US supplies Israel with long-range radar system

September 29th, 2008 - 7:35 pm ICT by ANI  

London, Sept.29 (ANI): The United States has supplied Israel with a powerful long-range radar system that would provide an extra early warning in case of an Iranian missile attack.
According to The Telegraph and The Times, the equipment was flown into Israel last week along with 120 American staff and has been set up at an air force base in the southern Negev desert.
It is believed to be the first time American personnel have been stationed in Israel since the 1991 Gulf war, when Patriot anti-missile batteries were deployed - to little effect - against Iraq’’s Scud missiles.
In spite of the close strategic relationship between the two countries, Israel has traditionally preferred to staff its own defences and not depend on foreigners.
Ephraim Kam, an analyst at Tel Aviv University’’s institute for national security studies, called the radar system an “important addition” to Israel’’s defences.
The agreement to supply the new system to Israel was reportedly finalised in July.
Israel’’s Ha”aretz newspaper suggested the deployment could be seen in two ways: as a means of preventing Israel from taking independent action against Iran; or to strengthen Israel’’s defence against missiles if Israel and/or the US attacked Iran’’s nuclear facilities.
One key feature of the system is that information from early-warning satellites - which greatly increases the radar’’s ability to pinpoint launches - would remain in US hands. The satellite ground station would be in Europe and transmit data to Israel.
Commenting on the development, a Pentagon source said: “We want to put Iran on notice that we”re bolstering our capabilities throughout the region, and especially in Israel. But just as important, we”re telling the Israelis, ”Calm down. Behave. We”re doing all we can to stand by you and strengthen defences”.”
The high-powered X-Band system, manufactured by Raytheon Company, would allow Israel’’s Arrow II ballistic shield to engage an Iranian Shehab-3 missile about halfway through its 11-minute flight to Israel, six times sooner than Israel’’s existing Green Pine radar can.
The X-Band can track an object the size of a baseball from 2,900 miles away.
Iran makes no secret of its long-range ballistic missiles or its uranium enrichment programme though it routinely denies any plans to develop nuclear weapons.
Israel has its own undeclared nuclear arsenal as well as aircraft, missiles and even submarines that could hit Iranian targets.
News of the deployment was broken by Defense News, a US magazine, and confirmed by Israeli officials.
US and German sources said 12 American aircraft delivered the system and personnel last Sunday. (ANI)

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