The Israeli defence ministry has blocked a deal to transfer technologies from the Rafael Python 4 short range air-to-air missile to Lockheed Martin limiting the US company to production of low-value components.

Rafael had planned an almost full transfer of Python 4 production to Lockheed Martin as part of the co-production deal. The Israeli company wanted US funds to develop the Python while the missile would give Lockheed Martin a foothold in the air-to-air missile market dominated by Raytheon.

Opposition from the Israeli defence ministry, in particular, its research and development directorate, has stymied Rafael's plans despite a company appeal to the ministry's director general.

The R&D directorate claims that development of air-to-air missile is critical to national defence and key technologies should not be shared, despite the close links between the Israeli and US defence industries.

Source: Flight International