The price Israel pays for US military grants – getting higher?

The price Israel pays for receiving an annual defence grant from the US is getting higher.


The grant involves buying only US-made weapon systems, so most of the money goes back to the US. At the same time there are many “strings attached”, and these are made of premium steel.


From time to time, Israel gets a reminder of the price it pays. Not everyone is happy with the fact, and this is a major understatement.


The defence ties between South Korea and Israel are very good. In recent years, the Asian country has purchased some Israeli-made military systems worth around $300m, and its aerospace industry is competing, with the T-50, to become the Israeli air force’s advanced trainer.


However, last week another reminder was bluntly put in Israel‘s face.


The South Korean air force plans to upgrade the radar systems of its F-16s.

Not surprisingly, South Korea issued the request for proposals (RFP) only to Northrop Grumman for its scalable agile beam radar (SABR) and to Raytheon for the company’s advanced combat radar (RACR).


In December 2010, I reported that the Israeli ministry of defence does not approve the export of the Israel Aerospace Industries (IAI) EL/M-2052 AESA radar to a number of countries.


The ministry has imposed those restrictions as a result of heavy pressure from the US administration.


The administration’s opposition is not formal, but was “explained” to Israel a few times in the past two years.


Sources say that it is based on the assumption that the export of this very advanced radar will undermine the sale of US-made radars to different countries.


Israeli sources say that the US does not “like” to allow foreign countries to install main systems such as radar in a US-made fighter jet. This may be so and is so in the case of the F-35, but when an F-16 is involved this reason seems a little shaky.


The EL/M-2052 has been developed by Elta, the IAI subsidiary. It uses an array of transmit/receive solid-state modules designed to dynamically shape the radiation pattern using an ultra-low side-lobe antenna.


The radar supports pulse doppler and two axes monopulse guard channels, providing all-aspect, look-down, shoot-down performance, operating simultaneous multi-mode air-to-air superiority and advanced strike missions.


The radar is based on solid-state, active phase array technology, enabling the radar to achieve a longer detection range, high mission reliability and a multi-target tracking capability of up to 64 targets.


It can also support high-resolution target identification and separation, performing raid assessment at long range, as well as surface moving target detection and ranging. In the anti-shipping role the new radar provides long-range target detection, classification and tracking.


With high peak power the radar supports simultaneous multi-mode operation. It can detect targets at very long range while tracking up to 64 targets, and simultaneously engage several targets with missiles.


In ground attack missions the radar supports mapping, navigation and high resolution imagery (SAR), supported with Real Beam Map (RBM) and Doppler Beam Sharpening (DBS) modes.


The EL/M-2052 is designed as a modular system, with built-in growth capability, computation and memory reserves. Its weighs about 130-180kg and consumes 4-10KVA, depending on the design configuration.


Frustration and many unanswered questions follow the slamming of the door in the face of one of the best fighter radar manufacturers.


Will Israel try to change the situation? I hope so. Will it change? Hope is a good feeling. 

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One Response to The price Israel pays for US military grants – getting higher?

  1. James C. 28 November, 2011 at 6:33 pm #

    “The grant involves buying only US-made weapon systems, so most of the money goes back to the US.” True, but bottom line is that Country A is giving Country B $$ billions in direct aid each year. (military and economic) It seems fair for Country A to set certain conditions. Why would Country A give aid to Country B only to have Country B then sell equipment to Country C at the (added) cost of Country A?

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