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Israeli Military Equipment Used by the U.S.

Israel has developed some of the world’s most sophisticated weapons and technology, some jointly with the United States. The following are examples used by the U.S. military.

Trophy Active Protection System

The Army has purchased an emerging technology for Abrams tanks, Bradleys and Strykers designed to give combat vehicles an opportunity identify, track and destroy approaching enemy rocket-propelled grenades in a matter of milliseconds. Trophy is an Active Protection System (APS) that uses a 360-degree radar, processor and on-board computer to locate, track and destroy approaching fire coming from a range of weapons such as Anti-Tank-Guided-Missiles and Rocket Propelled Grenades. DRS Technologies and Israeli-based Rafael Advanced Defense Systems are working with the army to integrate the system that Israel developed after realizing that tanks could not be given more armor without greatly minimizing their maneuverability and deployability.

Israel’s Rafael Advanced Defense Systems and U.S.-based defense contractor Leonardo DRS announced On January 6, 2021, they completed delivery of Trophy Active Protection Systems ordered by the U.S. Army for installation on Abrams battle tanks. This delivery culminates a multi-year effort by the Army to study and rapidly field active protection due to the urgency of the threat and the growing need for improved ground vehicle survivability.

Iron Fist Light Configuration

The U.S. Army chose to purchase the Iron Fist Light Configuration active protection system for it's armored personnel carriers in June 2015, developed by Israel Military Industries. The system uses a complex network of radar and electro-optics to detect and neutralize a broad range of missiles and other objects. The Iron Fist Light Configuration can jam the GPS systems of incoming projectiles causing them to malfunction and fall to the ground, and can also deploy interceptors that destroy incoming objects with a shock wave.

Common Laser Range Finder

Israel's Elbit Systems was awarded a $73.4 million, 15 year contract from the US Marine Corps in March 2015 to supply them with new laser systems. The new systems will assist Marines in concealed positions with imaging, range-finding, and and navigation through combat areas. This will allow the soldiers to acquire and dispatch targets from their concealed positions, significantly lessening the potential impact of a mistake and keeping the soldiers safe.

Skystar 180

Surveillance balloon manufactured for tactical surveillance, public safety, police, and military activities. Skystar 180's can provide surveillance for up to 1,000 square feet on one tank of helium, which lasts for approximately 72 hours. The Skystar 180 system is simple and intuitive, and can be fully operated by only two people. Israeli police have used these balloons and previous models to control riots and provide intel during times of conflict. The U.S. Army approved the Skystar 180 for purchase in March 2015, after a unit successfully completed the Army Expeditionary Warrior Experiment 

ADM-141 TALD (Improved Tactical Air Launched Decoy)

Jet powered, unpiloted decoys look and maneuver like an airplance. TALD's are used to confuse enemy radar and draw the fire away from piloted aircraft so they can perform their missions under "safer" conditions. Earlier unpowered glider versions of the ITALD were used extensively during the initial stages of the Gulf War and in Bosnia.

Joint Helmet Mounted Cueing System

This helmet-mounted display (HMD) system allows fighter pilots to target enemy aircraft by using a display within their helmet to guide the missiles at the target they are looking at rather than having to maneuver their aircraft into an attack position.

Reactive Armor Tiles

Developed by the IDF after the Yom Kippur War, these tiles protect tanks and the soldiers within them. The tiles overlay the tank's armor and have embedded explosives that detonate outward when hit by missiles. The explosion destroys and repels the incoming missile before it penetrates the tank's main armor. During the 1982 Lebanon war, not a single Israeli tank equipped with these tiles was lost to enemy fire.

LITENING Targeting Pod

Litening is a navigation and targeting device that enables aircraft to fly and target in bad weather and at night. The Litening transforms older planes into round-the-clock fighters. The Litening is equipped with two cameras - one uses heat sensors to identify targets at night and during bad weather, while the second provides powerful images from long-range distances during the day. The U.S. Air National Guard, a quarter of whose fleet cannot fly at night, has purchased the Litening to enhance the capabilities of its F-16s. The Litening is also being purchased by the U.S. Marine Corps.

