TEL AVIV — The U.S. Navy has sent an Aegis missile defense ship to Israel.
The USS San Jacinto has arrived in the Israeli port of Haifa as part of
U.S.-Israel naval cooperation. San Jacinto contains the Aegis missile
defense system, designed to intercept medium- and intermediate-range
ballistic missiles developed by Iran and North Korea.
San Jacinto, a Ticonderoga-class vessel, docked in Haifa on Feb. 4 and
was scheduled to remain in the port for three days. Officials said Israel
Navy officers would tour the Aegis cruiser and receive briefings on the
missile defense system.
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Aegis, which contains the Spy-1A radar, has been developed by Lockheed
Martin. The U.S. company has briefed Israel on Aegis as an option to enhance
the nation's missile defense network.
In 2003, Israel and the United States held the first missile defense
exercise that included Aegis. Since then, Aegis was said to have become
interoperable with Israel's Arrow-2 missile defense system.
Officials expect the U.S. Navy to increase visits to Israel in wake of a
decision by Russia to reestablish a presence in the Mediterranean. The first
U.S. Navy vessel arrived in Israel in late 2007 after an absence of six