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Thursday, June 23, 2011     INTELLIGENCE BRIEFING

Israeli military weighs options for multi-front war

TEL AVIV — Israel's military has been examining procurement options amid an assessment that the Jewish state would fight a multi-front war.


The General Staff has been meeting to draft procurement options in the military's next multi-year plan, meant to begin in 2012. The plan was based on the assessment that Israel could fight a war on several fronts, including Egypt.

"The main argument is between the Army and the Air Force and concerns the platforms needed to quickly win on the battlefield," a military source said.

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The military command has accelerated the drafting of its report ahead of its deadline in August. The recommendations must be approved by Chief of Staff Lt. Gen. Benny Gantz and Defense Minister Ehud Barak.

The Air Force has proposed procuring at least two fighter-jet squadrons, or about 50 planes, to enable the military to fight on several fronts simultaneously. The sources said options included either the F-15 fighter-jet or the F-16 multi-role platform, the latter being the staple of the Israel Air Force.

Other options included the procurement of unmanned aerial vehicles for intelligence and combat operations. The sources also cited a proposal for the G-550 special missions aircraft, used for intelligence and electronic warfare.

For its part, the Army has recommended additional main battle tanks and armored personnel carriers. The sources said the army has argued that these assets could be used against both enemy ground forces as well as revolts in the West Bank.

The sources said Gantz has been cautious in responding to the recommendations. They said the chief of staff did not want the discuss any debate on a multi-front war in an effort to maintain regional calm.

"His approach is that the military should move slowly and not go on a spending spree that could spark a regional arms buildup," another source said.

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