Israeli safeguards weapons supply in case of repeat US refusal

Apache helicopters of the Israeli and Hellenic Air Forces fly together in a joint aerial exercise. These types of exercises are a central aspect of the Israel-Greece military cooperation. (Photo: Wikimedia Commons/Israel Defense Forces)

Israel has completed modification of its U.S.-made Apache helicopters to accommodate the firing of Israeli-made missiles rather than exclusively relying on America’s supply.

The innovation came in response to a delay in missile supply during the 2014 Operation Protective Edge after the United States expressed concern that the American Hellfire missiles would be deployed in the more populated areas of Gaza and could possibly kill civilians.

Not wishing to be left unarmed, Israel took the matter into her own hands. The new missiles were made by Israel’s own Rafael Advanced Defense Systems.

Rafael’s multi-functional missiles are themselves an innovation from what was originally designed exclusively for anti-tank warfare. They are camera guided and not reliant on the pilot’s range of vision.

The new missiles are on the market with countries in Europe and South America having already purchased them for their own military helicopters, although the adaptation for the Apache is a first.

Improvisation has long been the hallmark of the Israeli military. In an army notable for its relatively low proportion of officers, battlefield innovation many times comes from relatively young and low ranking soldiers operating in close combat situations that require speedy responses to enemy maneuvers.

This latest Israeli innovation comes against a backdrop of global geopolitical maneuvers and the winding down of President Barack Obama’s administration, which was relatively cool if not outright hostile toward Israel. A warmer American administration does not guarantee that Israel’s back will be covered forever, and so Israel’s military innovation may have to become the norm.

Indeed, the discovery of Israel’s own natural gas, combined with the rapid development of its technology sector, shows that Israel is increasingly able to stand on her own feet even if most of the world, in fulfillment of Biblical prophecy, turns against her.