Strategic Weapons: March 14, 2000


MISSILE DEFENSE: ARROW ENTERS SERVICE BUT ISN'T GOOD ENOUGH: Even while Israel is moving to deploy its Arrow anti-missile system to protect the country against Scuds (the first battery goes into service on 15 March), Israeli defense chiefs say that the system will not be able to protect the country from Iran's new Shihab-3 long-range missile. Missiles such as the Shihab-3 are (due to their range and the definition of "ballistic") faster than the shorter-ranged Scuds. To intercept them requires a longer-range radar, a faster tracking and targeting system, and a faster and longer-ranged interceptor. That interceptor must be fitted with more sensitive sensors able to pick out the target farther away and have much better maneuverability. The Israelis want to begin work now on an improved Arrow designed to deal with the Shihab-3 series of missiles by the time they are operational (i.e., they want US money, and lots of it). The US has invested $1.3 billion in Arrow to date and has committed to invest another $800 million. --Stephen V Cole


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