Lockheed Martin and Rafael have been forced by the Israeli Ministry of Defence to introduce measures to safeguard sensitive Israeli technologies within the Python 4 air-to-air missile, which is to be built in the USA.


The dispute hinders Lockheed Martin's plans to enter the air-to-air missile business using its deal with Rafael. The latter expects its partner to provide resources to develop the missile.

The pair has agreed to build the Python 4 at the Precision Guided Systems US (PGSUS) plant in Troy, Alabama, where Rafael's Popeye/AGM-142 Have Nap stand-off strike missile is built.

Opposition within the Israeli defence ministry delayed implementation of the agreement. The fiercest criticism has come from Maj Gen Yitzhak Ben Israel, head of the ministry's research and development directorate.

Lockheed Martin and Rafael are waiting for a decision by Amos Yaron, director general of the Israeli defence ministry.

Rafael sources suggest that the result of the on-going evaluation will be a limitation on the transfer of certain Python 4 technologies to Lockheed Martin, hampering plans for Python's development.

Source: Flight International