Why More of Israel's Iron Dome Will Be Made in the U.S.
Peter Coy. . . .8/16/2014
Most of the funding for Israel’s highly effective Iron Dome
rocket-defense system has come from the U.S. In exchange for more funds,
the Pentagon is now requiring Israel to buy more of the parts of the
missile-defense system from American contractors, including
The Senate Appropriations Defense Subcommittee approved on Tuesday a
draft 2015 defense spending bill that would double—to $350 million—current
levels of U.S. funding of Iron Dome. The full appropriations panel will
consider the bill on Thursday.
Iron Dome has saved the lives of Israelis by exploding Hamas rockets in
the air before they have a chance to land and deliver their lethal
I saw the interceptors in action during a recent vacation in Israel.
But countering the spray of rockets from Gaza is using up a lot of
Tamir interceptor missiles. Israel is getting supplementary funds from the
Defense Department to replenish its inventory of interceptors and to build
new mobile launch batteries. Meanwhile, the quid pro quo of more U.S.
sourcing is starting to go into effect.
As Bloomberg’s Tony Capaccio
reported in May, before the latest barrage of rockets from Hamas:
Story: Israel's Iron Dome Is Amazing, and That's a Problem
“The Israeli government has agreed to spend more than half the funds
the Pentagon provides for its Iron Dome system in the U.S., bolstering
the political appeal of the missile-defense system in America.”
Raytheon, which is in Waltham, Mass., is the world’s biggest missile
maker. It’s under contract with Iron Dome’s Israeli maker,
government-owned Rafael Advanced Defense Systems, to find suitable U.S.
suppliers, the Missile Defense Agency said in the report.
Israel has expressed concern that sourcing parts in the U.S. could cost
more. So there’s a provision allowing production of any part to revert to
Rafael if its U.S. price exceeds what it would cost to make in Israel by
5 percent or more, according to the documents.
Foreign Policy magazine
reported on its website Tuesday that House committee members have “a
long list of questions for the Israelis about how they plan to spend the
money” and won’t turn over the funds until the questions are answered to
the satisfaction of the Pentagon’s Missile Defense Agency. It said that’s
not expected to be a problem.
Israel gets more military funding from the U.S. than any other nation.
It’s also allowed to spend more of it on non-U.S. sources than other
recipient nations. A Congressional Research Service
report in April
said that the U.S. had provided more than $700 million to Israel for Iron
Dome. The latest bill would lift that to about $1 billion.
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Photograph by Ilia Yefimovich/Getty Image