TEL AVIV (Aug. 29)
Defense Minister Ezer Weizman is expected to ask the Pentagon for additional military aid when he goes to Washington in two weeks in order for Israel to meet a new military danger caused by the Soviet Union’s shipment to Syria of its most modern tank. Reports from Damascus yesterday said the Soviet Union had supplied Syria with some 100 of the T-72 tanks which are reportedly superior to the American-made M-48 and the British Centurion which are used by Israel. Pentagon officials said yesterday that the Syrians had received 70 of the new tanks, which had never before been supplied outside of the Warsaw Pact countries. Western military experts in Damascus were reported as saying that Syria would eventually receive a total of 150 T-72s which would be enough to equip a mechanized infantry division.
The new tank has a 125-millimeter gun, a highly sophisticated firing control system, a laser range-finder, computers and night-sighting equipment. It also has an automatic loading system and has a crew of three. (By Yitzhak Shargil)