US X-Band radar for early Iranian missile detection, but no US involvement in any Israeli attack

The United States agreed to link Israel up to two advanced missile detection systems against potential attack by a nuclear-armed Iran, Israeli defense minister Ehud Barak said Tuesday night, July 30, at the end of his Washington talks. But US officials made it clear that, while prepared to help Israel defend itself against Iranian missile retaliation, they are determined not to be involved in any Israeli attack on Iran’s nuclear sites.
debkafile‘s military sources report that Washington would deliver within six months “before the new US administration arrives” in January, a powerful forward-based X-band FBX-T radar. Increased access to its Defense Support Program (DSP) satellites, which spot missile launches, would take longer.
By putting a time frame around delivery, the Bush administration holds off a possible Israeli attack on Iran for as long as possible.
Barak’s talks with Vice President Dick Cheney, defense secretary Robert Gates and secretary of state Condoleezza Rice ended in agreement for Washington to deliver:
1.The transportable FBX-T radar system built by Raytheon Co. which, by providing early and accurate target-tracing and signature data, enlarges the effective battle space of missile interceptors. US officials say it can track an object the size of a baseball from about 4,700 km, and can be launched from air, sea or land.
It would allow the Israeli Arrow anti-missile system to engage an incoming Iranian Shehab-3 ballistic missile about halfway through its estimated 11-minute flight. This would give a potentially targeted Israeli population five minutes to prepare for an Iranian missile hit. This would make up for the deficiency of Arrow’s Green Pine radar, which can detect a missile launch in Iran only after it enters the atmosphere on its way to its Israeli target.
2. Increased access to the US Defense Support System (DSP) satellites, which spot missile launches, would help Israel cover the first 5.5 minutes of a Shehab is firing.
This access has hitherto been provided as per request – such as last September for the Israeli strike against Syria’s nuclear facility.- rather than on a constant basis.
debkafile‘s sources note that this access continues to be hedged around by the need in every case for lengthy discussion on whether it is applicable to a given military contingency. It is therefore unlikely to be available before the next president enters the White House and will then be subject to his confirmation. Here too, the Bush administration is stretching out the time table for an Israeli attack well into the future.
3. A US consent in principle to the upgrading of the Israeli, largely American-funded Arrow. The projected Arrow III would be capable of shooting down attacking missiles at greater atmospheric heights than the present version as a safeguard against nuclear fallout. It was not clear whether the administration means to grant Israel the required technology or replace the Arrow with American systems.
The upshot of the Israeli defense minister’s mission to Washington for a boost to Israel’s military capability for a possible preemptive attack on a pre-nuclear-armed Iran was therefore the promise of hardware to give Israel more time to defend itself against Iranian missile reprisals.

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