treasury official credited MoD with improving efficiency in its effort to squeeze more spending power from the non-fixed portion of its budget. Nevertheless, he insisted that MoD could and should reform procedures governing the amount of money it spends on pensions and rehabilitation.
“They claim these are fixed costs, but they are not taking steps to make it less fixed. It’s not a simple change, but these [are] things they have to do. The problem is there is no will to do it,” he said. ■



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Old 06-11-2014, 02:21 PM
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The bigger issue is that the old cold-war relics are being replaced with newer modern equipment....

While the defense cuts and lack of long-term procurement plans won't hurt now, it may be a big problem in the future.... The politicians are supporting the popular social spending now but are ignoring the future military and geopolitical needs...
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Old 06-11-2014, 05:17 PM
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Quote:
Originally Posted by garpk View Post
The bigger issue is that the old cold-war relics are being replaced with newer modern equipment....

While the defense cuts and lack of long-term procurement plans won't hurt now, it may be a big problem in the future.... The politicians are supporting the popular social spending now but are ignoring the future military and geopolitical needs...
Not quite that bad. This sparring between the IDF and the government and the parliament is somewhat of an annual event. Neither procurement nor long-term planning are anywhere near dead.

I wouldn't generalise about ''politicians'' and social spending. Israel is a rich little country, and there is room for both defense improvement and fixing some of our social problems.

A lot of the public discussion is probably linkable to General Bogey, current Defense Minister Moshe 'Bogey' Ya'alon, ex-Ramat-Kal of the IDF, and Mossad chief. He is more vocal than some might like. And Benny Gantz, current Ramat-Kal.

Parents not being invited to their kids Guns-and-Bibles ceremony is not so much saving money as looking for civilian support for restoration of budget cuts.

The IDF definitely has some fat to cut, and some of the social programmes are also part of Israel's maintenance of national strength. And unlike most Western countries, our parliamentarians are almost all vets, and essentially friendly to the IDF.

And we can do fine with the older air force squadrons and armoured brigades. Better focus on the high-tech end, and not attack by giant land armies and massed armour. Arab countries haven't threatened Israel since 1973--over 40 years ago.

That said, Arabs are not our biggest threat. Or even Muslims . . .
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Old 06-13-2014, 01:41 PM
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Quote:
Originally Posted by David of Galilee View Post
Not quite that bad. This sparring between the IDF and the government and the parliament is somewhat of an annual event. Neither procurement nor long-term planning are anywhere near dead.

I wouldn't generalise about ''politicians'' and social spending. Israel is a rich little country, and there is room for both defense improvement and fixing some of our social problems.

A lot of the public discussion is probably linkable to General Bogey, current Defense Minister Moshe 'Bogey' Ya'alon, ex-Ramat-Kal of the IDF, and Mossad chief. He is more vocal than some might like. And Benny Gantz, current Ramat-Kal.

Parents not being invited to their kids Guns-and-Bibles ceremony is not so much saving money as looking for civilian support for restoration of budget cuts.

The IDF definitely has some fat to cut, and some of the social programmes are also part of Israel's maintenance of national strength. And unlike most Western countries, our parliamentarians are almost all vets, and essentially friendly to the IDF.

And we can do fine with the older air force squadrons and armoured brigades. Better focus on the high-tech end, and not attack by giant land armies and massed armour. Arab countries haven't threatened Israel since 1973--over 40 years ago.

That said, Arabs are not our biggest threat. Or even Muslims . . .
I hope you are right... The last war in Lebanon showed that previous cutbacks in procurement, training and conventional warfare focus was costly.
I thought Israel fixed that problem by committing to a disciplined long term procurement and training strategy focusing on current and future threats.

I think we can all agree to lack of any long term procurement plan the last three years cannot be good. Since Israel is running a budget surplus in 2014 and has large ever increasing foreign reserves the issue is political rather than financial. Israel is decreasing the GNP committed to defense and may pay the consequences in the future if the IDF is not fully prepared.

In the past, the IDF was willing to work with the politicians to cut the fat but now it is more about priorities...
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Old 06-13-2014, 04:20 PM
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Truth is, the IDF was in need of a rethink. Not that many career officers haven't seen this and even to an extent begun the planning.

The good direction is already well under way. Cyber units--for both offense and defense. Drones of all types. Even better intelligence gathering. Rethinking the navy, and increasing submarine capabilities. Our own satellite array in orbit. Smart devices, smart career soldiers. We maintain a very large army, and to a degree an army based on the Yom Kippur War. It needs to increase in ability and shrink in shear volume. But always with best estimates for what the future conflicts major and minor will likely be, and a force tailored to those best guesses.

The bad side is that cost increases from possible new navy frigates, to the F-35 joint strike fighter, and various hi-tech systems, means that the IDF will not likely get everything it wants, or the quantity it wants for those things it does get. Planning has never been more critical. However, it isn't the politicians at fault--the situation here is simply not analogous to the US or UK or most of the Western military powers. Politicians are much closer to the army, most being veterans, and the government much closer to the defense industry here, The "Us vs. Them" between the military and the civilian (mostly non-vet) politicians, is not our issue.

A huge quantity of national wealth has been spent on civilian infrastructure over the past 20 years. Many large-scale projects have been undertaken, many complete but many not yet. The road system was rebuilt from goat tracks to divided motorways, and the Trans-Israel nearly completed. Major ground-level intersections became elevated cloverleaf exchanges. The ports were greatly expanded. There is a tunnel under the Karmel mountain in Haifa. Ben Gurion airport has been redone. The railways doubled in size, with new projects in progress. Regional modern sewage processing facilities which return 70% of the water to agricultural use. Giant new water desalination plants, most up and running. The satellite programme for both civilian and military use. Fibre optics communication lines. Etc.

It would be hard for Israel to live with a siege mentality despite being a wealthy little country. And we do not have a siege mentality here, despite what many outsiders think. The military planners are only one group of vital planner for a country. Now is the IDF's moment to become even more efficient, and better coordinated. No doubt some of the IDF cuts will be considered ill advised by someone's lights. However, the cuts are temporary, and the IDF budget is scheduled for increases in a few years.

Last edited by David of Galilee; 06-13-2014 at 04:28 PM..
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Old 06-15-2014, 07:54 PM
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The problem is the IDF cutback are causing threats of layoffs or even insolvency of many of the Israeli company's involved in the production of the Merkava tank. Even the Namer APC or IFV which was supposed to be produced by General Dynamics in the U.S. under license has been cut back so much that the Israeli's had to pay damages for breach of contract. The fact is that the not only is the IDF reducing armored reserves but they are also slowing down procurement of newer systems that were supposed to replace the aging reserves.

Even some Generals that were at first supportive of cutting the fat are now raising major alarms about the lack of long term procurement plans...
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