Israeli officials are worried that the advanced X-Band radar system that U.S. military forces have deployed in the Negev recently will expose Israeli secrets to American eyes. Time magazine quoted an unnamed "top official" who said the system will allow the U.S. to keep a close watch on anything moving in Israeli skies, "even a bee."
The official said that while the U.S. is a close ally, Israel nonetheless has aviation secrets it would rather not share. “Even a husband and wife have a few things they’d like to keep from each other,” he explained, and added: “Now we’re standing without our clothes on in front of America.."
'Why did we take this?'
Israeli defense experts are reportedly also worried that waves from the X-band radar might throw off the accuracy of a new Gil anti-tank missile also being tested in the Negev. "Th
“Even a husband and wife have a few things they’d like to keep from each other.”
e Bush Administration is in the mood to give us anything, as long as we don't attack Iran," said one senior official. "So why did we take this radar?"
Israel will have no direct access to the data collected by the radar and will only be fed intelligence second-hand, on a need-to-know basis, unless the radar picks up an immediate, direct attack on Israel, Israeli sources said.
Israeli officials also expressed concern that the radar’s installation may anger Moscow, since its range will enable the U.S. to monitor aircraft in the skies over southern Russia. When the U.S. stationed anti-missile radar and interceptor systems in Poland and the Czech Republic, Moscow warned those countries that they could be added to the target list of Russia’s missiles.
Doubling the detection range
"This is and will remain a U.S. radar system," Pentagon spokesman Geoff Morrell said. "So this is not something we are giving or selling to the Israelis and it is something that will likely require U.S. personnel on-site to operate."
Morrell said the X-band radar, developed by Raytheon, would more than double the range of Israel's detection capabilities of enemy missile launches. The Pentagon spokesman did not cite a specific range, but other officials said the U.S. radar would be able to provide detection at a distance of more than 2,000 kilometers.
"This will enable the Israelis to track medium-and-long-range ballistic missiles multiple times better than their current radar allows them to," Morrell said. "So it greatly enhances their self-defense. And we are, if nothing else, committed to the Israelis, Israel's defense."
Info on everything that flies
“America has just as much interest in what is going on in the region as we do,” a senior Israeli defense official explained to the Jerusalem Post. “Keep in mind that while we will receive the radar data, the Americans will be controlling the system and using it for their purposes, as well."
The radar will also provide information on everything that flies – including small objects such as drones – within its range. This will make it possible for the U.S. to know immediately if, for example, Israel moves against Hamas in Gaza or Hizbullah in Lebanon.
Dr. Aaron Lerner of Independent Media Review Analysis (IMRA) commented however that "It isn't clear what 'secrets' about Israel the radar would supply considering that tiny Israel is already well within range of ship-board radar systems."