Friday, May 25, 2007

How the US and Israel are integrating their missile defense systems

Part of the joint US/Israeli Arrow Missile defense shield...

It's no news that the US and Israel have cooperated on a number of joint venture military technology projects. It's a natural match - the US gets access to the fruits of Israeli high tech, some of the most sophisticated in the world, and Israel gets the advantage of American defense manufacturing economy of scale and funding.

Lately, America and Israel have stepped up a number of projects,mostly in the missile defense field, and experts are predicting that the US and Israeli missile defense systems will be fully integrated withing 5 years of less.

Congress just allocated another $25 million for the Arrow Missile defense system's production and integration, and $45 million for the development of the short range David's Sling, a missile system which specializes in countering high trajectory projectiles, such as Hezbollah's Katyusha rockets. They also allocated and $135 million for a Terminal High Altitude Area Defense (THAAD) fire unit.

The moving spirit behind this was none other than the House's ranking Republican on the House Armed Services Committee and GOP presidential candidate Duncan Hunter.

"This motion to recommit is $205 million that is dedicated to integrating our missile defense systems with those of Israel, using the great innovation of Americans ... to defend against this new era of terrorists with high technology," Hunter said in a statement.

The House Democrats on the The Strategic Forces Subcommittee of the Armed Services Committee, chaired by Rep. Ellen Tauscher, (D-Calif) had previously cut funding for these programs and had defeated or blocked previous Republican attempts to add the funding back into the legislation.

All in all, US and Israeli anti-missile systems are scheduled to be fully integrated within 5 years, and a further American investment of $1 billion in the Israeli-American joint programs will be added to the $2.8 billion that's already been committed.

The three sytems work together to be the best shield available for missile threats emanating from Syria, Lebanon, or Iran - the Arrow for intercepting incoming missiles at high altitudes, the THAAD to screen broad areas such as cities, air fields, battle zones or military bases and the Patriots to knock out anything that gets by the first two levels.

The integrated missile defense units got their first test in a hush-hush joint US-Israeli Juniper Cobra exercise held in the Negev in March, 2007. How well things went is obvious from Congress approving the additional funding at the increased level.

The integration of America and Israel's missile defense systems is part of Israel filling a major front line role, along with Poland and Czechoslovakia in the missile shield planned for Europe and the West.

Also part of the system is the superb Israeli-made `green pine' radar system.

The wild card in all this is Putin's Russia. Putin is livid about the prospective US missile shield, and has said that he considers the US implementing an anti-missile system in Europe as a threat to Russia.

With Israel as a major link in the American missile defense system chain, Russia again sees Israel as an obstacle to Russia's ambition for power, control and influence in the Middle East. So Russia has been selling Iran and Syria the latest missiles and hardware, including the Russian Iskander E, the export version of the Kolomna-designed 9M72 short-range ballistic missile currently in use by the Russian army.

This is a short range missile, but the Russians are facilitating the acquisition of long range technology to Iran and Syria as well...and have been for some time.

So Israel may once again be playing the role of an integral ally on America's front line in a new `cold war.'

Remember that, the next time you hear some cretin mouthing off about `all that US aid to Israel.'

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