United States allocates $500 million for Israel's missile defense systems

On July 14, 2023, the United States House of Representatives passed the National Defense Authorization Act for fiscal year 2024, with a budget of $886 billion. Notably, the legislation includes a provision allocating $500 million for the funding of Israel's missile defense, along with several other measures aimed at supporting the country's security.
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Arrow 3 exoatmospheric hypersonic anti-ballistic missile (Picture source: Israel Aerospace Industries )

The allocated funds will be used for Israel's comprehensive missile defense systems, including the Iron Dome, Arrow II, Arrow III, and David's Sling. These systems, jointly funded and developed with the United States, provide multi-tiered protection against rockets of various sizes and ranges. While the Iron Dome primarily intercepts short-range rockets from Gaza and Lebanon, the other systems protect against larger and longer-range rockets, as well as ballistic and cruise missiles that could be launched by Iran or other potential sources. It is worth noting that the Israeli government recently confirmed that David's Sling was successfully deployed during Operation Shield and Arrow to intercept rockets from the Palestinian Islamic Jihad in May.

Developed by Israel Aerospace Industries (IAI) in collaboration with Boeing, the Arrow III exoatmospheric hypersonic anti-ballistic missile showcases Israel's capabilities in the aerospace technology field.

The power of this missile lies in its two-stage engine, which propels it to operational ranges of up to 2,400 kilometers, effectively countering long-range ballistic threats. The missile's flight ceiling exceeds 100 kilometers, allowing it to operate in the upper layers of the atmosphere. Equipped with a hypersonic propulsion system, it achieves speeds surpassing those of conventional ballistic missiles.

The guidance system of the Arrow III combines an inertial navigation system (INS) with a gimbaled seeker, ensuring precise and accurate target acquisition and tracking. To enhance maneuverability, the missile incorporates thrust vectoring.

In addition to the substantial missile defense funding, the NDAA includes several provisions supporting Israel. These include a requirement for at least two joint military exercises per year between the United States and Israel, an increase of $50 million for advanced technology research and development with Israel, $47.5 million for US-Israeli counter-tunnel cooperation until 2026, and the establishment of a US-funded grant program for joint research with Israel on post-traumatic stress disorder.

The Senate will now begin consideration of its own version of the NDAA, with an initial procedural vote scheduled for July 18, 2023. Subsequently, the House and Senate will work to reconcile the differences between the two versions of the bill. While the $500 million funding has not been fully received yet, the process is well underway.