Israel willing to forgo some US missile defense aid, says report

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August 5, 2013 00:58

J'lem reportedly offered to waive nearly $55m. in US aid in light of considerable cuts Washington made to defense budget.

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Iron Dome rocket defense battery [file]

Iron Dome battery 370. (photo credit:Ben Hartman)

Israel has offered to waive nearly $55 million in US aid for its missile defense programs, the Defense News website reported over the weekend.

Defense officials in Israel declined to comment on the report.

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According to US-based Defense News, in light of the considerable cuts Washington has made to its defense budget, Jerusalem has sought to shoulder its part in the new, harsher financial reality. The US cut $37 billion from its defense budget this fiscal year and is expected to cut $52b. in 2014.

The Israeli offer came despite a commitment by US President Barack Obama to leave aid for Israeli missile defense programs untouched.

US aid has contributed to the development of the Arrow 3 system, which is designed to intercept ballistic missiles in space. It has also helped fund the lower-tier Arrow 2 interception program, as well as David’s Sling, designed to shoot down intermediate-range rockets and cruise missiles, and the Iron Dome system for short-range threats.

The US gave Israel $211m. for development of the Arrow 3 system in 2012 and will transfer $269m. this year. It has earmarked a further $250m. to contribute to the production of four Arrow 3 batteries and is expected to examine a request for four more batteries at a cost of $680m.

Future batteries of the system are expected to have more interceptors, making them more expensive. In recent months, amid tension with Iran, Israel has stepped up the Arrow 3’s development and production rate.

According to Defense News, Israel was also slated to receive $213.9m. for David’s Sling.

In June, Prime Minister Binyamin Netanyahu said Israel would not object to a five-percent cut in its annual military assistance from the US.

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