Israel tests new Arrow missile interceptor - ministry

JERUSALEM Mon Feb 25, 2013 12:35pm IST

An Arrow II missile interceptor is displayed in front of journalists at an Israeli air defence command in the Palmahim military base south of Tel Aviv May 12, 2011. REUTERS/ Nir Elias/Files

An Arrow II missile interceptor is displayed in front of journalists at an Israeli air defence command in the Palmahim military base south of Tel Aviv May 12, 2011.

Credit: Reuters/ Nir Elias/Files

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JERUSALEM (Reuters) - Israel carried out a successful test of its upgraded, ballistic Arrow missile interceptor on Monday, the Israeli Defence Ministry said in a statement.

The U.S.-backed Arrow missile is designed to shoot down incoming missiles at altitudes high enough to allow for any non-conventional warheads to disintegrate safely.

The test was of a new generation Arrow III, which is intended to bolster defences against threats to the Jewish state, including from Iran and Syria. Designers say the system has proved a success in up to 90 percent of live trials.

Monday's test did not involve an interception of any target, but was designed to try out the flight of the missile.

Arrow III's interceptors are designed to be launched into space, where their warheads detach, turning into "kamikaze" satellites that seek out and slam into target missiles.

The Pentagon and U.S. firm Boeing (BA.N) are partners in Arrow. Washington has described its support for Israeli missile interceptors as a means of reassuring Israel, which in the past has launched preventative wars against perceived threats, that it has a more passive means of defending itself. (Reporting by Dan Williams; editing by Crispian Balmer)

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