WASHINGTON — The Israeli Army is slated to receive a large quantity of used, cost-free US Army M270 rocket launchers for upgrading by a US firm before their delivery to Israel in the coming years.
In interviews here, US and Israeli sources said an agreement on the US Army excess stocks should be concluded shortly, with a notification to Congress expected later this month.
Sources declined to discuss quantities of used MLRS launchers and MLRS chassis destined for Israel at no cost, but noted that the refurbishment program — which likely will be awarded to a US contractor following a competitive bid — could reach $100 million and would be funded through future-year US military aid.
The pending program may be structured along the lines of an earlier US-Israel program for used US Army Humvees. Israel obtained about 2,400 used vehicles from excess stocks after an Excess Defense Articles (EDA) agreement was signed by the two countries. Once the government-to-government agreement was in place, Israel conducted a competitive bid for vehicle refurbishment.
Israel ultimately selected AM General of South Bend, Ind., to refurbish A0 and A1-model Humvees at a rate of 100 per month over the next two years, at an estimated program cost of several hundred million dollars.
US and Israeli sources here said the rocket launcher program would be more modest in scale, and probably would not include US-based upgrades of the 155-millimeter rounds to be fired from the M270 platforms. Instead, Israel’s Artillery Corps plans to conduct a competition among local Israeli industry to transform standard stocks into precision rounds through precision-guidance kits and to replace MLRS-launched cluster munitions with a unitary charge, GPS-guided munition.