from the May 2009 issue

Arrow interceptor test successful

Israel successfully tested its Arrow ballistic missile interception system April 7, a costly project launched two decades ago aimed at countering strikes mainly from Iran.

The Arrow (Hetz in Hebrew) intercepted and destroyed a ballistic missile comparable to Iran's Shahab-3, which can reach the Jewish state, that was fired by an Israeli fighter plane over the Mediterranean, a defense official said.

"This morning, the Arrow system performed a successful test," the defense ministry declared.

"The success of the project marks a key step in its development plan and the improvement of the operational systems to offer a response to the growing threat of ballistic missiles in the region."

Defense Minister Ehud Barak, who watched the test from a helicopter, said that together with a number of other rocket and missile interception systems being developed, the Arrow project "will offer optimal protection from near and immediate strategic threats," the ministry statement said.

It was the latest successful test of the Arrow, a project launched in 1988 during the now-defunct Star Wars program under then-U.S. President Reagan.

Work on the Arrow was stepped up after 39 Iraqi Scud missiles hit Israel during the Gulf War.

Development of the Arrow is now half-funded by the United States. Israel has carried out more than a dozen successful tests of the Arrow under various conditions.

Israel considers Iran to be its arch-foe following repeated statements by Iranian President Mahout Ahmadinejad for the Jewish State to be wiped off the map. Israel, widely considered to be the Middle East's sole nuclear armed state, and Washington suspect Iran of trying to develop atomic weapons under the guise of its civilian nuclear program, a charge Tehran has repeatedly denied.

Reprinted from the Israel High-Tech & Investment Report May 2009

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