Israel conducts 'final test' on Arrow anti-missile system
JERUSALEM - Agence France-Presse
In this July 29, 2004 file photo an anti-ballistic missile, under development by the United States and Israel, lifts off from Point Mugu Sea Range, off the California coast, as a test of an improved version of the Arrow missile. AP photoIsrael and the United States recently carried out a successful test of the Arrow anti-missile system over the Mediterranean Sea, the Israeli defence ministry said on Friday. During the target-only tracking exercise, the Arrow's radar tracked a target "representative of potential ballistic missile threats facing Israel," the statement read, and "transferred information to the Citron Tree Battle Management Controller, which prepared a simulated intercept solution." According to the defence ministry, the test was the final one "prior to delivery of block 4 Arrow Weapons System." "This was a major milestone in the development of the Arrow Weapon System and provides confidence in operational Israeli capabilities to defeat the developing ballistic missile threat," the ministry said.
On Thursday, Israeli Defence Minister Ehud Barak said sophisticated weapons could be transferred from Syria to militant group Hezbollah and to Lebanon if the regime of Bashar al-Assad falls.
Last week, Israel's chief of military intelligence Aviv Kochavi warned that Israel's enemies now command "some 200,000 rockets and missile." Iran, he noted, currently had enough radioactive material to produce four nuclear bombs.
The Arrow, a costly project launched two decades ago, is designed to counter strikes mainly from arch foe Iran and has successfully intercepted missiles comparable to Iran's Shihab-3 in a variety of conditions.
It was launched in 1988 during the now-defunct Star Wars programme initiated under late US president Ronald Reagan and stepped up after Israel was hit by 39 Iraqi Scud missiles during the 1991 Gulf War.
Development of the system is now half-funded by Israel's main ally, the United States.