- The Washington Times - Sunday, January 5, 2003

TEL AVIV, Israel, Jan. 5 (UPI) — Israel on Sunday successfully tested an upgraded Arrow anti-ballistic missile, and its capability to effectively fire several such missiles from the same launcher.

"Everything went smoothly," an authoritative source told United Press International. "It was 100 percent," he said.

The Israelis simulated four incoming missiles in the Arrow system's Fire Control Radar. That set in motion a process of calculating a defense plan for each target and launching the missiles.

"All the system components performed in their operational configuration," the Defense Ministry's spokeswoman, Rachel Naidek-Ashkenazi, said.

One Arrow missile was designed to maneuver in accordance with commands from the ground, a senior defense official said.

"The interceptor trajectory was in special flight conditions which may be required in the future," the Defense Ministry's statement said.

Three other missiles equipped with Short Burning Time Motor Interceptors were fired to check the effect the launchings would have on the missiles that remain on the launcher. Each launcher has six missiles.

"Everything was in order," the defense official said.

Israeli officials say the chances that Iraq would fire missiles at the Jewish state are small, but any missile that would get through with a chemical or biological warhead could cause immense damage.

The Israelis expect the United States to prevent launches from west Iraq but if a missile does head toward Israel, the Arrow should intercept it.

Israel has two operational Arrow batteries.

U.S., Israeli and German Patriot batteries are supposed to intercept Iraqi missiles at close range if everything else fails. U.S. and Israeli anti-aircraft units are scheduled to hold joint maneuvers shortly.

The Arrow was built with extensive U.S. funding in close cooperation with the U.S. Missile Defense Agency.

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