ISRAEL LINE Thursday, November 5, 1998


The Ministry of Defense has decided to move ahead with plans to develop a missile-bearing pilotless plane capable of flying at 50,000 feet and attacking long-range missiles upon their launch, rather than during their re-entry as with the Arrow anti-missile missile, HA'ARETZ reported. The cost for the new plane, dubbed the HA-10, is expected to reach more than $2 billion, spread out over seven to 10 years, and Israel is expected to ask the United States to help finance the project.

Israel is raising the concept of the defensive craft now because of developments in research for the project and because of increasing awareness in Washington's political establishment of the dangers posed by the Iranian long-range missile project.

A delegation from the Defense Ministry is scheduled to depart for Washington this evening, where it is expected to engage in preliminary discussions with Pentagon counterparts on the year 2000 Defense Ministry budget. Among others, the delegation will include Chief of Intelligence Maj. Gen. Amos Malka, and Maj. Gen. Shlomo Yanai, head of the IDF Planning Division.