'US radar could jeopardize IDF secrets'

'Time' quotes Israeli official saying "Even [spouses] have a few things they'd like to keep from each other."

October 3, 2008 12:16
2 minute read.
'US radar could jeopardize IDF secrets'

x-band radar 248 88. (photo credit: Courtesy)


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Israel is wary of the deployment of the new US high-powered radar facility in the Negev, Israeli officials were quoted as saying Thursday. "It's a like a pair of golden handcuffs on Israel," one top official told Time Magazine. The magazine reported that IDF officials feared that although the radar would enhance Israel's protection against Iran, it might also reveal Israel's military secrets to the US. The radar will allow the US to keep a close watch on anything moving in Israeli skies, "even a bee", a top Israeli official, who asked not to be identified, told Time. "Even a husband and wife have a few things they would like to keep from each other," said the official. "Now we're standing without our clothes off in front of America." The X-Band radar's arrival in Israel last Sunday was kept under tight wraps until it was revealed over the weekend by Defense News, an industry newsletter. According to the current plan, US soldiers will control the radar, which will be connected to the Israeli Air Force's Arrow control room in Palmahim. The Jerusalem Post reported on Sunday that an IDF request to permit Israeli soldiers to control the radar had been declined. Time went on to say that Israeli officials had expressed concern that the radar might anger Moscow, since its range would allow the US to monitor aircraft over southern Russia, and might prompt Russia to supply Iran and Syria with its S-300 anti-aircraft missiles. The magazine also reported that Israeli planning and air force officials expressed concern that Defense Minister Ehud Barak did not assess the radar's possible impact on IDF operations before approving it. The magazine said that Israeli defense experts feared that waves from the X-band radar might throw off the accuracy of a new Gil anti-tank missile also being tested in the Negev. "The Bush Administration is in the mood to give us anything, as long as we don't attack Iran," said one senior official. "So why did we take this radar?" The system, which came in a convoy of 12 transport planes and together with a 120-member crew, has been set up temporarily at the Nevatim air base in the Negev and will be moved to a permanent site in the next few months. The high-powered radar, known as FBX-T, will be hooked up to the US military's Joint Tactical Ground Station and, assisted by satellites, will be capable of picking up a ballistic missile shortly after launch at which point it can estimate the time and location of its impact. Those capabilities will cut the response time of Israel's Arrow anti-missile system, which currently works with a less advanced radar.

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