TEL AVIV Ñ Israel has failed to complete a missile alert system for
civilian airliners because of lack of funds.
Officials said the Defense Ministry has failed to relay sufficient funds
to ensure the planned pace of development of a missile warning system for
civilian airliners. The system represented a government-financed project by
the state-owned Israel Aircraft Industries and Israel Military Industries
in an effort to foil shoulder-fired surface-to-air missile attacks on
Officials said the funding issue comprises a bureaucratic dispute
between two government ministries, Middle East Newsline reported. They said the Defense Ministry blames the
Transportation Ministry for failing to relay the funds. The Transportation
Ministry said it relayed the funding and that the Defense Ministry was
granted responsibility for the project.
The result has been serious delays in the project. Officials said a
missile alert prototype was meant to have been tested by the end of the year
and the first systems could have been produced in 2004.
The money withheld for the development of the system was reported at six
million shekels, or $1.4 million. Officials said most of the government
funds approved were not relayed to IAI and IMI.
The IAI-IMI system was one of several missile alert prototypes being
developed. Elbit Systems and Rafael, Israel Armament Development Authority
have also developed a system, based on missile alert systems for combat
The failure to complete development of a missile alert system has
reduced Israeli passenger flights to several areas around the world amid an
alert of Al Qaida anti-aircraft attacks. The Israel Security Agency has
banned flights by Israel's national air carrier, El Al, to Kenya because of
the possibility of another attempt by Al Qaida to down an Israeli passenger
jet. In December 2002, an Al Qaida SA-7 surface-to-air missile failed to
down an Israeli airliner in Mombassa, Kenya.