Great Project, little Fanfare
Israel's next ABM shield
WASHINGTON, (UPI) -- Most international attention on Israel's ballistic missile defense programs has focused on the Arrow interceptor system, the U.S.-bought Patriot PAC-3 and their capabilities for intercepting Shehab intermediate-range missiles from Iran or Scuds that would be fired from Syria.
But now, with little fanfare, Israeli is also energetically pushing ahead with some of its traditional major U.S. high-tech corporate partners with a radically new design to protect the Jewish State from extremely short-range Palestinian missiles. This decision also has revealing strategic implications for the policies of the new government currently being formed by Interim Prime Minister Ehud Olmert in Jerusalem.
The U.S. missile systems maker Alliant Techsystems, or ATK, has joined the Boeing and Israel Aircraft Industries consortium that is participating in Israel's Ministry of Defense Israeli Short-Range Ballistic Missile Defense tender worth $50-100 million, Globes-Israel Business News reported on April 4. A consortium of Raytheon and the Israeli Rafael Armament Development Authority is also participating in the tender, Globes said.
The tender is part of the Israeli Ministry of Defense's Homa project and it is intended develop an anti-ballistic missile defense for the short-range Qassem rockets that Palestinian guerrilla groups like Islamic Jihad have fired into Israeli territory. The Qassems give Palestinian guerrilla groups the tactical capability to threaten major Israeli industrial infrastructure installations in the Ashkelon port area. Israel has huge oil and chemical facilities there.