Israel prepares for Arrow-2 interceptor test in U.S.

Tuesday, July 20, 2004

Israel has prepared for the first flight test of the Arrow-2 interceptor in the United States.

Officials said that over the next 10 days Israel and the United States will test the Arrow-2 against a Scud B missile in battlefield conditions.

They said this will be the first attempt by the Arrow-2 to intercept a genuine Scud rather than a missile meant to simulate the Soviet-origin weapon.

Israel has already shipped the Arrow-2 launcher, the Green Pine radar, Hazelnut Tree Launch Control Center and the Citron Tree Fire Control Center to the United States for the flight test, Middle East Newsline reported. The Arrow-2 will take place at the U.S. Navy's Naval Air Warfare Center/Weapons Division Sea Range at Point Magu, Calif., officials said.

They said the test will take place in the last week of July and launch one of several Scuds obtained from the former Soviet Union.

Officials said the Arrow-2 test plans for the Scud B to complete most of its 300-kilometer range over the Pacific Ocean. The U.S. Navy will fire the target missile from a platform in the Pacific and the Arrow-2 will attempt to intercept the missile over the ocean.

The Green Pine and other systems have been enhanced as part of the Arrow System Improvement Program, meant to ensure the Arrow-2 interception of intermediate-range missiles, including Iran's Shihab-3.

The test was expected to be the last before the launch of serial production of the Arrow-2 in the United States. Boeing has been designated the prime contractor and will oversee the production of most of the missile components to enable Israel to pay for Arrow-2 procurement with U.S. military aid. The Arrow-2 will be assembled in Israel by the state-owned Israel Aircraft Industries.

Israel has already deployed two Arrow-2 missile defense batteries and with U.S. funding plans to produce a third battery. Congress has approved $167 million for the Arrow program in 2005, about half of which will be allocated for production of the interceptors.

Copyright 2004 East West Services, Inc.

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