Newradar gives Is­rael ‘ex­tra time’

The Jewish Chronicle - - World News - BY YAAKOV KATZ JERUSALEM

AN AMER­I­CAN radar sys­tem ca­pa­ble of de­tect­ing Ira­nian mis­siles from thou­sands of kilo­me­tres away and pro­vid­ing the IDF with crit­i­cal min­utes to pre­pare for an at­tack ar­rived in Is­rael last week.

The radar sys­tem was brought to Is­rael on 12 trans­port planes, to­gether with a crew of 120 sol­diers who will as­sem­ble and ac­ti­vate it in the Negev.

The high-pow­ered radar is called the FBX-T and will be hooked up to the US mil­i­tary’s Joint Tac­ti­cal Ground Sta­tion which tracks bal­lis­tic mis­siles around the world. The data will be pro­cessed and trans­ferred to an IDF com­mand cen­tre where the Ar­row mis­sile sys­tem is op­er­ated.

The FBX-T can de­tect a bal­lis­tic mis­sile shortly af­ter launch and es­ti­mates the time and ex­act lo­ca­tion of its im­pact. Those ca­pa­bil­i­ties will cut the Ar­row’s re­sponse time.

Is­rael be­lieves that Iran is de­vel­op­ing a nu­clear weapon and will ob­tain the ca­pa­bil­ity by the end of the decade. The de­ci­sion to de­liver the radar to Is­rael was made dur­ing a visit by De­fence Min­is­ter Ehud Barak to Wash­ing­ton DC in June.

“This is an ex­tremely ad­vanced sys­tem and only three ex­ist in the world,” said Yif­tah Shapir, head of the Mid­dle East Mil­i­tary Bal­ance Pro­gramme at the In­sti­tute for Na­tional Se­cu­rity Stud­ies in Tel Aviv.

The Ar­row’s radar — called Green Pine — has a range of 900km in com­par­i­son to a FBX-T’s 2,000km range.

“It is ca­pa­ble of dif­fer­en­ti­at­ing be­tween dif­fer­ent mis­siles and de­coys and will pro­vide the IDF with crit­i­cal min­utes to re­spond,” he added.

Each radar costs be­tween $200-$300 mil­lion (£111m-£166m) al­though Is­rael has re­ceived it for free. Is­raeli sol­diers will not be al­lowed for the time be­ing to op­er­ate the radar.

Ac­cord­ing to Mr Shapir, the de­ci­sion to de­ploy the radar was the US’s way of telling Is­rael that it was op­posed to a mil­i­tary strike against Iran.

“Giv­ing Is­rael a radar sys­tem is the Amer­i­can way of say­ing ‘we will help you de­fend your­selves but we want you to sit qui­etly and not to at­tack Iran’,” he ex­plained.

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