The Israelis, who this week announced a record defence budget for the coming year, have invested heavily in tank units to strengthen their defence capability.
Various shots of tanks crossing desert; gun turret rotating; soldiers directing tank; stranded tank towed out of sand.
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Background: The Israelis, who this week announced a record defence budget for the coming year, have invested heavily in tank units to strengthen their defence capability. One unit equipped with British Centurion tanks took part in large-scale manoeuvres in the Negev Desert yesterday (Tuesday).
The Israeli Centurion tanks were used with great success during the Six Day War of 1967, and an extensive network of repair bases and refuelling stations have been established in desert areas to ensure a greater operational range.
Desert manoeuvres keep the 400 Centurions operated by Israeli units in a state of constant alert.
Earlier this year, there were reports - subsequently denied in Israel - that the country was negotiating to buy another 200 of the British-made tanks. High-speed medium and light tanks have proved invaluable to the Israelis in desert warfare strategy.
The current defence estimates of 4,100 million Israeli pounds (about GBP510 million sterling) were submitted to the Knesset (Parliament) on Monday. The estimates mark a large jump in Israel's defence spending, amounting to 25 per cent of the overall national budget compared with 21 per cent last year.