WASHINGTON (Jun. 23)
A group of 35 Israeli military technicians will arrive in the United States next month to begin training at the Redstone Arsenal, Huntsville, Ala., in the use of the U. S. Army’s Hawk air defense missile, it was disclosed here this weekend. U.S. Army sources said that a total of 114 Israeli military men will be taught in this country to use and maintain the Hawk system.
While Pentagon officials said that no contract has yet been signed, the imminent arrival of Israeli military personnel in connection with training in the Hawk system indicates that negotiations for the sale of the missiles to Israel are drawing to a close and agreement may be reached soon.
A second group of Israeli technicians is scheduled to report to Fort Bliss, Tex., in August to begin drills in Hawk missile firing. Some time next year, seven Israelis will undertake a course at Fort Belvoir, Va.
Israel is buying the supersonic mobile missile to counter a dangerous buildup of air striking power in Egypt. Although built to knock down low-flying airplanes, the Hawk has shown it can intercept battlefield type missiles like the U. S. Honest John missiles which have a 12-mile range. Earlier this month, the U. S, Army set in motion a project to improve the Hawk’s ability to engage tactical ballistic missiles, the kind that might be encountered by a field army.