<%@LANGUAGE="VBSCRIPT" CODEPAGE="1252"%> WorldTribune.com: Mobile Israel gets X-Band anti-missile radar one year ahead of schedule

Israel gets X-Band anti-missile radar one year ahead of schedule

Friday, October 3, 2008 Free Headline Alerts

WASHINGTON The United States is making clear that it has not sold Israel the X-band radar that arrived there in late September to answer a growing Iranian missile threat.

Officials said hundreds of U.S. Army personnel would operate the AN/TPY-2 X-band radar in Israel's southern Negev desert for missile defense.

Officials said the deployment of the AN/TPY-2, approved by Defense Secretary Robert Gates in late September, was deployed nearly a year ahead of schedule. They said the decision reflected U.S. concerns about Iranian ballistic missile threats against Israel.

"There is a growing ballistic missile threat in the region, particularly, from Iran," Morrell said. "And no one in the region should feel more nervous about that threat than the Israelis. And they clearly do and they have asked for our assistance. And we have now provided it in the form of this, this X-band radar equipment."

"This is and will remain a U.S. radar system," Pentagon spokesman Geoff Morrell said. "So this is not something we are giving or selling to the Israelis and it is something that will likely require U.S. personnel on-site to operate."

In a Sept. 30 briefing, Morrell confirmed reports that the X-band radar had arrived in Israel in late September 2008. He said U.S. European Command would require 120 soldiers to deploy and begin operations of the missile defense radar.

"I don't think it will require them in the numbers it takes to get it up and running, but I think that there will be U.S. personnel needed to run this," Morrell said.

Morrell said the X-band radar, developed by Raytheon, would more than double the range of Israel's detection capabilities of enemy missile launches. The Pentagon spokesman did not cite a specific range, but other officials said the U.S. radar would be able to provide detection at a distance of more than 2,000 kilometers.

"This will enable the Israelis to track medium-and-long-range ballistic missiles multiple times better than their current radar allows them to," Morrell said. "So it greatly enhances their self defense. And we are, if nothing else, committed to the Israelis, Israel's defense."

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