WASHINGTON – The US Congress on Wednesday approved a $155 million arms package for Israel, aimed at the development of the Hetz and David mid-range defensive missile systems and for the development long-range defensive missile systems.
The arms package is still pending the approval of the US House of Representatives and President George W Bush. The Israeli defense establishment was pleased with Congress' decision, which effectively increases Israel's missile development budget by 30%.
With the allocation of these new funds, the US would be investing some $98 million in the development of the Hetz defensive missile system: Thirty-seven million dollars will be directed towards the Hetz's production in a Boeing factory in the US and by the Israel Aerospace Industries (IAI), and $37 million for its continuing development.
The US will also allocate $37 million for the development of the David mid-range defensive missile system, which is supposed to neutralize threats within a 25 to 125 mile radius, covering both the Hizbullah and Syrian missiles. The David missiles are not designed to fights Qassam or Katyusha rockets.
The remaining funds are to be allocated for the development of long-range missile defense systems aimed at fighting the Iranian threat.