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Insiders Deny Plans for Israeli Patriot Cuts

Spending on Israel's Patriot antimissile program is not slated to decrease despite speculation to the contrary, Israeli government sources said in comments reported by Aviation Week on Wednesday (see GSN, March 12).

Israeli Defense Minister Ehud Barak earlier this week called for the prioritization of missile defense programs intended to counter short- and midrange missile threats, according to a previous report.

U.S. Defense Secretary Leon Panetta has defended the Obama administration's financial commitment to bolstering Israeli missile defense initiatives.

“The U.S. is involved in a 10-year, $300 billion program to support Israel’s security,” the Pentagon chief said. “Over and above (that), President [Obama] has committed more than $850 million in Defense Department funding for Israeli missile defense.”

Israel is moving to update and conduct trials of several antimissile mechanisms, including its Arrow technology.

The new Block 4 Arrow system "involves the new Green Pine radar (with more and better transmitter/receiver modules), new software for command and control, and enhanced performance of the Arrow 2 interceptor missiles against a variety of threats, including a much-expanded battle space,” a high-level Israeli government source said.

The developmental David's Sling system, also known as the Magic Wand, is aimed at thwarting up to medium-range missile strikes, while the Arrow 3 system would target longer-range enemy projectiles.

“The logic behind Arrow 3 is that to cope with weapons of mass destruction or nuclear warheads, there have to be two, three or four consecutive interception opportunities,” the government source said. “One is not enough. Each will catch 80 percent of the targets.”

Only 0.16 percent of missiles would penetrate four antimissile layers.

“That’s why we need long-range interception,” the source said. “The second half of this year, we will conduct the first flyout of this missile. There will be no attempt at intercept, but next year there will be an interception.”

The David's Sling system is "a very capable interceptor with the advanced command-and-control system needed to handle the heavy rockets and short-range ballistic missiles,” the official said. “It’s being developed by Rafael, and we plan to conduct its first interception test in the third quarter of this year, depending on the availability of the test range.”

Additional cooperative Israeli-U.S. programs and drills would take place, but plans for one practice maneuver have been pushed from May to one of the last two months of 2012 (see GSN, Jan. 30).

“Even in our flight test three weeks ago, Israeli and U.S. radars tracked it and we shared and exchanged data in real time,” the insider said. “Also being added to this (interactive air defense) is the U.S. commitment to deploy the [X-band] TPY-2 radar in the Negev Desert and other places in the Middle East” (Fulghum/DiMascio, Aviation Week, March 14).

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GSN ceased publication on July 31, 2014. Its articles and daily issues will remain archived and available on NTI’s website.

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