Israel’s ‘Arrow” missile defense system involves various arrangements with U.S. Boeing Corporation. The Israel Air Force (IAF), which operates the Arrow, will likely meet its desired goal of deploying 200 interceptors in inventory on schedule. Arrow managers also hope to sell their product to other carefully-selected states. This would help Israel to reinforce its qualitative edge over all adversaries, a concern the Group considered all during its work Currently, Israeli engineers are taking appropriate steps to ensure that Arrow will function well alongside American “Patriot” systems. The Group advised that the IAF continue working energetically on all external and internal inter-operability issues.
In its effort to create a multi-layered defense system, Israel may already be working on an unmanned aircraft capable of hunting-down and killing any enemy’s mobile ballistic missile launchers. Israeli military officials have tried to interest the Pentagon in joining the launcher-attack project, known formally as “boost-phase launcher intercept” or BPLI. For the moment, Washington appears focused on alternative technologies. The Group advised the Prime Minister that Israel undertake BPLI with or without US support, but recognized that gaining such support would allow the project to move forward more expeditiously and with greater cost-effectiveness. Also, enlisting U.S. support for BPLI would represent another important step toward maintaining Israel’s qualitative edge.
Project Daniel underscored the importance of multi-layered active defenses for Israel, but affirmed most strongly that Israel must always prepare to act preemptively before there is any destabilizing deployment of enemy nuclear and/or biological weapons.
My next column, the tenth and final part of the Project Daniel series, will review the Group’s all-important conclusions. As always, I shall be pleased to respond promptly to any of my reader’s questions at the following e-mail: BERES@Polsci.Purdue.Edu
(c) Copyright, The Jewish Press, 2004. All rights reserved.
LOUIS RENE BERES (Ph.D., Princeton, 1971) lectures and publishes widely on international relations and international law. He is Chair of Project Daniel as well as Strategic and Military Affairs columnist for The Jewish Press.