A defense bill proposed Monday by US lawmakers would increase the budget on homeland security to $9.5 billion and allow for more aid to US-Israel military cooperation, according to the Chicago Tribune. The bill would go into effect in the beginning of 2014.
The measure authorizes $173 million in added funding for US-Israeli cooperative missile defense programs, including nearly $34 million to improve the Arrow weapon system and $22 million for work on developing another, more advanced interceptor. The move signals further cooperation between Boeing and Israel Aerospace Industries (IAI).
$117.2 million will go toward development of the David's Sling short-range ballistic missile defense system, which is being developed jointly by Israel's state-owned Rafael Advanced Defense Systems and the US's Raytheon.
The system, which is designed to intercept medium range missiles from nearby Gaza, Syria, and Lebanon, was tested in November with great success. It is slated for deployment in 2014.
The measure also backed US President Barack Obama's request of $220 million for Israel to buy additional Iron Dome short-range interceptor missiles and the batteries they are launched from. An additional $15 million will be directed for US co-production of Iron Dome components. Raytheon has a joint marketing agreement with Israeli state-owned manufacturer Rafael Advanced Defense Systems for the Iron Dome system.
The move follows statements made by US President Barack Obama at Saturday's conference at the Saban Center for Middle Eastern Policy, where he reassured Israel that the US holds Israel's security as "sacrosanct."
"The US military cooperations with Israel have never been stronger. Our intelligence cooperation has never been stronger. Our support of Israel's security has never been stronger," Obama stated.