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Israel tests improved Arrow anti-ballistic missile system

A file photo of Israel's Arrow anti-ballistic missile launch

JERUSALEM (BNS): Israel has test fired its upgraded Arrow II anti-ballistic missile system aimed at countering strikes, mainly from archrivals Iran and Syria.

The missile, which was launched on Tuesday by an Israeli fighter plane over the Mediterranean, intercepted a Blue Sparrow missile similar to the Iranian missile Shahab-3, Israeli newspaper Haaretz reported.

“There was a successful test today (Tuesday) of an improved Arrow that hit and intercepted a target more complicated than normal,” Defence Minister Ehud Barak told reporters after witnessing the launch from a helicopter.

It was the first test of an improved version of the missile equipped with a new radar, command and control system, the news report said. The X-band radar used in the missile has been installed by the US in the Negev missile defence base eight months ago.

The intercepting missile, for the first time, was required to select its primary threat among multiple missiles. It destroyed the target after getting very close to it, the report said, adding that it was the 11th test of the entire anti-ballistic system.

Meanwhile, the successful test has made Israeli defence officials hopeful that the US would continue funding the system. The project is jointly funded by Israel and the US to serve as a strategic shield against the ballistic missiles of Iran and Syria, the Haaretz said.

Israel had recently expressed concern that cuts in the US defence budget and Pentagon’s unwillingness to fund a project that does not employ Americans could harm the future of the Arrow programme.

However, top Israeli defence officials have been informed by their US counterparts that there are no plans to cut funding to the system, the newspaper said.

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