AGM-142 Have Nap

Known as "the Popeye," this missile is used to destroy targets, such as concrete military bunkers, with exceptional precision from great distances. It is the only air-to-ground missile that can be retargeted after launch. The United States uses the Popeye on B-52 bombers. A small number of aircraft armed with the Popeye were deployed to Europe for use in Kosovo.

UAV (Unmanned Aerial Vehicles)

The UAV has been one of the most important factors enabling the United States to fight effectively with minimum casualties. The U.S. has one of the largest fleets of Israeli-made UAVs which re used to identify targets and assess bomb damage without putting pilots at risk. During the Gulf War and Kosovo, Israeli-made Pioneer and Hunter UAVs were used to stop hard-to-detect targets such as missile launchers, artillery units and command and control bunkers.

Python-4 Air-to-Air Missile

The Python-4 is recognized as the world' most advanced short-range air-to-air missile. Unlike other missiles of its kind, the Python can fire at targets from any angle, not just those directly in front of it. This gives it a much larger zone in which in can effectively destroy enemy aircraft.

SIMON breach grenade 

A rifle grenade designed to breach through doors. It is mainly used to access buildings with locked or barricaded doors without endangering U.S. troops or the people inside. A variant is currently in service with the United States army.

B300/SMAW Bunker-Busting Missile

This Shoulder-Launched Multipurpose Assault Weapon (SMAW) is a portable weapon for use in destroying deeply buried and hardened concrete-reinforced bunkers. The U.S. Marine Corps procured this missile for use in Iraq.

Man-portable air-defense systems (MANPADS)

The US Air Force ordered 21 MANPADS, shoulder-launched surface-to-air missiles (SLSAMs), for use against low-flying aircraft, such as unmanned aerial systems (e.g., drones), and helicopters.

Enhanced Night Vision Goggle-Binocular

The U.S. Army is using Enhanced Night Vision Goggle-Binoculars developed by Israel’s Elbit Systems. The helmet-mounted device is a departure from the green-washed imagery of traditional night-vision equipment which can cause eyestrain and fatigue. The device amplifies existing light and makes it easier to identify targets in low-visibility conditions.

Other Systems

  • UZI Submachine Gun: The U.S. Secret Service used this automatic weapon for some time.
  • Mine Plows: Armored plows attached to the front end of tanks, enabling a tank to push land mines aside
  • SINCGARS Communications: Most widely used tactical radio in the U.S. Army inventory.
  • Kfir Fighter Plane: This fighter was loaned to the United States for use in simulated combat missions and training.
  • Helicopter Crash Survival Seats: Drastically reduce the effects of a helicopter crash by absorbing much of the crash's energy.
  • Night Targeting System (NTS): Used on Cobra attack helicopters to operate day or night, in good and bad weather.
  • Cardom: 120mm Recoil mortar system using modern electronic navigation, self-positioning, and target acquisition.
  • Gabriel missile: Anti-ship missile.
  • Missile Warning System: Elbit signed a contract to supply a missile warning system to F-16 fighter jets.

See also Iron Dome

Sources: U.S. Department of Defense.
Israel Ministry of Foreign Affairs.
Yaakov Lappin, “US Army approves Israeli surveillance balloon for purchase,” Jerusalem Post (March 18, 2015).
Yaakov Lappin, “Israel's Elbit to supply US Marines with laser system,” Jerusalem Post (March 22, 2015).
Yaakov Lappin, “US Army selects Israel Military Industries for APC active protection system,” Jerusalem Post (June 7, 2016).
US Air Force to Buy Shoulder-Fired Missiles Assembled in Israel, ARMSCOM, (February 22, 2017).
Scout Warrior, “US Army tanks, Strykers, and Bradleys are getting active-protection systems to fend off enemy fire,” Business Insider, (June 8, 2017).
Judah Ari Gross, “US Army inks $193 million deal to buy Israeli tank defense system,” Times of Israel, (June 26, 2018).
Luke Tress, “Israeli defense firm Elbit wins US Air Force contract worth up to $476 million,” Times of Israel, (March 11, 2020).
“Rafael finishes delivering Trophy tank protection systems to US Army,” IsraelDefense, (January 7, 2021).
Dalvin Brown, Dalvin Brown, “Dalvin Brown, “It’s not a game, it’s the Army’s new night-vision tech,” Washington Post,” Washington Post, (May 24, 2021).