US to announce massive Iron Dome package (JERUSALEM POST) By YAAKOV KATZ 05/14/12)
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The Obama administration plans to announce this week a $680 million
aid package to Israel for the procurement of additional Iron Dome
Defense Minister Ehud Barak is scheduled to meet with US Defense
Secretary Leon Panetta at the Pentagon on Thursday. Following the
meeting, the two intend to hold a joint press conference where they
will publicize the news.
As of May, Israel possesses four Iron Dome batteries in operation and
the air force plans to deploy an additional three over the coming
year. The $680 million in aid will enable Israel to purchase three to
four more batteries and accompanying interceptors.
Since its deployment last year, Iron Dome batteries have intercepted
nearly 100 Katyusha and Kassam rockets fired into Israel from the
Barakís talks with Panetta will also focus on Iranís continued
pursuit of nuclear capability.
They will also discuss the upcoming second round of talks between
Western powers and Iran scheduled for May 23 in Baghdad.
The new aid package comes after the Obama administration gave Israel
$205 million in 2011 and comes on top of the $3 billion Israel
receives in annual foreign aid from the United States.
There is speculation that the USís decision to increase funding for
Iron Dome could be a sign of improved coordination between Jerusalem
and Washington regarding Iran and possibly an indication that Israel
does not plan to attack the Islamic Republicís nuclear facilities in
the near future.
In addition to funding for new batteries, Congress also supports the
development of Arrow 3 Ė Israelís futuristic defense system against
ballistic missiles Ė as well as Davidís Sling, the medium-range
missile defense system under development by Raytheon and Rafael
Advanced Defense Systems.
Iron Dome is designed to defend against rockets at a range of 4 to 70
km. Each battery consists of a mini multi-mission radar manufactured
by Israel Aerospace Industries and three launchers, each equipped
with 20 interceptors called Tamirs.
The radar enables Iron Dome operators to predict the impact site of
the enemy rocket.
If the rocket is slated to hit an open area, the operator may decide
not to intercept. Each interceptor costs between $50,000-$100,000 and
usually two are fired at rockets slated for interception. (© 1995-
2011, The Jerusalem Post 05/14/12)
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