WASHINGTON (Sep. 26)
Israel today became the first non-N.A.T.O nation to acquire “Hawk” type ground-to-air interceptor missiles for anti-aircraft defense as U.S. officials made known that the American military assessment of the Near East situation indicates a need for strengthening Israeli defenses.
U.S. officials stressed that the “Hawk” missiles were purely defensive. In announcing that the United States was now willing to sell Israel the interceptor missiles, the U.S. officials detailed the flow of Soviet jet bombers and missiles to the Arabs.
Civilian contract technicians, representing the U.S. manufacturer of the missiles, may go to Israel to install the weapons. Training facilities exist in the U.S. for maintenance and tactical operation. It is believed that Israeli soldiers will be given instruction here in effective use of the “Hawk.”
U.S. officials said this specific action was taken to overcome what the U.S. military assessment of the region determined to be a growing need by Israel for air defense. The initial Israeli request to purchase the equipment was made in 1959 and has since been under study. Officials stressed that the “Hawk” is short range and can be used only for defensive purposes. An outright cash sale is involved.