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Israeli Defense Chiefs Upgrade BMD Plans

Globes said the Israelis have already asked the U.S. Northrop Grumman Corp. to provide the Israeli Defense Ministry with what Globes described as "clarifications" about Northrop Grumman's Sky Guard laser system (pictured).
by Martin Sieff
UPI Senior News Analyst
Washington (UPI) Sep 07, 2006
Alarmed by the scale of Katyusha rocket battery attacks on northern Israel in its recent conflict with Hezbollah, the Israeli government is dramatically boosting the scale of its short-range anti-ballistic missile programs.

Globes Online Israel Business News reported Monday that top-level Israeli defense officials held a meeting last week in which they agreed to give top priority to expanding their ballistic missile defense programs.

Globes said Israeli Defense Minister Amir Peretz, who is under heavy criticism for his handling of the Hezbollah conflict, and reserve Maj. Gen. Gabi Ashkenazi, director general of the Defense Ministry, both attend the meeting.

Globes said the participants in the meeting decided on what it described as a "three-tiered approach to defend Israel against the variety of missile threats confronting it. The outer-most defense ring, or "envelope," the Globes report said, would be to protect the country against ballistic missiles launched by Iran and other nations.

The second ring would be for BMD systems to defend the country against short-range missiles launched from within Syria and Lebanon and the third, inner-most ring of defense would seek to develop very short-range missile defenses against low-tech Qassem rockets that Hamas has fired from Palestinian territories and against the kind of Katyusha multiple rocket batteries that Hezbollah used in the recent conflict.

Globes said the Israelis have already asked the U.S. Northrop Grumman Corp. to provide the Israeli Defense Ministry with what Globes described as "clarifications" about Northrop Grumman's Sky Guard laser system. Globes said the Israelis want to learn about Sky Guard's ability to intercept Katyushas and that they have asked to Northrop Grumman to provide them with information "about the system's operational capabilities, effectiveness, and development and operational deployment costs, within 70 days."

Globes said last week's meeting "implied that Israel already has one operational response for the outer envelope -- against long-range missiles -- using the Arrow anti-ballistic missile system. Israel Aircraft Industries developed the Arrow to intercept and destroy incoming ballistic missiles at heights of 30 to 60 miles above the surface.

Source: United Press International

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Warsaw (AFP) Sep 06, 2006
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