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Israel Invests USD 1bn in Iron Dome

Service : Economy
TEHRAN, May 9 (ICANA) – An Israeli official says Tel Aviv will invest one billion dollars to improve the Iron Dome missile system following Washington's financial aid to the project.
Monday, May 09, 2011 6:45:03 PM
Israel Invests USD 1bn in Iron Dome

Defense Ministry director-general Major General Udi Shani said on Monday that Israel would invest heavily in the system to boost its capacity.

"We are talking about 10-15 Iron Dome batteries. We will invest nearly USD 1 billion in this. This is the goal, in addition to the USD 205 million that the US government has authorized," he was quoted as saying by the Ha'aretz daily.

Last month, the US Congress approved USD 205 million -- sought last May by President Barack Obama -- to help Israel deploy a short-range anti-missile system called Iron Dome. The aid became official when Obama signed off on a 2011 budget appropriation.

The figure is in addition to Washington's annual military finance package to its key ally Israel.

Since 2007, the US has allocated close to USD 3 trillion per year to Israel, entirely devoted to the purchase of US weapons, under a bilateral memorandum valid until 2017.

The funds are paid from the American taxpayers' coffers, although Washington is grappling with its worst economic downturn since the Great Depression of the 1930's.

The Israeli army has deployed Iron Dome in two locations, first in the southern desert city of Beersheva on March 27, and around the southern port city of Ashkelon on April 4.

Tel Aviv has also two other systems -- the Arrow long-range ballistic missile system and the so-called David's Sling or Magic Wand system.

The Israeli official said Tel Aviv plans to invest another USD 1 billion in David's Sling over five years, and that the system should have its first operational capacity by 2012.

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