Leon Panetta Seeks Another $70M for Israel’s ‘Iron Dome’ Rocket Shield
The Pentagon will seek to provide Israel with an additional $70 million in the coming months for its short-range rocket shield, known as the “Iron Dome,” Defense Secretary Leon Panetta said after a meeting with his Israeli counterpart on Thursday.
So far, the United States has provided $205 million to support the Iron Dome, manufactured by Israel’s state-owned Raphael Advanced Defense Systems Ltd. The system uses small radar-guided missiles to blow up in midair Katyusha-style rockets with ranges of 3 miles to 45 miles, as well as mortar bombs.
But top Republicans have criticized President Barack Obama for what they described as inadequate funding of U.S.-Israeli missile defense cooperation in his 2013 budget request released in February amid deficit-reduction requirements.
Legislation moving through the Republican-controlled U.S. House of Representatives would give Israel additional $680 million for the Iron Dome system through 2015, and some House lawmakers are seeking a deal with Israel to share production of the Iron Dome system with U.S. weapons manufacturers.
Obama’s fiscal 2013 budget request calls for $3.1 billion in security assistance to Israel, part of a 10-year, $30 billion U.S. commitment, none of which was scheduled to fund Iron Dome.