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Arrow Destroys Incoming Missile in Successful Test

Israel successfully tested the Arrow 2 anti-ballistic missile September 14, 2000, with the warhead destroying a live incoming missile fired at the Israeli coast. It was the first time the Arrow 2 had been tested against a live rocket. The missile, dubbed the Black Sparrow, was dropped from an IAF F-15 fighter jet.

According to the Israeli Defense Ministry all components of the weapon system — the Green Pine radar tracking, the Citron Tree fire control center and the Arrow 2 interceptor — worked as expected.

The test was observed by a delegation from the United States Ballistic Missile Defense Organization, which oversees the program. The U.S. has funded about 65 percent of the $1.1 billion spent so far on the project.

Upgrades to enable the Arrow to tackle the more advanced missiles, such as the Shihab-3 and Shihab-4 being developed by Iran, are being planned. The Arrow is designed to strike and destroy a warhead, be it nuclear or other, well before it is supposed to explode.

The Arrow contains a static radar station, batteries, and control center. Its Green Pine radar, developed by Elta, is designed to track incoming missiles from as far as 300 kilometers away. The Citron Tree battle management center, built by Tadiran, will guide the launches of the interceptor, developed by Israel Aircraft Industries' MLM Division.

The first battery of the Arrow missiles is deployed in the center of the country. A second battery is to be placed east of Hadera, but that has been delayed by strong opposition from residents, who claim its radar would be hazardous to their health. Last month, arbitrators said the air force could prepare infrastructure for the Arrow-2 battery, but could deploy it only in a national emergency. The Defense Ministry rejected this.

Originally, Israel planned to deploy just two batteries, but the United States approved $81.6 million toward the purchase of a third battery, whose total cost is estimated at $170 million, but could be less if the system is sold to other countries that have expressed interest.

Source: Jerusalem Post, (September 14-15, 2000)