Biden announces US military aid to Israel set in stone and unwavering

On October 7, 2023, U.S. President Joe Biden reaffirmed the "set in stone and unwavering" support of the United States for Israel in the face of Hamas terrorist attacks. This announcement comes in the context of an already very close military and security cooperation between the two countries, exemplified by the use of vehicles such as the M113 troop carrier and the M109 self-propelled howitzer.
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In the framework of the close cooperation between the U.S. and Israel, two vehicles delivered in large numbers to Israel stand out: the M109 self-propelled howitzer and the M113 troop carrier (Picture source: Israel Defense Forces )

The relationship between the United States and Israel is marked by close military cooperation. The U.S. has funded significant Israeli defense projects like the Merkava tank and the IAI Lavi fighter jet. Israel has also participated in the development of the F-35 Lightning II combat aircraft. In return, the U.S. Sixth Fleet is stationed in Haifa, and Israel provides logistics for American forces in the region.

Since 1987, Israel has received an average of $1.8 billion each year in terms of sales or military funding from the United States. This aid was increased to $2.4 billion under the Clinton administration and to $3 billion in 2007. Between 2019 and 2028, military aid will be raised to nearly $4 billion per year.

Following recent attacks by Hamas, the United States announced several measures to support Israel. The Pentagon sent the aircraft carrier USS Gerald R. Ford and its accompanying ships to the Eastern Mediterranean. Additionally, extra fighter jets have been deployed to the region.

In the framework of the close cooperation between these two countries, two vehicles delivered in large numbers to Israel stand out: the M109 self-propelled howitzer and the M113 troop carrier. The Israeli army, for example, has no fewer than 500 M113s and 30 M109s, according to the military balance of 2022, in operation.

The M113 is an armored troop carrier widely adopted by armies worldwide, including Israel's. In terms of armament, the M113 is quite modular but generally comes equipped with a 12.7mm machine gun. This vehicle can accommodate a crew of two and carry up to 11 soldiers. With 40mm armor, it offers substantial protection against small-caliber rounds and shrapnel. Weighing approximately 11,253 kg, the M113 can reach a maximum speed of 60 km/h and has a range of 480 km. The vehicle can also be equipped with a variety of additional equipment, depending on the specific needs of the user countries.

The M109 is a self-propelled howitzer designed to offer mobile and effective firepower on the battlefield. Initially manufactured by Cadillac and General Motors, and later by companies like BAE Systems, this howitzer has undergone several upgrades over the years. The M109 is equipped with a 155mm cannon, with different barrel lengths depending on the variant. For example, the M109A5 to M109A7 versions are equipped with a 39-caliber M284 cannon. The vehicle can fire shells up to a distance of 40 km with special ammunition like Excalibur. It is also equipped with a .50 caliber machine gun for close defense.

The Biden administration faces a complex situation. On one hand, it seeks to normalize relations between Israel and Saudi Arabia, two of the oldest U.S. allies in the Middle East. On the other hand, the Hamas offensive has reignited criticisms of U.S. policy deemed too lenient towards Iran. Biden's recent announcement is part of a long history of military and financial support for Israel. As tensions rise in the Middle East, this relationship seems set to strengthen even further.