Subscribe to our free daily newsletters
. Military Space News .

Subscribe to our free daily newsletters

U.S. may cut Israel missile shield funds

by Staff Writers
Tel Aviv, Israel (UPI) Dec 27, 2010
Israel's increasingly troubled missile defense shield has taken another knock with media reports that budgetary problems could force the U.S. administration to delay funding for the system still being developed by Israel's defense industry.

The aid could be put back several months, the liberal Haaretz daily reports.

That's likely to heighten Israeli concerns over the vulnerability of the country's cities at a time when the Jewish state faces the growing threat of missile attack on an unprecedented scale from almost every quarter.

Haaretz said the problem stems from U.S. President Barack Obama's difficulties in pushing next year's budget through a recalcitrant U.S. Congress.

That could result in "a long wait before the weapons can be bought" from the main manufacturer, Rafael Advanced Defense Systems.

The state-owned company, one of Israel's leading arms manufacturers, has produced one anti-missile defense system known as Iron Dome, and is developing another, David's Sling, with the Raytheon Co. of Maryland.

The Israeli government has bought two mobile Iron Dome batteries, each costing around $37 million. It needs at least a dozen more in the near future to provide minimal protection but doesn't have adequate funds.

Iron Dome, which was supposed to have been certified operational several months ago, is designed to intercept and destroy short-range missiles and rockets such as the Soviet-designed Katyushas and Grads used by Hezbollah in Lebanon and Hamas in the Gaza Strip.

David's Sling would be used to shoot down medium-range missiles. The third layer in the defense shield, the high-altitude, long-range Arrow-2 system designed to down ballistic missiles, has been deployed since 2000.

It is built by the flagship Israel Aerospace Industries, which is developing a more advanced variant, Arrow-3.

In May, the U.S. House of Representatives approved Obama's decision to provide $205 million in special aid to buy additional Iron Dome batteries.

The Americans are also jointly funding the Arrow program, although it's not clear if this will be affected.

In September, the United States and Israel agreed to advance work on David's Sling being developed by Rafael and Raytheon. But it isn't expected to be operational until 2012.

However, Obama, whose administration has been reeling since Republicans scored heavily in the midterm elections, is seen as having problems getting many of his measures through Congress.

He signed a presidential order outlining his administration's plans until March. That covers the current budget and permits him to spend 1/12th of the 2010 budget every month until March.

Haaretz reported that "under these circumstances, funding for Iron Dome will have to wait until the annual U.S. budget is approved in March."

It said the delays will mean the planned increase of overall U.S. military aid to Israel will also be slowed down.

Israel was to have received $3 billion in 2011 but the aid package will likely remain at this year's level of 2.775 billion. That will affect the Defense Ministry's annual planning.

Haaretz reported the delays mean that "no plan or estimated timetable is in place for producing and purchasing" Iron Dome because there is no U.S. or Israeli funding in place.

The Israeli government has yet to decide on "additional funding to buy more Iron Dome batteries," the newspaper said.

Even without these problems, Iron Dome, and indeed the three-tiered missile defense shield, was facing mounting skepticism about its capabilities against mass salvoes of missiles.

Iron Dome was unveiled with great fanfare in July, two years ahead of schedule after Rafael reportedly had been paid a big bonus to get the system ready before its original 2012 target date.

And then, surprisingly, the military put the two batteries it had in storage in November, claiming crews needed more training on such a complex system.

On Dec. 12, Maj. Gen. Gadi Eisenkot, head of the Northern Command facing Hezbollah, dropped a bombshell: Even though Israeli cities are expected to be primary targets for enemy missiles, the anti-missile systems "are designed to protect military bases, even if this means that citizens suffer discomfort."

These developments have fueled suspicions the defense shield is unlikely to protect the civilian population from what many fear will be the most sustained and destructive bombardment unleashed against Israel.

Share This Article With Planet Earth DiggDigg RedditReddit
YahooMyWebYahooMyWeb GoogleGoogle FacebookFacebook

Related Links
Learn about missile defense at
Learn about nuclear weapons doctrine and defense at
All about missiles at
Learn about the Superpowers of the 21st Century at

Memory Foam Mattress Review
Newsletters :: SpaceDaily :: SpaceWar :: TerraDaily :: Energy Daily
XML Feeds :: Space News :: Earth News :: War News :: Solar Energy News

Poland asked US about missile shield uses: WikiLeaks
London (AFP) Dec 7, 2010
The US told Poland that a proposed American and NATO missile shield aimed at defending against attacks from Iran or Syria could be used to stop "missiles coming from elsewhere," US cables released by WikiLeaks showed Tuesday. Despite repeated claims that the shield is not aimed at deterring attacks from Russia, the correspondence suggests US officials have considered broader uses for the def ... read more

U.S. may cut Israel missile shield funds

First European Missile Successfully Carries Out Ballistic Intercept

Poland asked US about missile shield uses: WikiLeaks

First MEADS Battle Manager Ready For System Tests

France to sell HOT missile to Lebanon

India tests two nuclear-capable missiles

Pakistan test fires nuclear-capable missile

Western Military District Gets First Iskander Tactical Missile System

AeroVironment Receives Order For Raven UAS And Digital Retrofit Kits

US missile salvo kills 15 in Pakistan: officials

Obama's other 'surge': US drone war in Pakistan

Critical Global Hawk Sensor Delivered To USAF

IBCS Completes Warfighter-Centered Design Exercises

Arianespace Will Orbit Sicral 2 Milcomms Satellites

Codan Receives JITC Certification For 2110 HF Manpack

Northrop Grumman Bids for Marine Corps Common Aviation CnC

Argentina military grapples with old stuff

Radiant Mercury System Certified

Ultra Fast Camera Enhances Understanding Of High Explosive Detonation

U.S. Navy sonar system up for BAE upgrade

U.S. dominates Middle East arms market

Israel still eyeing free F-35s

Albanian PM cited as key arms dealer during Kosovo war

US catches up with allies by lifting military gay ban

S.Korea and China military chiefs to hold talks in Beijing

China slams Japan's 'irresponsible' policy

India-China border tensions belie leaders' warm words

Obama to welcome China's Hu Jintao January 19

Navy test fires electromagnetic cannon

Joint High Power Solid State Laser Keeps Lasing And Lasing

Boeing Installing Beam Control System On HEL Laser Demonstrator

Maritime Laser System Shows Higher Lethality At Longer Ranges

The content herein, unless otherwise known to be public domain, are Copyright 1995-2010 - SpaceDaily. AFP and UPI Wire Stories are copyright Agence France-Presse and United Press International. ESA Portal Reports are copyright European Space Agency. All NASA sourced material is public domain. Additional copyrights may apply in whole or part to other bona fide parties. Advertising does not imply endorsement,agreement or approval of any opinions, statements or information provided by SpaceDaily on any Web page published or hosted by SpaceDaily. Privacy Statement