Jerusalem (AFP) Dec 02, 2005
Israel conducted a successful test-firing of its Arrow anti-missile missile against an Iranian-style rocket on Friday, just a day after the Jewish state ratcheted up the rhetoric against Tehran over its suspected nuclear weapons programme.
"The test's success is a future major step in the system's operational improvements to deal with future incoming ballistic missile threats," the defence ministry said.
The test of the Arrow, or Hetz in Hebrew, followed a warning by Sharon that the Jewish state would never allow Iran to come into possession of nuclear weapons, joining the mounting Western concern over Tehran's atomic activities.
The Arrow intercepted a missile styled on Iran's long-range Shahab 3 which Israel's Mossad spy agency once described as the greatest threat to Israel's existence since its creation in 1948.
The defence ministry described it as a "routine development test" to demonstrate the system's improved performance. "It was the 14th Arrow interceptor test and the ninth test of the complete weapon system."
First launched in 1988 during the now-defunct Star Wars strategy under former US president Ronald Reagan, the US-inspired Arrow programme was stepped up after Israel was hit by 39 Iraqi Scud missiles during the 1991 Gulf war that left two people dead.
Development of the Arrow is now half-funded by the United States, which provides Israel with about three billion dollars in military and civilian aid each year.
Israel has repeatedly warned that Iran may be close to developing a nuclear weapon, with Foreign Minister Silvan Shalom saying in October that it might be as little as six months away from having the means to build the bomb.
"Israel, and not only Israel, cannot accept a situation in which Iran would be in possession of nuclear weapons," Prime Minister Ariel Sharon told journalists on Thursday.
"We must do everything possible to prepare for such a situation. But Israel is not spearheading any campaign" against Iran's suspected nuclear weapons ambitions, he added.
Since the downfall of Saddam Hussein's regime in Iraq, Israel has come to regard Iran as its number one enemy.
Iranian President Mahmoud Ahmadinejad caused an international backlash in October when he called for the Jewish state to be "wiped off the map".
In a bid to defuse the row the Iranian foreign ministry said Tehran had "never resorted to, nor threatened to resort to force against another country."
The United States called Thursday on Iran to return to talks on its nuclear activities after the International Atomic Energy Agency put off taking Tehran to the UN Security Council to give more time for new Russian diplomacy to work.
Negotiations with the European Union collapsed in August when Iran ended its suspension of uranium conversion, the first step towards making enriched uranium which can be used to fuel nuclear reactors or as the explosive core of atom bombs.
Israel itself is widely believed to possess around 200 nuclear warheads, although it has never confirmed or denied this and has not signed up to the nuclear Non-Proliferation Treaty.
In 1981, it carried out an air strike against Iraq's French-built Osirak nuclear plant.
It was a routine development test, as part of ASIP (Arrow System Improvement Program) which is being jointly carried out by Israel and the U.S.
The test objectives were to demonstrate the system's improved performance.
The target trajectory demonstrated an operational scenario against an incoming target that represented the threat for the State of Israel. All the system's components performed in their operational configuration.
Immediately after the target was launched, the Arrow weapon system started its operation. The Fire Control Radar (FCR) acquired the target and sent its data to the Battle Management Command and Control (BMC). A defense plan was issued and a mission command was sent to the launcher. The interceptor was launched toward its target, performed successfully and intercepted the target.
The Arrow program is managed by the Israeli Missile Defense Organization in the Research and Development Directorate in the Israeli Ministry of the Defense (IMDO) in close cooperation with the US Missile Defense Agency (MDA).
Israel Aircraft Industries/ MLM Division, is the prime contractor of the Arrow Weapon System.
The system consists of the Fire Control Radar (FCR)- developed by ELTA, the Battle Management Center (BMC)- developed by TADIRAN Systems, the Launcher Control Center ( LCC)- developed by MLM, the operational launcher and interceptors developed by MLM. The target was "Black-SpArrow", developed by RAFAEL. I.M.I developed the engine stage for the first stage and RAFAEL for the second.
The System is fully operational and has been operated by the Israeli Air Force.
The test's success is a future major step in the system's operational improvements to deal with future incoming ballistic missile threats.
When notified of the test's success, Jacob Toren, Director General of the Ministry of Defense expressed his satisfaction and thanked all the people involved in the Arrow project and said that" the defense establishment- the Ministry of Defense, the defense industries and the I.D.F have proven once again their technological contribution to Israel's national defense." He added that "the successes of the test will improve the existing operational capabilities of the Arrow system that will be able to cope successfully with future threats."
Israel Aircraft Industries
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Russia To Test Fire New Submarine Based Ballistic Missile
Moscow (AFP) Dec 02, 2005
Russia will this month test fire a new ballistic missile designed to carry a nuclear payload up to 8,000 kilometres (5,000 miles) from a submarine, a top scientist with the programme said Friday.
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