US discloses Israel’s top-secret military base outraging Tel-Aviv
Israel has turned to the US government with its plans to build a
state-of-the-art facility to host the new ballistic-missile
defense system, the Arrow 3, McClatchy's Washington Bureau
In accordance with its usual procedure, the US Defense Department has published the details of the $25 million project on a federal business opportunities website so that contractors could bid on it.
Over 1,000 pages of specifications included a thorough description of the future base from the depth of the underground complex to building materials to be used in construction.
The information on the facility at Tel Shahar is classified in Israel, with the local military even refusing to officially confirm its location between the cities of Jerusalem and Ashdod.
"If an enemy of Israel wanted to launch an attack against a facility, this would give him an easy how-to guide. This type of information is closely guarded and its release can jeopardize the entire facility," an unnamed Israeli military official commented, refusing to say if the plans for the base will be altered as a result of the disclosure.
"This is more than worrying, it’s shocking," he added.
According to the bid requests, the Arrow 3 system will include six interceptor missiles in vertical launch positions to be placed at the base, with a gantry crane to be erected for further missiles.
High-grade concrete reinforced with steel mesh grids will be used to build the structures encasing the interceptor system, which will have steel blast doors and a system to protect electrical wiring from the pressure during the launch.
The Arrow 3 is a defense system designed to intercept ballistic missiles outside the Earth’s atmosphere. It’s expected to become operational in 2015-16 to tackle possible threats from the nuclear weapon program developed by neighboring Iran.
"We're thinking mostly about the nuclear threat," Col. Aviram Hasson, who heads the Arrow 3 project, is cited as saying by UPI.com. "We want to reach a situation in which Israel has a ready defense for any threat, present or future."
Earlier, the head of the bidding process at Israel’s Defense Ministry, Lt. Col. Peleg Zeevi, told Reuters that the project was given to the Americans as the IDF needed “a player that has the knowledge, ability and experience” in the field.
Since 1998, the US had built military facilities worth $500 million for the Israeli army, which, according to Zeevi, was “aware of the security issues that arise in deals with foreign firms.” But it seems that the scale of the disclosure of a top-secret facility was too much to handle for the Israeli officials.