Israel Unveils Comprehensive Military Upgrade Plan

[Reuters] Israel unveiled a comprehensive plan on Monday for overhauling its armed forces in the wake of last year's bruising Lebanon war and ahead of any possible showdown with arch-foes Iran or Syria. Buoyed by the Bush administration's pledge last month to boost U.S. defense grants to Israel to $3 billion annually, military chief Lt.-Gen. Gabi Ashkenazi outlined upgrades and retraining for Israeli air, ground and naval units. Ashkenazi said Israel would order an unspecified number of the U.S.-made F-35 Joint Strike Fighter, an advanced strategic warplane expected out in the next decade. Israel also plans to complement its Arrow II units, built to shoot down ballistic missiles, with Iron Dome, a system designed to tackle short-range rockets like those favored by Iranian-backed Hizbullah and Palestinian militants in Gaza.

2007-09-04 01:00:00

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