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House Committee Adds Language to Bill that would Deepen U.S.-Israel Missile Defense Ties

Omri Ceren

Language attached to the $600 billion National Defense Authorization Act (NDAA) by a House Armed Services Committee (HASC) report may deepen American-Israeli cooperation in developing and producing missile defense technology – with the provision aiming to ensure “coproduction of parts and components [for the Iron Dome system]… in a manner that will maximize US industry participation in interceptor and battery deliveries for Israel’s defense needs” – according to an extensive write-up on the relevant sections published on Thursday by Al Monitor’s Congress Pulse:

The report language is but the latest move in a long-standing effort by Congress and US arms makers to ensure the United States gets access to the Iron Dome market and its Israel-made technology. Last year’s defense bill included initial funding to establish a US production facility and US arms maker Raytheon is set to start partnering with Iron Dome’s Israeli maker, Rafael, this year for co-production of the battery’s Tamir missiles.

It also cited a May 2012 report by Gabriel Scheinmann, then a visiting fellow at the Jewish Institute for National Security Affairs, calling on U.S. lawmakers to take steps that would “transform Iron Dome into a jointly owned and managed US-Israeli defense system.”

Joint production would be the latest addition to a broad array of dual military projects between the two allies.

Analysts have emphasized that military-to-military ties allow the U.S. to leverage “unique Israeli capabilities in key ‘niche’ areas of military technology,” with drone development often being cited as a key area alongside missile defense and cyber-cooperation.

For its part, Iron Dome has also been discussed in the context of defending U.S. allies such as South Korea and Singapore, while India earlier this month moved toward acquiring a range of Israeli anti-missile defenses:

India is hiring several Israeli defense firms to work with DRDO (the Indian Defense Research and Development Organization) and several state-owned defense firms to design and build an integrated anti-missile defense system. India already has a tested and proven anti-missile ABM (Anti-Ballistic Missile) but wants something like the anti-missile system Israel has developed and deployed over the last two decades. This may involve buying the latest models of Israeli Green Pine radar, which is a key element of the Israeli anti-missile defenses.