US Congress approves $600m for joint military projects with Israel

Congress added $150 million to the Bush administrations request.

The US Congress has approved $600 million for joint US-Israeli military projects and military procurement from Israel. The allocation, part of the US defense budget for the 2006 fiscal year, passed its final hurdle in the Senate and House of Representatives last Thursday.

As usually happens, Congress added $150 million to the Bush administrations request. The budget for joint project and procurement from Israel is a separate budget item, and not part of regular US aid to Israel. US military aid to Israel in the 2006 fiscal year totals $2.28 billion.

$133 million of the $600 billion is earmarked for the Arrow missile project, which Israel and the US have been jointly financing for over a decade. The Bush administration asked Congress to allocate $87.8 million to the project, and Congress added $45.2 million on its own initiative.

Congress allocated $37.4 million for buying the Litening advanced airborne infrared targeting and navigation pod. Developed by RAFAEL Armament Development Authority Ltd., the Litening provides precise range data for pilots, even at night, and in difficult weather conditions. It facilitates accurate strikes against land-based targets using laser-guided, conventional, and GPS-guided bombs

$22 million was allocated for explosive reactive armor tiles for Bradley armored personnel carriers, a joint project by RAFAEL and General Dynamics (NYSE: GD). $17 million was allocate for the Python improved tactical air launched decoys (ITALD) system, designed for launching over enemy anti-aircraft systems, with the aim of triggering them, and thereby revealing their location. The US will also buy Israel Aircraft Industries-made Hunter and Pioneer unmanned aerial vehicles (UAVs) and night range-finding systems for the US Navy aircraft, and systems for emergency helicopter landings.

Published by Globes [online] - www.globes.co.il - on December 25, 2005

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