Saturday, May 29, 2010

Israel to hold First Test of the Arrow 3 Interceptor Early Next Year

The Israel Air Force will hold its first test of the Arrow 3 missile which is under development by Israel Aerospace Industries early next year, officials said. Arrow 3 is jointly developed by IAI and Boeing in the US and it will serve as Israel’s top-tier missile defense system, adding another layer of defense to that provided by the Arrow 2, which is already operational and deployed throughout Israel.

The initial test of the Arrow 3 will not include the interception of a mock enemy missile. An interception test will likely take place in 2012.“The Arrow system can effectively counter all of the missile threats that exist in the region,” said Inbal Kreiss, the Arrow 3 project manager at IAI.

Kreiss, who spoke at the New Tech conference in Airport City on Wednesday, said that IAI was also modifying the existing Arrow missile launcher to accommodate the slightly smaller Arrow 3 interceptor. This will allow the launcher to also fire American-made SM3 missiles, which are currently used by the US Navy on its Aegis missile defense ships.


Meanwhile, defense officials said that the $205 million in funding authorized by the US Congress for Israel’s Iron Dome missile defense system – developed to intercept short-range rockets – would enable the defense establishment to purchase an additional six batteries that could be deployed along the Gaza border.Rafael has already manufactured two batteries that were delivered to the IAF, which is planning a final conclusive test of the Iron Dome in the coming weeks, following which it will be declared operational.

Officials said that the system could, in a future conflict, be deployed just south of Tel Aviv and along the Mediterranean coast to defend the city against Hamas long-range missiles, such as the Iranian Fajr 5, which it is believed to have obtained since Operation Cast Lead last year.

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