serious budget cuts force IDF to tighten its belt, weapons and combat equipment will be sold overseas.
Proceeds from sale to be reinvested in bolstering IDF’s technological capabilities.
By Yoav Zitun
The multi-year program, Teuza (Boldness), created by IDF Chief of Staff Benny Gantz, will turn bases into sales-lots for tanks, armored personnel carriers, warships, combat flight equipment, vehicle logistic accessories, cannons and air force ballistic systems. These items and others are expected to be on the sales block in the coming two years, as part of the cutback program taking place in the military.
This will be part of dramatic changes which will be part of the IDF’s evolution into a small, light, flexible, more technologically equipped army than in the past.
Defense Minister Moshe Ya’alon, who fought to keep some of the things that the IDF will be terminating, supported the program on Thursday, and referred to the Yom Kippur War, saying those types of battles were less relevant in the current age.
In the coming months, the Deputy Chief of Staff Major-General Gadi Eisenkot will manage the process of closing down large units, mostly composed of reserves soldiers. While some of them will be sent into other units, many will be mustered out of the military, ad the equipment with which they served may likely find itself being utilized overseas.
Some of this equipment is decades old, and the Defense Minister will be responsible for determining its future. The ministry is already involved in the process, and it is expected to continue for some years. It will begin with the attempt to sell the heavy combat equipment, mostly to South American, Asian or African countries. Some, such as Sri Lanka, Chile and Ecuador, have already purchased Israeli planes and helicopters, including Skyhawks, Kfirs and Anafas, in the past .
Heavy equipment is expected to remain at bases until it is sold, which can take years. If the IDF decides it is not worth waiting for a sale, the equipment can be welded down by an external contractor working with the Defense Ministry, and sold as blocks of steel in Israel. All along, as part of the marketing effort, the ministry will continue to add the old equipment to the catalog of security products made in Israel and distributed to foreign armies, under the category of “surplus.”
In addition, foreign delegations are expected to visit bases and get a close look at the equipment which is up for sale. If a deal is made, the ministry will provide training on the particular piece of equipment, if the buying army wishes. In the past, there have been sales of this sort summing up to millions of dollars, but currently less are anticipated, due to the decline in procurement by militaries worldwide. It is also possible that a small portion of the old tanks and planes will be given for display outside base entrances, town squares, or as ‘toys’ in playgrounds.
The old aircraft which will part from the IDF will join the Air Force’s 44 Skyhawks that are being offered for sale. The IDF by the way, does not only sell used Israeli weapons, but also uses second-hand equipment. In recent years, the IDF absorbed thousands of American Hummers used by the US military in combat operations in Afghanistan and Iraq. When American forces returned to the States, the vehicles were transferred to the IDF.
View original Ynet publication at: http://www.ynetnews.com/articles/0,7340,L-4404232,00.html