This is how the new IDF cannon was chosen


In the background of the vessel case, which reached the court, State Comptroller Matanyahu Engelman found deficiencies in the IDF’s huge equipment project – the future cannon. According to the comptroller, German society did not receive equal conditions to the Israeli one, and the IDF discussion was lacking. In addition, the Comptroller found that the Ministry of Defense and the IDF are not preparing in accordance with the cuts in American aid funds intended for the purchase of Israeli products.

Elbit cannon, illustration

(Photo: Elbit Systems)

The State Comptroller examined the way in which it was decided to equip a new artillery system in the IDF. From the beginning, in the staff work carried out by the land arm prior to the project, the comptroller found that the arm did not determine the required systemic achievement from the system. , Contrary to military procedures.

In addition, the auditor found that the land arm did not examine material issues that were supposed to support the decision on the issue, even though the array has long-term operational implications and even though it is a significant financial investment required to establish the array.

The Comptroller noted that in various discussions held in the Planning Division as part of the recommendation process to approve the project in principle, as well as in discussions on the Gideon multi-year plan, the need arose to examine two key issues: the place of artillery in military maneuvering on the future battlefield, and operational efficiency of the new artillery.

The demand to discuss these two issues has often arisen in discussions between the land arm and the Planning Division. According to the auditor’s report, despite repeated requests from the head of the AGAT to discuss these issues and receive analysis on the issue, the land arm did not examine them and did not present its conclusions on the issue. Finally, the principled recommendation of the Planning Division in favor of the project was accepted without the decision-makers having full information.

Atmosphere cannon Atmosphere cannon

Illustration. The cannon that won the tender has not yet been unveiled

(Photo: Elbit Systems)

The IDF argued that the plan needed to be approved quickly, as postponing the decision on the issue for the next multi-year plan would significantly reduce the expected systemic achievement, with the decline of the existing cannon array. However, the State Comptroller remarked to the military that equipping new cannons has an impact on the future The array of cannons for many years and therefore was required to take into account all the relevant issues.

The Comptroller’s examination shows that both the Chief of Staff and the Minister of Defense approved in principle the acquisition of the new artillery system, without an analysis of the place of artillery in the current military maneuver in the land arm or in the IDF, and its operational need. Only after the approval of the two in principle, did the IDF examine the expected contribution from the acquisition of the new cannon and the operational need for it.

In May 2017, four months after the approval of the Minister of Defense and the Chief of Staff in principle, a General Staff committee headed by the Deputy Chief of Staff was established to examine the need for new cannons, following doubts raised by various sources, some from the defense establishment.

The committee determined that preserving the existing array is a possible alternative, but this involves risk. Looking to the future, and after examining several alternatives, it was decided that there is an operational and economic advantage to advancing the acquisition of a new cannon. In July 2017, the Chief of Staff and the Minister of Defense accepted the committee’s recommendations and approved the need for a new cannon.

As part of the headquarters’ work to examine the acquisition of a new cannon, the defense system examined two main alternatives – an AGM cannon system made by the German company KMW, and a cannon system made by Elbit. In June 2010, representatives of the land arm and Mapat visited Germany and were very impressed by the German cannon. The summary of the visit states that a demonstration and proof of capabilities in the country should be performed.

Over the years there was an exchange between the parties, and another demonstration visit was made to Germany. Among other things, the defense establishment raised concerns about a certain aspect, following which it was argued in the summaries that a demonstration should be held in Israel in order to dispel the concern. Despite this, it was one of the preferred alternatives among the defense establishment.

Mapat invited the Germans to hold a demonstration in Israel, but four months later, Mapat and the land arm canceled the demonstration, although no new information was received that could change the situation. In response to a question from the German company, Mapat replied that the two demonstrations in Germany were sufficient and provided sufficient information and that there were no other reasons for canceling the demonstration.

However, at a hearing held that month of the cancellation, the head of the land arm said the decision to cancel the demo “stemmed from the need to leave all options open.” The Ministry of Defense and the IDF told the comptroller that the cancellation of the demonstration did not harm the place of the German cannon as a possible alternative.

