US bipartisan defense budget deal includes Israeli missile funding

Democrat and Republican lawmakers Tuesday night agreed to a defense bill for the coming fiscal year that would boost US missile defense spending by $358 million to $9.5 billion. Approved in the package is $173 for joint missile defense projects underway with Israel. This is separate from the $3.1 bn in annual US military aid. The bill must go to Congress for a final vote. The Israeli allocation includes nearly $34 million for improving the high-altitude Arrow 3 system, designed to intercept Iran’s Shehab-3b and Sejjil-2 ballistic missiles beyond the atmosphere. Further testing is scheduled for the coming 18 months, including one launch into space.

Included is $22 million for developing the system’s “kill vehicle.”

Also funded is David’s Sling for countering medium-range threats in the gap between Arrow 2 and the Iron Dome, which counters short-range missiles and rockets. Obama promised Israel $200 million for additional Iron Dome batteries to cover the country on top of the five already deployed.

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