Strategic Weapons: September 21, 2001

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Arrow's 9th Test brings new capabilities Israel has completed the ninth test of the Arrow anti-missile; it intercepted and destroyed a Black Sparrow target launched by an F-16, the 8th success. The Green Pine radar and Citron Tree fire control systems worked as advertised. This test was the first to use an improved Arrow with "advanced capabilities" which include an improved ability to pick a target out of the background, and expanded engagement envelope, and a better chance of a hit within that envelope. The current Arrow is optimized to intercept Scuds or the Iranian Shahab-3, which has a range of 600 miles and a 1500-pound warhead. Israel is racing to develop improvements that will allow it to engage the Iranian Shahab-4, which has a range of 1300 miles and a 2200-pound warhead. Longer range missiles come down faster, and are therefore harder to intercept. The Israelis need about five years to get a defense against this new missile, and it should be in service well before then. Israel wants the US to allow it to conduct a test against a real Scud on a US missile test range in the Pacific. --Stephen V Cole

 


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