This expansion will lead to more than just cooperation between two defence industries. It seems that both sides understand the potential and they will not let it be wasted.
What started in the late 80s as the US funding of an ambitious Israeli programme to develop an anti-ballistic missiles system has become a more profound joint effort, and now it will become even wider and deeper.
Israel Aerospace Industries (IAI) has expanded its agreement with Boeing on the Arrow Weapon System (AWS).
Some of the Arrow-2 missiles are being manufactured by Boeing using Foreign Military Financing (FMF) money. The same arrangement will be used when the production of the more advanced Arrow-3 begins.
“This new agreement is the next logical step in our relationship with Boeing and a strong opportunity for both companies to play a bigger role in the missile defence market,” said Itzhak Nissan, IAI’s president and CEO earlier this week.
The release stated that the IAI-Boeing strategic teaming agreement aims to explore and develop new opportunities in the missile defence arena. But the story is more than just that.
During the past 10 years, IAI and Boeing have collaborated on the successful development, production and deployment of AWS. The two Arrow-2 batteries now deployed in Israel are equipped with missiles that were manufactured at a Boeing plant in Arizona.
IAI is the prime contractor for the AWS programme. It has initiated, developed and deployed the in-service Arrow-2 and, together with Boeing, is developing the Arrow-3, which is a much more capable system.
The word “expansion” was used many times in the official press release. This proves that with Boeing as a more involved partner and not just a subcontractor, the Arrow-2 and 3 may find their way to allies of the US that have an urgent need for such a system.
With North Korea and Iran in the “Unpredictable” box and with the danger that any badly aimed missile could ignite a regional war, the need for a fully operational ballistic missile interceptor is clear.
The deeper involvement of Boeing as much more than a subcontractor may release the brakes that so far the US administration has applied each time on some of the needing countries, and hinted that the solution may come from Israel.