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Monday, April 30, 2012

US wants development rights to Iron Dome

The House Armed Services Committee is seeking development rights to Israel's Iron Dome anti-missile system in exchange for funding the Israeli technology (Hat Tip: MFS - The Other News).
Defense lawmakers in the House have agreed to invest millions of dollars in the Iron Dome anti-missile weapon for Israel, as long as the United States can acquire the development rights to the weapon system.

Members of the House Armed Services Strategic Forces subcommittee elected to set aside $680 million to assist Tel Aviv in buying the Iron Dome weapon in its version of the fiscal 2013 defense spending bill.

In fiscal 2011, Congress approved roughly $200 million for Iron Dome buys. The Pentagon claims the weapon has been vital in repelling short-range rocket and mortar attacks from the Gaza Strip into Israeli territory.

...

The funding would work to "ensure long-term cooperation" between the United States and Israel on Iron Dome development, according to members.

But before any money is moved, House members want Missile Defense Agency chief Lt. Gen. Patrick O'Reilly to "ensure the United States has appropriate rights to this technology."

The United States has invested nearly $900 million into Iron Dome work, "yet the United States has no right to the technology involved," according to the subcommittee's legislation.

The House proposal would share rights to the weapon's proprietary technology "as is consistent with prior U.S.-Israeli missile defense cooperation," according to the subcommittee.

In addition DOD and O'Reilly "should explore any opportunity to enter into co-production of the Iron Dome system with Israel, in light of the significant U.S. investment in this system," according to the panel's draft bill.
Based on past agreements, Israel should be seeking (a) the right to sell the system to whomever it wants (remember the China story several years ago), (b) the right to veto sales to countries that are hostile to Israel (e.g. Turkey) and (c) royalty rights on any sales not to the United States.

Lest you think this is nasty, let's face reality: Israel developed Iron Dome because the United States and the Europeans don't want us to do what really needs to be done, namely to flatten Gaza. I still think we ought to get rid of the terrorist vipers in Gaza, but if we're not going to do that, we at least ought to retain some control over the technology we developed to keep them under control.

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