Atmosphere cannon Atmosphere cannon


(Photo: Elbit Systems)

In November 2016, Mapat applied to the Division’s Development Committee for an exemption from a tender in favor of Elbit, claiming that it was the only company to meet the cannon production requirement for “blue and white independence.” Partner of the German company in the proposal) and IMI in May 2015. The committee approved the exemption mainly due to the requirement of “blue and white independence”.

During the audit, the State Comptroller found a discrepancy between the data held by the Ministry of Defense and those that led to the decision on the identity of the IDF’s preferred cannon. According to the General Staff Committee to examine equipping a new cannon, the price of the German cannon was twice the estimated price. And twice the estimated price of the Israeli cannon made by Elbit.

The double estimate, submitted to the committee by Mapat, was based on foreign publications of the cost of the system, although in 2011 the German company submitted to the defense system an estimate of the cost of cannon production. The double price was also presented to the Political-Security Cabinet.

During the cabinet discussion, the National Security Council recommended approving the deal with Elbit, but also presented the other alternatives for setting up the array. However, he did not present an alternative to the military position that new cannons are needed and not necessarily other weapons.

Energy Minister Yuval Steinitz said during the debate that he had doubts about the decision to equip himself with cannons and not rockets, and as a result, further questions arose on the subject from other ministers. The National Security Council stated in its response to the Comptroller that the issue came up for discussion even though it did not appear in the presentation prepared by the IDF and that all the ministers’ questions on the subject were answered.

The State Comptroller remarked to the National Security Council that he should ensure that the presentation of a project for the approval of the Cabinet includes an analysis of alternatives, while presenting the advantages and disadvantages of each, as well as emphasizing the differences and meanings, even if it is generally familiar to cabinet members.

In the new report, the State Comptroller examined the Ministry of Defense’s and the IDF’s preparations for the implementation of the Memorandum of Understanding with the United States regarding security assistance for the years 2019-2028 and the missile defense program.

According to the agreement signed in 2016, which includes a transfer of $ 38 billion to Israel, some of the aid money is converted into shekels and used to purchase from the defense industries in Israel. However, from 2022 the conversion money will be gradually reduced, with the big reduction coming in 2025, until by 2028 the conversion money will be completely abolished, then the agreement between the countries will also expire. This means that as the agreement progresses, Israel will be able to buy fewer weapons and security measures made in the country with the help of American aid funds.

The signing of the aid agreement in 2016The signing of the aid agreement in 2016

The signing of the aid agreement in 2016

(Photo: Reuters)

The comptroller criticized the Department of Defense on the grounds that no plan had yet been formulated on how to preserve the procurement from home despite the agreement with the United States. In the last two years, the Comptroller has examined the IDF’s and the Ministry’s preparations for the implementation of the Memorandum of Understanding and has criticized all parties involved.

According to the audit, the Ministry of Defense has not yet examined the possible consequences of reducing the funds that can be used to purchase Israeli products, production independence in Israel and the strengthening of the IDF, as well as the degree of possible damage to national security.

“The Ministry of Defense, in cooperation with the IDF, has not determined the development and production capabilities required to preserve ‘blue and white’, among other things for the purpose of maintaining the independence of the production and the IDF’s capabilities and for emergency preparedness,” the comptroller wrote. “The need to prepare is already becoming even more important in light of lessons learned from reducing procurement from the defense industries in Israel and increasing foreign exchange aid before the Second Lebanon War, which led to a loss of local production capacity and considerable gaps between IDF needs and ability to deliver them within a reasonable time during and after war.” .

The Comptroller argued that an appropriate organization of the Ministry of Defense, the IDF and the defense industries, as well as organization at the national level, is committed to a situation that will arise after the cancellation of conversion funds and that failure to prepare for this situation could harm the IDF and national security.

The State Comptroller also audited the IDF Archives and the State Archives and found that more than a million documents had already been allowed to be published by law, their confidentiality had expired, but they had not yet been made public. And stored in the State Archives, but as of November 2019 there are 300,000 documents that are no longer confidential and have not yet been disclosed to the public.

