Defense prize crowns Mossad team and Rafael's SPICE bomb

Defense Ministry outsources budget streamlining to foreign consulting firm.

Spice missile system 224 (photo credit: Rafael)
Spice missile system 224
(photo credit: Rafael)
In an effort to create more effective defense expenditure, the Defense Ministry has awarded the consulting firm McKinsey & Co. with a three-year multimillion dollar contract to create a 10-year streamlining plan for the IDF. McKinsey, one of the world's leading consulting companies, previously conducted a similar project for the US and British militaries. The MOD will pay McKinsey NIS 30 million over the next three years. The company's employees, after undergoing security clearance, will be allowed to set up offices inside the IDF and Defense Ministry headquarters in Tel Aviv. The decision to grant a foreign company a streamlining contract was met on Monday by opposition in certain branches of the IDF that were against outsourcing budget management. Defense officials said however that Deputy Chief of Staff Maj.-Gen. Dan Harel was in favor of the plan. Harel and MOD Dir.-Gen. Pinchas Buhris were in charge of the committee that chose McKinsey. Five other companies competed for the tender. Under the contract, McKinsey will make available a team of the company's Israeli and international experts as well as its databases and previous research conducted in the defense field. Officials said that the plan could save the IDF NIS 30 billion over the next 10 years. Meanwhile, on Tuesday the MOD held its annual defense prize ceremony at Beit Hanassi in Jerusalem. This year's awards were presented by Defense Minister Ehud Barak, President Shimon Peres and IDF Chief of Staff Lt.-Gen. Gabi Ashkenazi. One award was given to a Mossad team responsible for carrying out a "complicated mission using advanced technology" that was a "major contribution to the security of the State of Israel." Additional details were forbidden from publication. Another award was given to Rafael Defense Systems Ltd. for the development of the SPICE precision guided missile. The SPICE system converts a standard one-ton or two-ton gravity bomb into a stand-off autonomous weapons system by using an inertial navigation mechanism augmented by a GPS guidance system. SPICE has day, night and adverse weather capabilities, and according to Rafael, an automatic target acquisition capability that employs a unique scene-matching technology responsive to scenery changes, countermeasures, navigation errors and target location errors. This capability allows SPICE to overcome target location errors and GPS jamming, the company said.