Plan outlining development for next five years will not go into effect until Netanyahu determines final size of budget.
By YAAKOV KATZ
The IDF’s procurement plans have come to a complete halt as the government continues to haggle over planned cuts to the defense budget.A new program, called Halamish, was supposed to go into effect over the summer but has been suspended pending a decision on the extent of spending cuts. The plan outlines development and procurement programs for the coming five years.Defense officials said that the plan was approved recently by Chief of Staff Lt.-Gen.Benny Gantz and Defense Minister Ehud Barak but that it would not go into effect until Prime Minister Binyamin Netanyahu determined the final size of the budget.The IDF also warned that if plans to cut NIS 3 billion from the budget are approved, it will need to cut back on vital training regimes for its standing forces. Officers advised that at a time of instability in Egypt, Syria and across the Middle East it is imperative that the IDF continue to train and upgrade its offensive capabilities.“Halamish is not being implemented since we do not yet know how much money there is to be able to order new platforms,” one official said on Sunday.The Halamish plan, which is supposed to replace Tefen – the plan in place for the past five years – is based on the premise that there is a growing possibility for a multi-front war in the near future.For the time being, the IDF has decided against making comprehensive structural changes that could be required in the event that the situation in Egypt further deteriorates, and has reorganized existing capabilities to increase defenses along the southern border.AdvertisementThe Halamish plan is expected to continue the investment in the ground forces that started after the Second Lebanon War in 2006, and will see the procurement of additional missile defense systems – like the Iron Dome and David’s Sling – as well as new interceptors for the Arrow ballistic missile defense system.The Artillery Corps is looking to buy new, accurate rocket systems that would provide ground forces with standoff precision attack capabilities (the ability to attack the enemy from the air without being directly above it) without needing to rely on the air force for air support.The plan is also expected to lead to a dramatic boost in Israel’s intelligence collection capabilities – with the attainment of new special electronics mission aircraft and unmanned aerial vehicles – as well as new defenses for critical military infrastructure from cyber attacks by countries such as Iran.
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