Missile Defense Systems Boost US Aid to Israel to $3.7 Billion

Iron Dome

Senior US legislators from both parties have submitted a $1.1 trillion spending bill that includes $3.7 billion in aid to Israel in the 2015 fiscal year, which began October 1 2014. The entire amount of this aid will come from the Pentagon’s budget. It includes $3.1 billion in regular annual military aid, in accordance with the multi-year agreement between Jerusalem and Washington, and an extra $619 million for Israel’s missile defense system program, including Iron Dome. This will be one of the largest-ever US military aid packages granted to Israel.

The US budget procedure involves President Barack Obama submitting budget proposals to Congress, which require approval by the legislators. The White House asked for $176 million for Iron Dome (one third of the US $680 million multi-year commitment by Barack Obama in 2012). Congress legislators have added $175 million, meaning that Israel will receive $351 million for Iron Dome in 2015. Since 2011, the US would have granted Israel $1.2 billion for Iron Dome by the end of 2015.

The 2015 US spending bill requires that 55% of the components for Iron Dome be manufactured in the US. The US contractor for Iron Dome is Raytheon, which subcontracts some of the work to other manufacturers. The Israeli contractor is Rafael Advanced Defense Systems Ltd..

Obama also asked Congress to allocate $96 million for the Arrow long range and David’s Sling (known in the US as Magic Wand) medium range missile systems. Congress legislators decided to add $172 million to this amount for a total of $269 million aid for these systems, an identical amount to 2014.

“US Defense News” reported yesterday that Rafael is trying to market Iron Dome to the US Defense Department, emphasizing that the system can intercept drones (Unmanned Aerial Vehicles) as well as missiles. The US Patriot missiles also have the ability to destroy drones and did so to a Hamas UAV over Ashdod in July. However, while each Patriot missile costs $2 million, each Tamir (the missile fired by Iron Dome) costs only $100, 000.

Sources in Israel said yesterday that Israel is enormously grateful to the US that all its requests for military aid have been fulfilled despite the difficult budgetary situation confronting the US.

Published by Globes [online], Israel business news – www.globes-online.com – on December 11, 2014

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