TEL AVIV (Jul. 27)
Soviet-made arms and equipment captured from the Arab armies during the six-day war have been put into operational use by the Israel Army of Defense, it was revealed today. No details of the types and quantities of weapons being used were divulged.
Israel captured vast quantities of armaments in the Sinai Peninsula campaign, much of it in a virtually new and unused condition. First reports from the battlefields had indicated that a greater proportion of the Soviet-built Egyptian armament had been destroyed than actually proved to be the case and the Israelis were able to salvage much more usable equipment than had been anticipated.
The quantities of material captured were so great that Israel is able to build up considerable reserves of replacement parts for the maintenance and servicing of the equipment it is putting into use. Israeli scout teams are still uncovering arsenals and dumps in the Sinai Peninsula.
In the equipment Israel captured were light and heavy tanks, troop-carriers, weapons-carriers, artillery of all sizes, radar units, other electronic detection devices, tools and spare parts to keep this equipment in service, and ammunition and fuel.
It was only because of the great quantities of material captured, with the stockpiles this permits, that Israel could consider making the Soviet arms operational since it would be most unlikely that the Soviet Union would sell Israel parts and replacements.
ISRAELI ARMY IS TESTING NEW BRITISH HEAVY TANK
Israeli Defense Ministry sources also revealed today that they had been making exhaustive tests of the powerful new British heavy tank, the Chieftain, to see how it stands up to desert conditions. Israel has two of the 45-ton behemoths but did not use them during the six-day war. Results of the tests, now nearing completion, were reportedly being awaited with interest in Britain. The Israelis have seen enough of the Chieftain to be interested in incorporating a few units composed of Chieftains in their armored divisions. The vehicles cost about $260,000 each.
The backbone of the Israeli armored force now is the British-built Centurion, a heavier tank than the General Sherman Israel obtained from the United States and West Germany and captured from Jordan, but not as heavy as the Chieftain. The Centurion was described as having performed excellently in the Israeli Army’s dash across the Sinai Peninsula in June. Israel was said to be interested in acquiring more of the late-model Centurions from Britain.