eucom & israel integral missile defense

EuCom deploys radar, troops to Israel
Gayle S. Putrich, Army Times, Sep 26 2008

US European Command has deployed to Israel a high-powered X-band radar and the supporting people and equipment needed for coordinated defense against Iranian missile attack, marking the first permanent US military presence on Israeli soil. More than a dozen aircraft, including C-5s and C-17s, helped with the Sep 21 delivery of the AN/TPY-2 Transportable Radar Surveillance/Forward Based X-band Transportable, its ancillary components and some 120 EuCom personnel to Israel’s Nevatim Air Base southeast of Beersheba, said sources here and in Stuttgart, Germany. Among the US personnel is at least one representative from the Missile Defense Agency, although officials said the agency had little to no say in the deployment decision. MDA involvement has been confined to providing equipment and advice on technical aspects of its deployment, one official said. The Raytheon-built FBX-T system is the same phased-array radar that was deployed to northern Japan with the US Pacific Air Forces in 2006. The high-powered, high-frequency, transportable X-band radar is designed to detect and track ballistic missiles soon after launch. Its ancillary gear included cooling systems, generators, perimeter defense weaponry, logistics supplies and dozens of technicians, maintenance specialists and security forces to operate and defend the US installation. EuCom has repeatedly deployed troops and Patriot air defense batteries for joint exercises and Iraq-related wartime contingencies but has never before permanently deployed troops on Israeli soil.

In previous interviews, US and Israeli officials confirmed that the X-band deployment plan was approved in July, first by Adm. Mike Mullen, chairman of the Joint Chiefs of Staff, and his Israeli counterpart, Lt. Gen. Gabi Ashkenazi; and then by Defense Secretary Robert Gates and Israeli Defense Minister Ehud Barak. The radar will be linked to the US Joint Tactical Ground Station, which receives and processes threat data transmitted by US Defense Support System satellites. According to US and Israeli sources, JTAGS will remain in Europe, but its essential cueing data will stream into the forward-deployed X-band radar, where it instantaneously shares information with Israel’s Arrow Weapon System. Once operational, the combined US and Israeli system is expected to double or even triple the range at which Israel can detect, track and ultimately intercept Iranian missiles, according to Lt. Gen. Henry Obering, director of the MDA. A US government source said the X-band deployment and other bilateral alliance-bolstering activities send parallel messages: “First, we want to put Iran on notice that we’re bolstering our capabilities throughout the region, and especially in Israel. But just as important, we’re telling the Israelis, ‘Calm down; behave. We’re doing all we can to stand by your side and strengthen defenses, because at this time, we don’t want you rushing into the military option.’”

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