JERUSALEM (JTA) – Israel’s defense minister wants to buy a U.S. military system to protect its southern towns and strategic facilities from Gaza-fired rockets.
Ehud Barak will ask the Pentagon to sell a Vulcan-Phalanx cannon and radar system to Israel at a cost of $25 million, Israel’s daily Ha’aretz reported Tuesday.
The units now in production are earmarked for the U.S. Army in Iraq and Afghanistan. The system would intercept short-range Kassam rockets and mortars, and provide early warning.
"The Vulcan-Phalanx cannons and radar will be part of a multi-layer defense to intercept rockets," Barak told Ha’aretz. "Such defense, as far as I am concerned, is a strategic goal. The goal is to create a situation where as many rockets as possible launched at Israel are intercepted."
Barak will travel to Washington in June to ask U.S. Secretary of Defense Robert Gates to allow Israel to receive one system as soon as possible, according to the paper.
The Israeli-produced Iron Dome system, still under development by Rafael Advanced Defense Systems, will intercept longer-range rockets.
Senior Defense Ministry officials have objected to the proposed Vulcan-Phalanx purchase since it is not made in Israel.