Advanced weapons and nuclear energy

מסוק אפאצ'י יורה נורים

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AH-64 firing flares
AH-64 firing flares

At the start of the 33rd Israeli Conference on Mechanical Engineering (ICME 2015), Gideon Frank, an Israel Electric board member, and formerly the Director General of Israel’s Atomic Energy Commission, spoke in favor of nuclear energy. Frank advocated the establishment of nuclear reactors for energy production. There are currently 431 such facilities worldwide, accounting for 14% of global electricity production. In France, 70% of electricity comes from nuclear power plant. In Japan, 30%, and in the US and UK, 20% each. India and China will join this list in the years to come.

Frank cited that the price of energy produced by nuclear plants is relatively low and stable. This, especially compared with electricity produced from other sources, notably fossil fuels (primarily oil, gas and coal). Moreover, the fuel nuclear plants require, Uranium 235, is abundant in Australia, Canada and other countries. It should be noted that fuel itself is the most negligible factor in the ultimate electricity rates. On the other hand, nuclear plants have a notorious record when it comes to safety (Chernobyl, Fukushima). Some also argue that they are not necessarily cost efficient.

Weapons systems – innovations and revelations

Avi Felder, Israel Military Industries (IMI) CEO said in his lecture that the company is currently in the process of a transition from the sale of products as items in and of themselves, to offering clients comprehensive solutions, namely sets and systems. “We are not offering merely a Merkava tank cannon, but rather an entire package featuring refurbishment and solutions. We do not have in store one rocket, but rather a whole set of artillery.”

Speaking on the issue of aerial platforms’ survivability, Felder revealed that the US helicopters that flew the Special Forces that located Bin Laden and had him eliminated, were equipped with IMI-made flares [see above pic]. These systems are designed to help the aircraft survive an attack.

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It was also revealed that IMI is also pursuing a relatively new field: active protection for helicopters using Air Armor, aka Airmor. “Today’s battlefield is filled with sensors and cyber warfare means. Everything is synchronized: the commander in the field, a regiment commander or a brigade commander. Anyone of them can activate all the support they require. This, without having to speak with the air force or artillery high command,” elaborated Felder.

Felder further disclosed that “there are dramatic changes currently taking place when it comes to the map of threats both in Israel and worldwide. These changes have forced the industry as a whole to incorporate technological innovations such as super computers with enormous memory, mechanical miniaturization, electronic miniaturization, globally available GPS, connectivity, and so on. All this means energy sources must be stepped up, in view of the enormous strides in electro optics.”

By way of example, Felder mentioned some of IMI’s new developments:

“Pure Heart”: a new mission computer incorporated into various products. This system comes complete with a computer, GPS and additional components. Its size does not exceed that of a small soda can.


IMI’s ACCULAR rocket, whose maximal range is 40 km: it has no moving parts, no expensive serve units. The system comprises a few small rocket engines. It is a relatively simple, cost effective product.

Also, the design of IMI’s products for infantry, armored and artillery units underscores attaining ’first bullet hit’ or ’first shell hit’. For instance, advanced rifles have a miniaturized fire control system which enables the first bullet fired to hit the target.