US President Joe Biden’s proposed $14 billion aid package to Israel includes funds to assemble up to 100 more Iron Dome launchers, significantly expanding the IDF’s air defense, Bloomberg reported on Tuesday.
As per the report, citing unidentified US officials, the package would also include funds for some 14,000 interceptors, giving Israel the ability to operate “conservatively 25 new batteries” across Israel, Wes Rumbaugh, a missile defense analyst at the Center for Strategic and International Studies, told Bloomberg.
Currently, the 10 existing Iron Dome batteries each include three to four launchers, 20 Tamir missiles and a battlefield radar.
Rumbaugh cautioned, however, that some of the new equipment could be used to replace existing batteries, rather than add new capabilities. The Defense Department and the Israeli embassy in Washington declined to provide specifics.
The package is a boon to Israel’s state-owned Rafael Advanced Defense Systems Ltd, as well as RTX Corp., the US defense giant that owns Raytheon and Pratt & Whitney and will supply components for the missiles.
The US and Israel in March 2014 signed co-production agreement that allowed components to be made in the US.
The scale of the spending request on missile defense in the White House’s emergency request underscores the significance of such systems for protecting Israeli population centers from rockets launched from Gaza in the south and Lebanon in the north. That’s been crucial amid a steady barrage of rocket attacks in the days since Hamas militants launched an attack into Israel, killing some 1,400 people.
In a statement, the Pentagon confirmed that of the $4 billion requested for munitions procurement, $3 billion was for Iron Dome, and $1 billion was for David’s Sling.
The $1 billion for David’s Sling would buy as many as 650 Stunner interceptors and associated equipment, also co-produced with RTX, according to the US officials. Congress has appropriated over $2.4 billion for the development of David’s Sling since 2005.
The fate of the overall $14 billion aid request for Israel is unclear. Republicans in the House, led by Speaker Mike Johnson, have sought to break out of the funds for Israel from President Joe Biden’s original request, which has support in the Democrat-controlled Senate.
That White House proposal also included funds for Ukraine and Taiwan.