Israel has asked Congress for an additional $317 million for missile defense systems, Bloomberg reported Saturday. The funds were reportedly requested for the David’s Sling and Arrow 3 systems.
Israeli defense officials declined to comment.
According to Bloomberg, the request for funds is on top of the $158m. earmarked by President Barack Obama for Israeli air defense programs.
“Israel’s latest lobbying on Capitol Hill, instead of through the White House and Pentagon, comes at a low point in political relations between the US and Israel over Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu’s planned speech to Congress on March 3 to derail what he calls an emerging ‘bad deal’ by the Obama administration to curb Iran’s nuclear program,” the Bloomberg report said.
“Yair Ramati, the director of Israel’s missile defense organization, visited lawmakers and aides to the congressional defense committees on February 2 and 3 to outline the case for more money and thank them for past assistance, according to people familiar with the meetings who asked not to be identified describing the private discussions,” it added.
David’s Sling can intercept short-range to medium-range rockets and missiles, including Hezbollah’s Katyusha rockets, as well as cruise missiles and intruding aircraft. Its range of coverage is three times that of the Iron Dome anti-rocket defense system.
It has been deployed in various areas around Israel for a trial period. Set to become operational in the near future, the Arrow 3 missile defense system operates in space, traveling at twice the speed of a tank shell to leave the atmosphere. It is designed to seek and destroy ballistic missiles, such as the Iranian Shahab 3.