Israeli officials on Wednesday revealed that Jerusalem will lose out on a $13 billion deal to build a missile defense shield for Poland citing lobbying by Washington on behalf of rival U.S. systems.
As compensation, the manufacturer of the Israeli David's Sling missile defense system may get a role in a future U.S.-led arms sale to Warsaw, the official, who has been briefed on the competition, told Reuters on condition of anonymity.
"The Americans will be happy, the Poles will be happy, and there'll be something left over for us," he said.
The Israeli disclosure came as U.S. Defense Secretary Chuck Hagel visited the Jewish state to discuss an alliance undergirded by extensive U.S. aid for Israeli defense projects, the report said.
Competitors for the Polish deal include the MEADS consortium led by Lockheed Martin Corp, and the Patriot system, whose prime contractor is Raytheon, France's Thales in a consortium with European group MBDA and the Polish state defense group.
Asked whether Israel was resigned to losing out given the U.S. lobbying he had described, the defense official said: "Yes." But he said Israel was unlikely to withdraw the David's Sling bid.
Responding to the Israeli account, a U.S. defense official said he knew of no pressure on Israel to back off the tender. But the U.S. official, who also spoke on condition of anonymity, said Washington preferred NATO member Poland to "buy American", the report concluded.
0pxf x P�(�&0px; font-size: 15px; font-family: georgia, 'times new roman', serif; line-height: 23px; color: rgb(0, 0, 0); font-style: normal; font-variant: normal; font-weight: normal; letter-spacing: normal; orphans: auto; text-align: start; text-indent: 0px; text-transform: none; white-space: normal; widows: auto; word-spacing: 0px; -webkit-text-stroke-width: 0px; background-color: rgb(255, 255, 255);">However, Poland's Defense Ministry said on Wednesday it was still at the "analytical-conceptual phase" of the tender and that "the public procurement to choose the anti-missile shield and air-defense system has not yet been initiated".
A U.S. State Department official said David's Sling offered a more limited capability than either of the U.S. systems. Raytheon declined comment, saying only that it remained fully engaged in the competition.
Coyne said the U.S. government had been "incredibly balanced and fair" and had "gone out of its way to make clear that it's up to the Polish government to choose the system they want".
At the same time, Coyne said, the U.S. government had supported the MEADS bid by giving Lockheed permission to offer producing its baseline PAC-3 missiles in Poland, and to help Polish industry set up production of its own long-range missile.
Rafael declined all comment.
The Israeli arms company has won U.S. plaudits and additional funds for its Iron Dome short-range rocket interceptor, which has successfully operated on the borders with Gaza and Lebanon.
But while David's Sling has, according to both Israeli and U.S. analysts, done well in field tests, its development scheduled has been stymied by Israeli defense budget shortfalls.