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Bush signs defense funding bill

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President Bush signed a defense funding bill that includes $450 million in cooperative projects with Israel.

The package enacted Tuesday includes $155 million for missile defense – $75 million more than Bush had requested. In addition to funding for the successful Arrow interceptor, it includes $37 million for a short-range interceptor, research prompted by the war Hezbollah launched against Israel in 2006.

Other projects include $39.6 million for Litening, an attachable pod that enhances strike capabilities for combat aircraft, and $36.5 million for Hunter unmanned aerial vehicles.

The $450 million is not seen as part of the overall $2.4 billion the United States gives Israel in defense assistance, as the United States benefits in use and profit from the defense cooperative programs. The Litening system and the Hunter UAVs, for instance, have principally been used by U.S. forces in Iraq and Afghanistan.

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