from the December 2006 issue

USAF to purchase 20 Python 5 missiles

US defense news magazine "Defense News" reports that the US Air Force is to buy 20 Python 5 Full Sphere air-to-air missiles from Rafael Armament Development Authority Ltd., for a F-16 fighter squadron stationed at Nevada. Should the negotiations lead to a contract, this will be the first time that the US Air Force has purchased air-to-air missiles from a foreign manufacturer. Sources at Rafael's US office declined to comment on the report. "Air-to-air missiles are a matter of masculinity, like fighter aircraft or tanks. Missiles like these are the kind of weapon that fighting organizations find difficult to buy from a foreign party since they represent the core of their being," said former Pentagon official Frank Cevasco, who managed international development and production programs under four US defense secretaries. Over the years, the Pentagon has purchased from foreign manufacturers, air-to-surface missiles for fighter aircraft in the US Air Force and Navy. Also included among the purchases were  AGM-142 (Popeye) missiles from Israel, Durandal missiles from France, and Penguin missiles from Norway. However Cevasco and other procurement specialists at the Pentagon could not recall a single case where the US Air Force purchased air-to-air missiles from a foreign company.

Reprinted from the Israel High-Tech & Investment Report December 2006

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