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Thursday, July 14, 2011     INTELLIGENCE BRIEFING

Israel needs additional $2 billion for full-scale missile defense system

TEL AVIV — Israel has assessed that it requires another $2 billion for ballistic missile defense.


Officials said the Defense Ministry has assessed that it would require more than $2 billion to establish and maintain a full-scale system that could intercept a range of enemy missiles. They said the money would ensure the introduction of new assets as well as enhance existing BMD systems.

"For that, we need an increase in the defense budget," Israeli Defense Minister Ehud Barak said.

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In a July 11 briefing to the Knesset Foreign Affairs and Defense Committee, Barak outlined Israel's BMD needs, Middle East Newsline reported. He cited existing programs such as the Arrow-3 as well as new assets, including the short-range Iron Dome and the longer-range Magic Wand.

"If Israel were to complete equipping itself with all layers of interceptors — Iron Dome, Magic Wand and Arrow — with an estimated investment of seven billion shekel [$2.05 billion] spread across 20 years that could bring a substantial change for the better in Israel's strategic balance in the region," Barak said.

Officials said Iron Dome, designed to intercept missiles and rockets with a range of up to 80 kilometers, was scheduled for full deployment by 2012. Magic Wand was expected to be introduced over the next year. Both systems were produced by Rafael Advanced Defense Systems, with the U.S. firm Raytheon contributing to Magic Wand.

In the briefing, Barak outlined the missile threat to Israel. He said Israel's adversaries, including Hamas, Hizbullah, Iran and Syria, were capable of firing up to 50 ballistic missiles per day.

In contrast, the defense minister, said, Israel could fire more than 1,500 missiles. Barak said Israeli missiles were more far more accurate than those of the adversaries.

"On an average day of warfare around 50 tons of explosives are expected to fall on Israel from scattered weapons," Barak said. "We in turn are capable of firing 1,500 tons but in a very precise way."

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