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Old 01-22-2021, 05:23 AM
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Arrow Russia Wants Israel to Beef Up Its Military Technology

Russia Wants Israel to Beef Up Its Military Technology
By: Robert Farley - National Interest News - 01-21-21

Moscow and Jerusalem have substantially stepped up their military cooperation in recent years.

Here's What You Need to Remember: The Russian military industry requires consistent infusions of technology in order to complete the transition from the post-Cold War doldrums. Notwithstanding the longstanding strains between the two countries (Iran, the future of the Assad regime) the Moscow-Jerusalem relationship may prove fruitful for both countries in the next decades.

In many ways, Israel and Russia have taken opposite approaches to providing for national security. Israel stands at the technological frontier, while Russia has struggled to keep its national innovation system vital and healthy. Moreover, over the years Russian arms have populated the armies and air forces of Israeli’s enemies.

Nevertheless, Moscow and Jerusalem have substantially stepped up their military cooperation in recent years, a trend that has made the United States somewhat nervous about the technology it exports to Israel. Israeli drones have flown in Russian service in the war in Ukraine, and Israeli electronics have helped improve Russian systems in other ways. Here are five Israeli defense capabilities that Russia would like to have:

Missile Defense:

Although the Soviet Union helped pioneer the first anti-ballistic missile systems, Russian technology has fallen behind the West, and especially the Israelis. The United States and Israel (often in collaboration) have committed immense resources to developing system to defend against a variety of ballistic projectiles. On the US side, the effort has concentrated mostly on medium and long range ballistic missiles; on the Israeli, it has focused on the entire array of threat, including low cost, low technology rockets.

Ballistic projectiles do not pose an overwhelming threat to Russia at the moment, but if Moscow’s efforts to improve its air defense network continues to succeed, such missiles may again come to represent the central plank of NATO’s deterrent. If so, anti-ballistic missiles systems will again become a key component of Russia’s defense strategy.


Russia boasts some excellent anti-tank munitions, including the 9M133 “Kornet” missile, designed to kill main battle tanks such as the Merkava, Abrams, and Challenger II. A laser guided missile, Kornets damaged several Western tanks in the early days of the Iraq War, and in the 2006 Israeli War against Hezbollah.

The Israeli SPIKE family of missiles has capabilities that many variants of the Kornet lack, however. This includes “fire and forget” and top attack profiles, which allow the SPIKE to hit enemy tanks at their most vulnerable. Moreover, the SPIKE has proven remarkably flexible in deployment, serving on board a wide variety of different Israeli delivery platforms.

Intelligence, Surveillance, and Reconnaissance (ISR):

The experience of several wars in Gaza, not to mention the 2006 conflict against Hezbollah and the ongoing Occupation of the West Bank, has given the Israeli national security state an unparalleled ability to integrate information into its frontline operations. This integration has an administrative component (the various organizations that constitute Israeli national defense have become strikingly efficient at sharing and operationalizing information) but also a technological aspect.

Using a variety of electronic and tactical aviation systems, Israel has developed an unparalleled capability to create an image of the battlespace. These system including biometric storage networks, UAVs, and advanced optical systems, among others. Surveillance and intelligence fusion systems of this nature could serve Russia well in Syria, Chechnya, Ukraine, and elsewhere.

(*) Conscription:

Russia has many excellent, professional soldiers. Russia does not, however, have a functional system of conscription that can identify and train the most capable potential soldiers from within its population. The Russian system of conscription has become a disaster, with many of the most capable potential recruits finding ways to escape service, and a training experience that has become increasingly brutal.

Israel’s system of conscription, on the other hand, remains one of the healthiest in the world. Despite a few notable problems (objections to service in the Occupation, objection from religious minorities), the Israeli national service program continues to effectively harness the country’s best human capital. Israel obviously cannot export the foundation of this system to Russia, but it could assist with administrative reforms designed to improve Russian performance.

Avionic Systems:

Russia’s air force consists of a wide array of generation 4 and 4.5 fighter aircraft, mostly upgraded from Cold War models. The degree of upgrade, however, has proven very uneven. Moreover, the Russian electronics industry has struggled to provide advanced, reliable avionic upgrades. In Syria, for example, Russian system of targeting, detection, and discrimination have trailed their Western counterparts, a gap that has had both military and diplomatic costs.

With an electronics industry tightly connected to the military aerospace sector, Israel has specialized in the kind of upgrades that Russian aircraft could definitely use. These include advanced radars, sensor fusion systems, and sensor pods necessary for the targeting of precision-guided munitions. Tighter collaboration between Israel and Russia could make Russian fighters and bombers far more lethal.

