Israel Gets More Missile Defense

By | Jul 30, 2008

Israel will get a radar system to bolster her short-range missile defenses, according to and Ha’aretz. Says the latter:

Signaling willingness to focus on defensive measures,
[Israeli Defense Minister Ehud] Barak said he had secured the Pentagon’s agreement to post a powerful radar, known as the forward-based X-band, in Israel “before the new (U.S.) administration arrives” in January.

Built by Raytheon Co, the system has been described by U.S. officials as capable of tracking an object the size of a baseball from about 2,900 miles (4,700 km) away. It would let the Arrow engage an Iranian Shehab-3 ballistic missile about halfway through what would be its 11-minute flight to Israel. says part of the deal includes further cooperation between Israel and the U.S.

U.S. assistance will include an agreement to facilitate the sharing of U.S. “early warning” launch data and technical and financial help developing defenses against shorter range rockets and mortars. […]

The United States will base the X-band radar in Israel, and use it for the benefit of both countries.

The technology, which Israel is planning to receive before the next U.S. President takes office, has important benefits in both U.S. Israel’s defenses against Iran. According to Ha’aretz:

Pentagon press secretary Geoff Morrell said: “Like the Israelis, we see the Iranians racing to build a ballistic missile capability and so we are working to help the Israelis fortify their defenses as quickly as possible.”

Barak said the United States will also increase Israel’s access to its Defense Support Program (DSP) satellites, which spot missile launches. Israeli officials say past access to the DSP has been on a per-request, rather than constant, basis.

“In a few months, Israel will be stronger and more prepared in the realm of protection against long-distance threats,” he said.

Photo by rmahle.

Benjamin Schuman-Stoler

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