Defense Ministry chief in US for talks on Iran, anti-Kassam cannon

Pinchas Buchris to brief Pentagon and State Department officials on Operation Cast Lead.

kassam 248.88 (photo credit: Channel 2 [file])
kassam 248.88
(photo credit: Channel 2 [file])
Defense Ministry Director-General Pinchas Buchris made a lightning trip to Washington on Monday for talks with the Pentagon about a wide range of issues, including the Iranian nuclear threat and the ongoing IDF operations against Hamas in the Gaza Strip. Buchris will meet with officials in the Pentagon, the military and the State Department and will brief them on Operation Cast Lead. Defense Ministry officials said the Americans have expressed interest in a number of systems that Israel was operating in the operation, including the Color Red Kassam warning system as well as active-protection systems that had been installed on IDF tanks. Buchris will also brief the US officials on Hamas's use of civilian infrastructure to launch attacks against IDF troops in the Gaza Strip. He will speak with his US counterparts about the Iranian nuclear threat and the continuation of defense cooperation on this issue even after the inauguration next week of President-elect Barack Obama. Israel is hoping to secure commitments from the US military on continued technological cooperation regarding systems that Israel and the US both use and could be applied in the event of a military strike against Iran. Buchris will also ask the Americans for technical information on a rapid-fire cannon it is interested in purchasing to protect strategic installations from the Kassam rockets. The system, called the Phalanx B or C-Ram, was developed by Raytheon and is an offshoot of a model designed to protect against ship-to-ship missiles that is today installed on Israeli missile vessels. The C-RAM is a variant of the American Vulcan Phalanx, a 20-mm. cannon designed to defend navy ships from missiles, and is controlled by an advanced radar system that detects and locks in on incoming enemy projectiles. The system was sent to Iraq in 2006 and is used by the Americans to protect certain installations inside the Green Zone in Baghdad. Defense officials stressed that the Phalanx was not applicable to protecting cities but could only be used to protect strategic installations.