The Defense Authorization bill that cleared the U.S. House of Representatives on May 22 ties funding for Israel missile defense to increased participation by American firms. The bill almost doubles next year’s funding for Israel’s Iron Dome missile defense program, adding $175 million to the $176 million requested in President Obama’s fiscal year 2015 budget proposal.
The Armed Services Committee report accompanying the bill, however, conditions the extra funding to assurances that American defense firms get a slice of the action and that the U.S. government gets technical know-how from the program. “Coproduction of parts and components should be done in a manner that will maximize U.S. industry participation in interceptor and battery deliveries for Israel’s defense needs,” the report states.
Last year’s defense bill included initial funding to establish a U.S. production facility and U.S. arms maker Raytheon is set to start partnering with Iron Dome’s Israeli maker, Rafael, this year for co-production of the battery’s Tamir missiles.
A senior official at a pro-Israel group said the push for increased involvement by U.S. firms can only benefit the Iron Dome partnership. “From the Israeli side, it gives the United States a stake in continued production. From the U.S. side, it’s a response to defense lobbies that want a piece of the action.”
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