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Arrow-2 interceptor passes its first test in U.S.

Special to World Tribune.com
MIDDLE EAST NEWSLINE
Friday, July 30, 2004

TEL AVIV The Arrow-2 interceptor has scored its first success in a flight test against a Scud B missile in the United States.

U.S. and Israeli officials said the Arrow-2 destroyed a Scud B in the first test in the United States. The direct hit took place on Thursday over the Pacific Ocean off the coast of southern California.

"The test today was the first that accommodated our requirements," Aryeh Herzog, director of Israel's Homa missile defense program, said. "The tracking and destruction of the target missile was definitely complete."

The Arrow-2 test took about three minutes, officials said. They said a Scud B missile was shot from a platform in the Pacific Ocean, where it was detected by the Israeli-origin Green Pine long-range detection radar, based in the U.S. Navy's Point Mugu Sea Range near Los Angeles. Officials said the Green Pine detected the Scud in its ascent stage.

The Citron Tree battle management center directed the launch of the Arrow-2. The interceptor flew west and intercepted and destroyed the Scud B over the Pacific Ocean.

Until now, the interceptor was tested against missiles meant to simulate the Scud B, including the Black Sparrow air-to-air missile of Rafael, Israel Armament Development Authority. This was the 12th intercept by the Arrow-2 and the seventh test of the entire system.

The latest test of the Arrow-2 part of the Arrow System Improvement Program -- provided the most realistic battlefield conditions for missile interception. Officials said the Scud B flew for a minute and reached a distance of 300 kilometers, a far greater range than the target missiles employed in previous tests.

Officials said the Arrow-2 was fired 2.5 minutes after the Scud launch. They said the Arrow-2 scored a direct hit at an altitude of 40 kilometers.

"The objectives of the test were to demonstrate the Arrow system's improved performance against a target that represents a threat to Israel," an Israeli Defense Ministry statement said. "The test represented a realistic scenario that could not have been tested in Israel due to test- field safety restrictions."

Israel has deployed two Arrow-2 batteries and plans to assemble and equip a third battery. The Arrow-2 interceptors will be produced in the United States under a contract with Boeing and financed by U.S. military aid.

"We will continue both with the development as well as Arrow weapons deployment," Herzog said. "We want to achieve capabilities to counter those emerging in Iran."


Copyright 2004 East West Services, Inc.

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