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Weapons of Mass Destruction (WMD)

Israel Hopes to Wow Biden With Iron Beam, Iron Dome, David's Sling Missile Show and Tell

Sputnik News

Ilya Tsukanov

The US president is slated to arrive in Israel on Wednesday as part of a much-anticipated regional tour which will also take him to the West Bank and Saudi Arabia, where he is expected to ask the Gulf oil kingdom to ramp up crude output to help ease the West's self-inflicted energy crisis.

Joe Biden will get a demonstration of Israel's latest missile and laser-based air defense hardware at Ben-Gurion Airport in Tel Aviv shortly upon his arrival in Israel, the Israeli military has indicated in a statement.

The show and tell demonstration will include familiarizing the US president with a range of systems, including the Iron Dome - which the Israel Defense Forces use to shoot down garage-built Hamas rockets, as well as the Arrow and David's Sling series of missiles, designed to intercept more advanced rockets fired by Lebanon's Hezbollah militia, and by state-based adversaries.

Biden is also expected to get a demonstration of the Iron Beam, a new laser-based air defense platform which former Prime Minister Naftali Bennett recently hailed as a "game-changer" that could shift the regional balance of power in Israel's favor by reducing the cost of intercepting projectiles to just $2-worth of electricity, instead of the $20,000-$100,000 that a single Iron Dome anti-missile missile costs.

The IDF had initially prepared to show the weapons to Biden at the Palmachim Airbase, about 16 km southwest of Tel Aviv, but that portion of his trip has been scrubbed, for reasons unclear, according to an official itinerary of his trip obtained by the Times of Israel.

The IDF said that the final preparations for Biden's arrival have been completed, with a makeshift complex, including a stage, red carpet and auditorium with 150 seats for officials and journalists prepared at the site.

Israeli media have expressed hope that showing off the missile defense systems to Biden may help the Jewish State sell them abroad, and lead Washington to provide the sought-after donation of $300 million in additional funding for the Iron Beam to get that system to the production stage (the IDF currently doesn't expect to take delivery of the laser weapon until 2025).

Last month, Israel's Channel 12 reported that Israeli officials plan to ask Biden for his formal blessing to provide Iron Beam to Gulf countries including the United Arab Emirates and possibly Saudi Arabia as part of a US-led push to ramp up air defense cooperation between Tel Aviv and a loose regional coalition against Iran, with potential members including the Gulf sheikdoms, Egypt, and Jordan.

Also in June, the Wall Street Journal reported that the Pentagon had recently organized a meeting in Egypt between senior Israeli and Gulf state security officials to discuss air defense cooperation against Iranian missiles and drones, with the meeting chaired by now ex-US Central Command chief Frank McKenzie.

After meetings with senior Israeli officials, Biden is expected to meet with Palestinian leaders, including Palestinian Authority President Mahmoud Abbas, in the occupied West Bank. From there Biden will travel on to Saudi Arabia and take part in a Gulf Cooperation Council+ meeting, with media reporting that he will urge the oil kingdoms to increase crude output amid the self-inflicted crisis facing Western economies after their attempt to wean themselves off of Russian energy.

The trip will include a meeting with Crown Prince Mohammad bin Salman, whom Biden once called a "pariah" responsible for the 2018 killing and dismemberment of a Saudi-born Washington Post journalist in a Saudi consulate in Istanbul. The Royal Family has rejected any direct responsibility for the crime, and said that it punished those who were.

© Sputnik

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