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Saturday, October 6, 2007

Israel to replenish war stocks from US AID

A report in defense news explains that Israel will replenish stocks of war materials depleted in the Lebanon war from U.S. aid, rather than relying on the local defense industry. U.S. aid must be used to purchase equipment in the United States.
This raises many questions. What happened in the last year that prevented replenishment of war stocks? What would have happened had there been a war with Syria? What will happen to Israeli defense if the US decides NOT to supply arms to Israel at some point?
According to the report:
While Congress and the administration support MoD's acquisition efforts, Israeli industry executives are concerned about the huge amounts of money to be spent on American, rather than locally made, weaponry.

Hardest hit are Israel's state-owned Rafael Armament Development Authority, Israel Aerospace Industries and Israel Military Industries, all of which produce alternative weapons that executives here insist are often more capable than U.S. systems.

Executives here took particular exception to MoD's plans to fill Air Force warehouses with U.S. Sidewinder air-to-air and AMRAAM missiles, when the Python-5, Derby and follow-on indigenous systems were specifically designed to Israeli requirements. Industry sources here note that locally built air-to-air missiles for decades have come to symbolize Israeli industrial acumen on the world market.

If future Air Force stocks are filled with U.S. missiles, firms here not only are denied billions of shekels in new orders, but risk significant erosion in international sales, sources here say.

A particular case for local weaponry was made dramatically by the use of U.S. manufactured cluster bombs, which are made to a low standard and leave a lot of unexploded material that is hazardous to civilians.
The amount of aid cited in the article is not materially higher than aid in previous years, despite the supposed compensation for military sales to Arab countries.
Why doesn't anyone think of releasing a larger share of this aid for use in purchasing Israeli made equipment?
Ami Isseroff

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