Israel, US agree on deployment of radar defence system

August 17th, 2008 - 5:22 pm ICT by IANS  

Tel Aviv, Aug 17 (DPA) Israel and the US have agreed to deploy high-power early-warning missile radar, which would be linked to a US satellite-based alert network, the Ha’aretz daily reported Sunday. The radar is to be placed in the Negev desert in southern Israel and manned by US personnel, the daily said.

The Israeli defence ministry would not comment on the report.

The system could double or even triple the range of identification, which would be particularly useful should Iran launch an attack on Israel, Ha’aretz quoted a spokesman for the Pentagon’s Missile Defence Agency (MDA) as saying.

The US satellite system will increase the range of Israel’s early-warning system to 2,000 km from the 800 to 900 km of the country’s current Green Pine system and a component of the Arrow anti-missile missile network.

Israel regards Iran as its biggest current existential threat, given Tehran’s nuclear ambitions and President Mahmoud Ahmadinejad’s repeated assertion that the Jewish state should be erased off the map.

The distance between the two countries is around 1,600 km.

The Defence News magazine said the radar will be operated by staff from the US European Command, starting in early 2009. However, its deployment could be moved up to autumn this year to integrate the system with Israel’s Arrow system.

The agreement to deploy the new system has been the focus of discussions between Israeli military Chief of Staff Lieutenant- General Gabi Ashkenazi, and his US counterpart, Admiral Mike Mullen, and by civilian defence leaders of both countries.

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