Strategic Weapons: December 26, 2003

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The Israeli Arrow anti-missile system underwent it's sixth test last week. The Arrow missile itself has been fired eleven times, but the entire system has only gone through six test firings. So far, the system works and has been in service since November, 2002. Two batteries are currently in service. The Arrow is one of the few anti-ballistic missile systems to be operational, and there is some doubt that it is really ready for prime time. Much of this doubt has to do with the difficulty of knocking down ballistic missile warheads. Few such systems have worked successfully. The Arrow was built with some American money and technology, but is mainly an Israeli effort. Some two billion dollars has gone into the Arrow project so far. In addition to knocking down SCUD type missiles, Arrow is designed to deal with longer range missiles. Like, say, missiles launched from Iran. The system is designed to deal with 14 different incoming warheads simultaneously. The current version of the system is actually called Arrow II, to reflect the many upgrades since the first successful launch in 1998. Israel is trying to sell Arrow systems to India, but must get permission from the United States (because of the U.S. involvement in the project.)

 


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