TEL AVIV — From its newest nuclear-capable submarine to vegan-considerate, leather-free boots and berets, here is a year-end list of 14 programs fielded during 2014, as translated from the official Israel Defense Forces (IDF) website:
1. Hot, healthy, low-fat meals ready to eat (MREs) supported forces for the first time in Israel's summer 2014 Operation Protective Edge in Gaza.
2. INS Tanin, the fourth of six German-built, Israeli-equipped Dolphin-class submarines, arrived at its home base at Haifa on September 23.
3. New manned and unmanned Israel Air Force aircraft include:
- Samson C-130J, the first of its planned fleet of Lockheed Martin-built Super Hercules airlifters, arrived here in April.
- Lavi, the first five of Israel's new 30-aircraft squadron of Alenia-Aermacchi M346 jets, arrived here last summer, along with the first of four ground-based training systems.
- Star, the Elbit Systems-built Hermes 900 unmanned aerial system (UAS), achieved operational capability in Protective Edge.
4. New protective kit for infantry includes ceramic vest, helmet, goggles and ear-shields.
5. The "Ya'alom" (Diamond) Unit of IDF Combat Engineers fielded its first Foster Miller-built Talon 4 tracked ordnance disposal robot in support of Operation Protective Edge.
6. The C4I Branch integrated a new layer of connectivity into its digitized network for enhanced, cross-service, inter-disciplinary command and control.
7. New personnel-related norms and programs include:
- Special meals and leather-free footwear, berets and other equipment to accommodate sensitivities of vegan soldiers.
- Prohibition on use of oversized earphones.
- Permission for female soldiers to shave their heads, as is customary among male soldiers in many units.
8. Acquisition of two new, locally built tow vessels in support of air independent propulsion (AIP) Dolphin-class submarines.
9. The IDF Armored Corps debuted the Hatzav multi-mission tank round in Operation Protective Edge. The M329 anti-personnel/anti-materiel round is built by Israel Military Industries and is optimized for urban warfare.
10. The Israel Air Force used upgraded, US-built Patriot batteries in the world's first successful intercepts of enemy-launched unmanned aerial vehicles.
11. The IDF Medical Corps provided new personal, first-aid emergency kits for use in Protective Edge.
12. Israel's Homefront Command deployed a system for disseminating personalized text message warnings of incoming rocket threats.
13. The IDF Armored Corps concluded a major reorganization last year, which included retiring older-model Merkava tanks and equipping its storied 7th Battalion with latest, self-protected Merkava Mk4s.
14. Israel's C4I Branch fielded a new Decision Support System (DSS) during Operation Protective Edge.