U.S. ties Israel aid to Iron Dome technology access

Special to WorldTribune.com

WASHINGTON — The United States has conditioned aid for Israeli
missile and rocket defense to propriety rights in the new Iron Dome system.

Congress has stipulated that U.S. aid for the production of Israeli
missile defense systems would be linked to access to technology.

Israel's anti-missile system Iron Dome. /AP/Dan Balilty

The House Armed Services strategic forces subcommittee, in a directive to the Missile Defense Agency, has approved $680 million for the Iron Dome, designed to intercept missiles and rockets with a range of up to 70 kilometers.

“The committee believes the [MDA] director should ensure, prior to
disbursing additional funds on Iron Dome, that the United States has
appropriate rights to this technology, as is consistent with prior
U.S.-Israel missile defenses cooperation,” the committee said in its markup of the Defense Authorization bill for 2013.

This marked the first conditions stipulated for U.S. assistance to
advance Israel’s production of Iron Dome through 2015. In 2011, Congress approved $205 million for at least six Iron Dome batteries, produced by
Israel’s state-owned Rafael Advanced Defense Systems.

“Yet the United States has no rights to the technology involved,” the
House subcommittee said.

The markup, expected to be completed by June, called on the Missile
Defense Agency to explore the prospect of co-production of Iron Dome. So far,
neither the U.S. military or the Defense Department has expressed interest
in the system.

“The secretary of defense shall establish within the Missile Defense
Agency of the Department of Defense an office to carry out subsection [a] and other matters relating to assistance for Israel’s Iron Dome short-range
rocket defense system,” the subcommittee said.

The subcommittee said the United States should share missile defense
data from the AN/TPY-2 long-range radar deployed in Israel. In its markup
report, the panel, referring to Turkey, expressed concern that NATO would
not relay warnings of Iranian ballistic missile launches to the Jewish
state.

“The committee directs the [defense] secretary to provide verification
to the congressional defense committees within 90 days after the date of the
enactment of this Act that there are no international barriers to sharing
with Israel any missile defense data derived from U.S. systems when the
United States determines that the sharing of such data would further U.S.
national security goals,” the markup report said.

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