After a delay of almost a year, the directors of the Arrow anti-ballistic missile program in the US and Israel plan to conduct soon the first flight test of the Arrow 3, the latest version of the missile, designed as the response to Iran's Shahab intermediate range ballistic missiles and future threats. The Arrow 3's most important capabilities are its ability to deal with salvos of incoming missiles, rather than just single missiles, and its ability to intercept missiles outside the earth's atmosphere, reports "Defense News" Israel bureau chief Barbara Opall-Rome.
This will be the first test of all Arrow 3 systems. Subsystems have been tested previously.
"Aviation Week" also reported today that the first end-to-end test of the Arrow 3 could occur within weeks. "Some officials say the launch is imminent if all goes to plan," it says.
The Arrow 3, designed by Israel Aerospace Industries Ltd. (IAI) (TASE: ARSP.B1), is a two-stage missile, capable of flying out of the earth's atmosphere. It receives data from optical sensors. The second-stage booster has its own engine, enabling it to maneuver towards its target. It can reach twice the altitude of the Arrow 2 missile, but is only half the weight of the older version. The Arrow 3 is designed to provide a range of options for intercepting incoming missiles, possibly including nuclear-tipped missiles.
According to Pentagon budget documents, intended to persuade US legislators that it is worthwhile investing US taxpayers' money in the project, Arrow 3 will improve the Arrow system's capabilities by providing four times the coverage of the Arrow 2.
"Aviation Week" says that the Arrow 3 is "judged by many in the US and Israel as today's best missile defense system."
Published by Globes [online], Israel business news - www.globes-online.com - on September 3, 2012
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