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Israel anti-missile missile scores another direct hit

The Arrow II test (courtesy of the IAI)

December 2, 2005: Israeli Defense Forces carried out a successful test of the Arrow anti-missile system; around 10:30 am Israel time, an Arrow II missile was launched against a target missile named Black-Sparrow which represented a long range ballistic missile with sophisticated maneuvering capabilities. The experiment which is the 14th Arrow interceptor test and the ninth test of the complete weapon system has been described by experts as the most complicated interception test carried out by the system so far.

The experiment was conducted from an Israeli military base not far from the Mediterranean Sea. The experiment tested the capabilities of the Arrow II block 3 interceptor missile and its supporting systems including the "Green Pine" advanced radar system to intercept an incoming attack from a Black-Sparrow missile launched from an Israeli fighter flying at high altitude. The Black-Sparrow developed by Israel Armament Development Authority (RAFAEL), was demonstrating an Iranian Shihab 3 ballistic missile which has an estimated range of 800 miles and can hit most of Israels cities.

The purpose of the current test, which is a part of an on going United States/Israel Arrow System Improvement Program (ASIP), was to examine the recent modifications introduced to the Arrow II missile, and in particular the extended firing envelope which will allow the missile to destroy the target at a greater distance. Israeli officials see the Arrow continuing improvement program as highly important particularly due to the introduction of possible new threats by Iran and Syria. Iran, which had only recently launched a spy satellite after a failed attempt in September and procured long range cruise missiles from Ukraine, continues to develop its ballistic missile program as well as a clandestine nuclear program. Syria improved Scud D missiles already cover the entire state of Israel and had shown interest in more advanced Russian models.

The successful interception of the Arrow II missile on Friday should clear the way for the IDF to procure the new Arrow II block 3 batteries in the first quarter of 2006.

Iddo Genuth

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