Strategic Weapons: May 2, 2001


Israel is pressuring the US to provide $400 million in development funding for an unmanned aerial vehicle that could detect a ballistic missile launch, and then move to and destroy the launcher before it can return to a reloading area. While the system would do nothing to stop the missile just fired, every destroyed launcher reduces the ability of the enemy to fire more missiles in later days. The Israelis want the program (which the Clinton Administration rejected) because the funding contract for the Arrow anti-missile system runs out in 2002 and Israeli research and development organizations need US money to survive. The US Ballistic Missile Defense Organization is not at all interested, noting that it would have to take money away from American programs to fund the Israeli system. The Israelis are hoping that a new president with a strong interest in missile defense will buy into their concept.--Stephen V Cole


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