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Friday, August 5, 2011     INTELLIGENCE BRIEFING

Israeli Air Force chief cites new weapons:
'We will be able to overcome anything'

TEL AVIV — The Israel Air Force has bolstered capabilities and assessed that it could overpower any enemy coalition in a regional war.


The Air Force has asserted that it expanded weapons and personnel capabilities over the last five years. Officials said the Air Force has introduced new platforms to overcome an Iranian-led coalition that would include Hamas, Hizbullah and Syria.

"We will be able to overcome anything the other side is preparing," Israel Air Force chief of staff Brig. Gen. Nimrod Sheffer said. "I believe that one of the reasons the northern border has been peaceful since 2006 is that Hizbullah understands the Israel Defense Forces is prepared."

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In an interview with the military's Bamahane weekly, Sheffer said the Air Force's enhancement stemmed from the war against Hizbullah in 2006, Middle East Newsline reported. He said the Air Force was developing platforms and methods to defeat surface-to-surface rockets and unmanned aerial vehicles.

"In preparation, we are doing intensive intelligence research and employing new methods improved after the war," Sheffer said on July 27. "We are bringing in never-before-used weapons, and I know the Israel Air Force will be able to function properly in any incident."

The Air Force has assessed that Iran significantly bolstered Hamas and Hizbullah. Sheffer said Hizbullah has learned to protect its weapons assets, particularly missiles and rockets, and acquired advanced anti-aircraft missiles.

"We see this in the way they better defend their people and assets," Sheffer said. "Hizbullah draws conclusions, researches and improves, making it more difficult for our intelligence forces to locate both organizations and targets."

The Air Force has assessed that Hizbullah and its allies would employ a significant number of unmanned aerial vehicles. Officials said Hizbullah could launch dozens of UAVs in any next war.

"We've improved our systems in order to better counteract the next UAV attempt," Lt. Col. Assaf, commander of the Air Force's Aircraft Control Unit. "Today we are prepared for unmanned threats of any scale, 24 hours a day."

For its part, the Air Force has been expanding UAV operations. Officials said UAVs would conduct reconnaissance and other missions in an effort to coordinate between air and ground forces.

"We've significantly increased the number of training exercise," Lt. Col. C., commander of the First UAV Squadron, said. "Before the Second Lebanon War [in 2006], we were insufficiently coordinated with ground forces, and now UAVs partake in every brigade training exercise. Ground forces know to request, receive and operate the vehicles extremely well, and the pace of creating targets greatly improved."

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