A tank missile defense system, developed by the Rafael Armament Development Authority will be ready for installation on IDF tanks in "several months" if the Treasury decides to fund the purchase of the system, The Jerusalem Post has learned.
In addition, Rafael is currently hoping to gain from a Senate decision ordering US Secretary of Defense Donald Rumsfeld to bring outside experts to assess the need for and use of tank defense systems for the US Army. The order from the Senate came following an NBC in-depth investigation into why the US Army had decided to purchase Raytheon's active protection system which would only be ready in five years while the Trophy was already operational and ready to be purchased.
NBC claimed that there was too close an alliance between the US Army and Raytheon and that Raytheon staff were members of an Army team that had rejected the Trophy.
Rafael's Business Development Manager Didi Benyoash said Thursday that the Israeli defense company was conducting "advanced negotiations" with the Pentagon over the purchase of several models of the system to be used in trials on armored vehicles operating in Iraq.
"We will be ready to supply the system in a number of months if we receive orders to from Israel or the US Army," Benyoash said. In March, Rafael conducted a successful experiment of the Trophy for the US Army in Israel. "The war in Lebanon proved that active-protection systems are the only real way today to protect tanks," he added.
While Rafael was hoping to gain from the Senate's decision, Benyoash claimed that the Israeli defense company had "absolutely nothing" to do with the NBC report that exposed the close and possibly illegitimate relationship between Raytheon and the US Army.
The Trophy system creates a hemispheric protected zone around armored vehicles such as the Merkava tank, which operating prominently in Lebanon. The system is designed to detect and track a threat and counters it with a launched projectile that intercepts the anti-tank missile.
The IDF has asked the Treasury for a budget boost following the war in Lebanon amounting to NIS 10 billion. A part of the money, a high-ranking officer said, would be allocated to install active protection systems like the Trophy on IDF tanks.
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