Israel US effort to meant to counter the effort by Iran and Syria to produce missiles with multiple warheads.
WASHINGTON -- Israel has submitted a request for a joint program with the United States to develop a system that could distinguish between real nuclear warheads and decoys.
The program called for the development of an airborne electro-optic sensor that could determine whether incoming missiles contained real or dummy warheads. The project was meant to counter the effort by Iran and Syria to produce missiles with multiple warheads.
This is news. They are working on a MIRV? They have engineering capable of this?
The U.S. military installs a radar system at a military facility in Israel's Negev desert on Nov. 12. The radar system, which the United States agreed in July to deploy in Israel to counter a perceived missile threat from Iran, is to go operational in mid-December.
"This is one of the biggest challenges Israel and the United States will have in any missile defense system," an Israeli defense source said.
In 2008, Israel began briefing NATO allies on the feasibility of the project, known as the Airborne Early Warning Sensor. At a missile defense conference in July, an Israeli Defense Ministry representative, Guy Aviram, presented the concept of a high-altitude unmanned aerial vehicle that would contain an infrared sensor capable of detecting nuclear warheads.
The UAV, which appeared to resemble the Heron platform of the state-owned Israel Aerospace Industries, was envisioned to be part of the Arrow-3 missile defense program. Arrow-3 was meant to counter an Iranian nuclear missile attack by intercepting warheads in the exoatmosphere.
The sources said the Israeli proposal to the U.S. Defense Department sought a follow-up to the Israel-German IR Bluebird. IR Bluebird, a five-year classified program led by Israel's Rafael Advanced Defense Systems and Germany's Diehl BGT Defence, developed a prototype long-range, high-resolution target-discrimination sensor that was installed on a business jet.
In the next stage, Israel has proposed that the Pentagon finance the development of such a sensor on a UAV. The source said the Pentagon was examining the Israeli request.
"The Israelis want an additional sensor in the air, and since Bluebird is only a demonstrator, they want to replace it with an operational sensor on a UAV," a Pentagon source told the Washington-based Defense News.
The source told Defense News that the Pentagon, which abandoned a similar project (???????????????????), has appropriated $50 million for the Israeli Upper Tier program in 2008 and 2009. Some of the funds has been made available to develop the Bluebird sensor.