IDF tank 311.
(photo credit: REUTERS)
General Dynamics Corporation unit General Dynamics Land Systems will buy
components from Israeli companies for M1A2 Abrams tanks and Stryker armored
personnel carriers (APCs) for the US Army, as well as other products, as part of
reciprocal procurements agreements with Israel.
General Dynamics recently
signed an agreement with the Industry, Trade and Labor Ministry’s Industrial
Cooperation Authority to make $150 million of reciprocal procurements in Israel
in exchange for manufacturing the Israelidesigned Leopard APC, considered one of
the most advanced APCs in the world, for the IDF. General Dynamics will begin
production of the Leopard in 2013.
Defense establishment sources say the
deal will enable Israel to boost production of the Merkava 4 tank by freeing up
the shekel budget, because the Leopards will be bought with money from US
military aid. Final assembly of the Leopards will be carried out at the Tank
Development Administration in Israel.
Scores of mostly small Israeli
companies that manufacture Merkava and Leopard components have been increasing
worried in recent months about the transfer of Leopard production to General
Dynamics, saying it was jeopardizing their business.
In response to these
concerns, General Dynamics’s Israeli representative, Elul Tamarynd Ltd.,
convened representatives of defense contractors several weeks ago to update them
on ways to participate in General Dynamics’s planned reciprocal
Participating Israeli companies included Israel Military
Industries Ltd., Tefen Metal Castings Ltd., Simat Industries Ltd., Imco
Industries Ltd., Agam Metals Ltd. and Yail Noa Ltd.
CEO Avner Raz said General Dynamics has appointed a special team to handle
relations with Israeli companies.