Top U.S. Army Officer in Israel to Discuss Missile Defense Systems

Gen. John Craddock, commander of U.S. European Command, discussed means of intercepting missiles from Gaza, Iran.

A senior U.S. Army officer discussed solutions for intercepting missiles from the Gaza Strip with Israeli officials during a visit here this week, sources in the defense establishment said.

Gen. John Craddock, commander of U.S. European Command, also discussed means of intercepting longer-range missiles, especially from Iran.

This is Craddock's first visit to Israel since the deployment last year of an American long-range radar in the Negev to give early warning of an Iranian missile strike. The radar, known as X-Band or FBX-T radar, is operated by soldiers from EUCOM.

The X-Band has doubled Israel's detection range for incoming missiles or aircraft. It will work in conjunction with the Arrow anti-missile system, developed jointly by the U.S. and Israel, which is currently supported by a less advanced radar system. The X-Band is stationed at the Nevatim base, which regularly hosts joint air exercises between Israel and the U.S.

During his visit, Craddock met with Israel Defense Forces Chief of Staff Gabi Ashkenazi, Defense Minister Ehud Barak, Defense Ministry Director General Pinchas Buchris and GOC Southern Command Yoav Galant.