Budget Deal Includes Increased Military Aid for Israel

WASHINGTON (Reuters) -

A compromise defense bill proposed on Monday by U.S. lawmakers would boost spending on missile defense by $358 million to $9.5 billion, mandating an additional homeland defense radar and increasing funding for U.S.-Israeli cooperative efforts.

The measure authorizes $173 million in added funding for U.S.-Israeli cooperative missile defense programs, including nearly $34 million to improve the Arrow weapon system and $22 million for work on developing an upper-tier interceptor. Boeing has worked with Israel Aerospace Industries (IAI) on the Arrow II and Arrow 3 interceptors.

It also includes $117.2 million for development of the David’s Sling short-range ballistic missile defense system, which is being developed jointly by Israel’s state-owned Rafael Advanced Defence Systems and Raytheon, one of the largest U.S. arms makers.

A new interceptor being developed by Israel and the United States to counter missiles that are held by Syria and Lebanon’s Hizbullah terrorists passed a second live trial last month, according to a summary released by the committees.

The measure also backed President Obama’s request of $220 million for Israel to buy additional Iron Dome short-range interceptors and batteries, and added $15 million to establish a U.S. co-production capability for Iron Dome parts.

Raytheon has a joint marketing agreement with Israeli state-owned manufacturer Rafael Advanced Defense Systems Ltd for the Iron Dome system.

In addition, the measure requires a report on U.S.-Israeli missile defense cooperation, and better reporting by the Missile Defense Agency on the full cost of operating and maintaining missile defense systems.