The Final Salvo:

As Israel has sought to expand its diplomatic base beyond the United States and Western Europe, it has increasingly developed positive connections with Russia and points east. This effort has included both commerce and diplomacy; Israeli technology has already found its way into various militaries around the world, including Russia.

At the same time, the Russian military industry requires consistent infusions of technology in order to complete the transition from the post-Cold War doldrums. Notwithstanding the longstanding strains between the two countries (Iran, the future of the Assad regime) the Moscow-Jerusalem relationship may prove fruitful for both countries in the next decades.

About this writer: Robert Farley, a frequent contributor to the National Interest, is author of The Battleship Book. He serves as a senior lecturer at the Patterson School of Diplomacy and International Commerce at the University of Kentucky. His work includes military doctrine, national security and maritime affairs. He blogs at Lawyers, Guns and Money, Information Dissemination and the Diplomat. This first appeared in 2016 and is being republished due to reader interest.


Additional considerations of bringing back the draft & why its unacceptable to military leaders based on prior difficulties during the VN war.

(*) Conscription - means compulsory enrollment of persons: compulsory enrollment of persons especially for military service: Hence a Draft - During the war the armed forces were heavily dependent on conscription (personnel).

Note: From 1940 until 1973, during both peacetime and periods of conflict, men were drafted to fill vacancies in the United States Armed Forces that could not be filled through voluntary means. Active conscription came to an end in 1973 when the United States Armed Forces moved to an all-volunteer military.

But: Why Bringing Back the Draft Could Stop America’s Forever Wars

To wage war, America has always had to create a social construct to sustain it, from the colonial militias and French aid in the Revolution, to the introduction of the draft and the first-ever income tax to fund the Civil War, to the war bonds and industrial mobilization of World War II. In the past, a blend of taxation and conscription meant it was difficult for us to sustain a war beyond several years. Neither citizens nor citizen soldiers had much patience for commanders, or Commanders in Chief, who muddled along. Take, for example, Washington reading Thomas Paine’s The American Crisis as a plea to his disbanding army before it famously crossed the Delaware (“These are the times that try men’s souls …”) or Lincoln, whose perceived mismanagement of the Civil War made his defeat in the 1864 presidential election a foregone conclusion (until Atlanta fell to the Union two months before the vote). The history of American warfare–even the “good” wars–is a history of our leaders desperately trying to preserve the requisite national will because Americans would not abide a costly, protracted war. This is no longer true.

Today the way we wage war is ahistorical–and seemingly without end. Never before has America engaged in a protracted conflict with an all-volunteer military that was funded primarily through deficit spending. Of our current $22 trillion national debt, approximately $6 trillion is a bill for the post-9/11 wars. These have become America’s longest, surpassing Vietnam by 12 years. And it’s been by design. In the aftermath of 9/11, there was virtually no serious public debate about a war tax or a draft. Our leaders responded to those attacks by mobilizing our government and military, but when it came to citizens, President George W. Bush said, “I have urged our fellow Americans to go about their lives.” And so, the war effort moved to the shopping mall.

If after 9/11 we had implemented a draft and a war tax, it seems doubtful that the millennial generation would’ve abided 18 successive years of their draft numbers being called, or that their boomer parents would’ve abided a higher tax rate to, say, ensure that the Afghan National Army could rely on U.S. troops for one last fighting season in the Hindu Kush. Instead, deficit spending along with an all-volunteer military has given three successive administrations a blank check with which to wage war.

This is one of the great counterintuitive realities of the draft. A draft doesn’t increase our militarization. It decreases it. Once noted: A draft places militarism on a leash.

Today, among many officers, particularly those senior officers who shepherded in that change, the idea of returning draftees to the military seems entirely regressive. Why would you degrade the finest fighting machine the world has ever known? It’s not a logic without merit, but professionalization has had its own drawbacks, ones that are perhaps more insidious to the fabric of a democracy than a draft would be.

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During my day the Draft was still in place. However many enlisted (like me) because we saw our friends being drafted and felt we too should do our part - enlisting seemed to be the right thing to do - since many of our school Bud's were there - we should be too!
Boats - enlisted in 1963 (VN65-67) discharged 1975

(In my neighborhood we lost 12-15 guys (many more died later on from AO or committed suicide.) It wasn't easy to go to those funerals nor was it for thousands of families who lost their kids as well. I could never understand the difference between a War and a Conflict as it was advertised off and on. To me it meant the same - Good Guys vr's the Bad Guys - is how I looked at it.)


O Almighty Lord God, who neither slumberest nor sleepest; Protect and assist, we beseech thee, all those who at home or abroad, by land, by sea, or in the air, are serving this country, that they, being armed with thy defence, may be preserved evermore in all perils; and being filled with wisdom and girded with strength, may do their duty to thy honour and glory; through Jesus Christ our Lord. Amen.

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