In the IDF archives, the delay is more significant, each year about 7,100 documents that were confidential are exposed, but as of January 2019, there are 981,156 documents that are no longer confidential but have not been disclosed to the public.

Illustration. More than a million documents are no longer confidential but have not been publishedIllustration. More than a million documents are no longer confidential but have not been published

Illustration. More than a million documents are no longer confidential but have not been published

(Photo: shutterstock)

The State Comptroller found that there were documents that the Malamav (the person in charge of security in the defense system) declared that they were confidential indefinitely, even though there is no provision in the law that allows such confidentiality. For example, in the Ben Gurion Archive For perusal, and in the Yad Yaari archive, there are files with archival material on which the Malamav wrote “closed” without specifying an opening date.

The auditor also examined the presence of classified materials in public and private archives and how they are protected. For example, classified documents were found in the Beit Berl archives, but despite the instructions received from the Prime Minister’s Office, the necessary steps were not taken to preserve the documents. The fund’s legal counsel wrote to the auditor that “all classified documents are not accessible by anyone except the director of the archives.”

In another case, classified documents were found in the daughter of a former senior security official, who received the documents after her father’s death. The documents of the Malamav (the person in charge of security in the defense establishment) state that the materials were “not checked due to Malamav’s disagreements with the daughter regarding the future of the documents. The exposure team estimates the material (classified documents) … from his (senior) term in office” .

The daughter said in response to the State Comptroller in April 2019: “I do not remember any official written request from any unit in the Ministry of Defense, regarding a request to check any materials that are related to my father’s tenure.”

The IDF said in response toCriticism raised regarding the new cannon project: “This is a high-importance operational event that has been managed by the land arm for more than eight years. The land arm has carried out comprehensive staff work for several years to approve and implement the new cannon project. The staff work concludes that the cannon array is renewed and since it is a long procurement process a decision must be made.” “Contrary to what is stated in the report, the land arm examined material issues in its view as part of the formulation of the concept of ‘land on the horizon’ and addressed them in depth.”

“We reject the claim that the Planning Division approved the project in principle before it was presented by the Land Arm, since in 2013 the Land Arm made an approval in principle and only in 2017 did the project go up for approval in principle with the Chief of Staff and the Minister of Defense. Regarding the claim for non-determination of a requirement for ‘blue and white independence’, we note that the issue was presented at the top of the discussions and before the developer committee, but it may have been necessary to emphasize the issue at the summary stage as well. “

RegardingThe new cannon project In response: “The Mapat Selection Committee examined for many months all possible alternatives for the realization of the IDF’s future development and equipping project. After receiving professional opinions from all relevant defense establishment, it met with Industries and reviewed cannon projects abroad. “The committee submitted a document recommending the project at the Elbit Systems plant, which is the only one in Israel that has the ability to supply the system according to the IDF’s operational requirements. The committee’s recommendations and approval were made in accordance with all laws and the project is in progress.”

RegardingUS Aid Agreement In response: “With the signing of the aid agreement, the Ministry of Defense began examining the implications of the expected decrease in the share of conversions and its effects on the defense industries. The comptroller noted the work of the committee established in January 2017 in cooperation with the IDF, defense industries and the Ministry of Economy. The committee’s recommendations have been implemented since 2018 in the ministry’s work plans and include, among other things, multi-year procurement in key projects in industries, targeted assistance to small and medium-sized industries, assistance in connecting Israeli industries to large American companies and more. “

RegardingDisclosure of the documents classified in the IDF archives “The archive reveals thousands of confidential files every year and in recent years has been leading a large-scale digitization process to make the information accessible to the public. The archive takes note of the auditor’s comments and works tirelessly to expand exposure, subject to law and the means at its disposal.”

RegardingThe activity of the Malamab regarding the classified documents It was stated in response: “The Malamav is acting by virtue of its authority to keep the secret in the security system. “When it is brought to the attention of the Malamab that classified and sensitive material is being held illegally, it is acting to return the materials with consent. Without this activity in the archives, there could have been real damage to the state’s security and foreign relations.


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