CARACAS (Jul. 27)
The Venezuelan Ministry of Defense is negotiating an $84 million contract with the Israel Defense Force for the purchase of 25 ground-to-ground rocket batteries, according to a report in the daily newspaper, Diario de Caracas.
The army’s modernization program is ultimately destined to enable it to achieve parity with the navy, which has acquired five “Lupo” class missile frigates from Italy in the last few years, and the airforce, which earlier this year bought 24 U.S. F-16 fighter jets.
The Venezuelan F-16 purchase set off an acrimonious debate in the U.S. Congress over the introduction of such a sophisticated fighter jet to South America. The main argument against the sale was that it would initiate an arms race that the financially strapped region could ill afford; however, the contract was eventually approved.