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John F. Kennedy Administration: Pentagon Views on Acquisition by Israel of the Hawk Missile System

(July 16, 1962)

Pentagon views on the acquisition by Israel of the Hawk missile system. The Department of Defense discussed the importance of the system for Israeli defense and estimated costs.

Dear Jim: As requested in your letter of June 25th we have conducted an analysis of the air defense balance between Israel and the UAR, and the effects on this balance of permitting Israel to acquire the Hawk missile system. The Joint Chiefs of Staff appraisal is inclosed as JCSM 507-62. In summary, the Department of Defense views are:

(a) Israel is vulnerable to UAR air attack and is becoming increasingly so with the arrival of additional Soviet TU-16's.

(b) The addition of the Hawk missile within Israel's air defense system would fill an important gap in their defense.

(c) Acquisition of the Hawk missile system by Israel would not alone act to shift the balance of military power between Israel and its neighbors.

The Department of the Army can make the Hawk missile system available on the following conditions:

(a) Delivery on the system would take approximately 24 months after receipt of the funded order.

(b) The Hawk system equipment is classified Confidential except for the ECCM portion of the system which is classified Secret. Sale of the system would necessitate the release of information requiring an exception to the National Disclosure Policy.

(c) An agreement should be negotiated covering the exchange of classified information between the Government of the U.S. and the Government of Israel.

(d) The State-Defense Military Information Control Committee will have to be permitted by Israel to conduct a security survey within Israel. The results of this survey would have to indicate an Israeli capability to provide adequate protection of U.S. information prior to the actual release of classified military information essential for the operation of the Hawk missile system.

(e) The earliest the U.S. Army could commence training an Israeli Hawk cadre would be May or June 1966 and the cost of this training would approximate $1.5 million.

Current estimates on the cost of the Hawk missile system are:

1 each Battalion of Ground Equipment

1 each Missile with Warhead

1 each Type IV Test Equipment Direct Support Units

1 Year's Repair Parts

1 each 3G36 Trainer

1 each Missile Dummy, Type II Trainer

If the Israeli battalion is to parallel U.S. requirements, the following number of missiles would be required:

Basic Load and Backup
288 Missiles

Package Training for Battalion
16 Missiles

Annual Service Practice (per year)
8 Missiles

Missile Dummy Type II Trainer
12 Missiles

As these estimates fluctuate with production demands a more detailed study would be required at the time an Israeli order is submitted.

I trust this provides the Department of State with the information necessary for an early decision on this matter. Please call upon us for any further assistance you need.


William P. Bundy

Sources: Foreign Relations of the United States, 1961-1963: Near East, 1962-1963, V. XVIII. DC: GPO, 2000.