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    Israel Ponders M61 Vulcan Revival Amid Rising Drone Threats

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    Amidst an escalating number of UAV threats, Israel is considering reviving the M61 Vulcan, a Gatling-style rotary cannon, as a counter-drone measure along its northern border.

    This move comes in the wake of increased hostilities with the Lebanon-based Hezbollah, which has been actively launching drones and missiles towards Israel.

    Local media reports suggest that the Vulcan, an electrically fired six-barrel cannon capable of unleashing 6,000 rounds per minute and a veteran of the U.S. military’s airborne arsenal, could be mounted atop armored personnel carriers for defense purposes.

    Notably, the Machbet, a modified version of the M61, had been stationed at Israel’s northern frontier on the M113 armored personnel carrier, dubbed Bardehlas locally, until its retirement in 2006.

    Hezbollah’s UAV arsenal has been estimated by the Alma Research and Education Center to exceed 2,500 units, encompassing intelligence and attack drones.

    The escalation of drone attacks on Israel has been stark, with a rise from seven in February to 24 in March. In response, the Israel Defense Forces (IDF) have intensified their countermeasures by deploying drone-detection systems and establishing a dedicated drone-targeting unit within the Northern Command. Despite these measures, Hezbollah managed a drone infiltration in May, targeting an Israeli military facility.

    The IDF spokesperson underscored the gravity of the situation: “The military does not have Vulcan cannons at the moment. It, along with others solutions, are being tested at this stage in trials in the defense industries as part of our process of building military strength in the war.” The spokesperson further elaborated that a variety of countermeasures are in operational trial or research and development phases, accompanied by adjustments in field operations.

    Defense giants Rafael Advanced Defense Systems and Israel Aerospace Industries, known for providing counter-drone products, along with the Israeli Defense Ministry, have maintained silence on this development.

    The contemplation of the M61 Vulcan’s deployment aligns with a broader pattern of military reinforcement and technological advancement observed globally. From Europe’s commitment to the 2023 European Defence Fund to the bolstering of Ukraine’s defenses with Western military aid, nations are striving to enhance their military prowess.

    While Sweden has suspended its plan to transfer JAS-39 Gripen C/D fighter jets to Ukraine, it has compensated by detailing a significant military aid package, which includes two Saab 340 AW&C aircraft, enhancing Ukraine’s long-range target identification and engagement capabilities.

    Amid these international military support actions, North Korea continues to provoke with ballistic missile launches, and the U.S. Army fortifies its fleet with Oshkosh Defense’s medium tactical vehicles. Simultaneously, the French Ministry of the Armed Forces is renewing its wet gap crossing capabilities under the SYFRALL program and seeking replacements for aging equipment spotlighted by the ongoing conflict in Ukraine.

    As Israel reconsiders the M61 Vulcan’s potential, the nation is part of a collective endeavor to address modern warfare challenges, where drone warfare has become a critical aspect of strategic defense and offensive capabilities.

    Relevant articles:
    Israel examines M61 Vulcan for countering drones, Defense News
    Israel examines M61 Vulcan for countering drone…, Scoop.it

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