Israel said it completed another successful test Thursday of its state-of-the-art Arrow interceptor missile, a system that has been more than 14 years in development in a joint project with the United States.
"The successful test is a vital component in maintaining Israel’s deterrent ability and will make a significant contribution to the state of Israel’s military and strategic strength," Prime Minister Ehud Barak said in a statement.
The defense ministry, which is headed by Barak, said initial results indicated that all components of the system performed as planned when the target "Black Sparrow" missile was launched toward the shores of Israel to simulate a Scud or tactical ballistic missile.
Israeli radio said it was the first time the Arrow had intercepted in full flight a missile fired in conditions as close to real as possible.
"All the test objects were achieved and the target was destroyed," the ministry said, adding: "The test brings the Arrow II success record to seven out of eight tests and three out of three system tests."
Israel's air force took possession in March of a first battery of the Arrow missiles, part of the Homa or Wall project designed to counter the potential acquisition of hostile states, such as Iran or Syria, of missiles capable of striking Israeli cities.
Military officials have said the deployment of the Arrow will make Israel the first country in the world to have a purpose-built anti-ballistic missile capability.
The system was due to become operational in 1995 but the 2.2 billion-dollar project, which is 70 percent funded by the United States, fell well behind schedule – JERUSALEM (AFP)
© 2000 Al Bawaba (www.albawaba.com )