Officials check out test of US-made missile defense system

October 27, 2007 21:10

Defense officials: Israel considering purchasing THAAD as additional layer of defense alongside Israeli-made Arrow missile defense system.

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Officials check out test of US-made missile defense system

Iran missile 298.88 AP. (photo credit: )

Defense Ministry officials traveled to Hawaii this weekend alongside counterparts from the United Arab Emirates to see up-close a test of a US-made ballistic missile defense system that could intercept Iranian and North Korean nuclear projectiles. The Lockheed Martin-built Terminal High Altitude Area Defense (THAAD) system successfully intercepted a ballistic target outside the earth's atmosphere late Friday night, the US military said. It was the fourth successful test of the missile defense system, the US Missile Defense Agency said. Officials from Israel's Homa Missile Defense Agency were in Hawaii to watch the test, together with representatives from the UAE and Australia. Defense officials said Israel was considering purchasing THAAD as an additional layer of defense alongside the Israeli-made Arrow missile defense system against Syrian and Iranian ballistic missiles. The Defense Ministry recently announced it would develop the Arrow-3 missile, a longer-range and higher-altitude version of the interceptor currently used by the Israel Air Force. The US Congress recently allocated $200 million for Israeli use if it decides to purchase the THAAD. Israeli officials said that even if the government decided not to buy the system, it might be deployed in Israel "free of charge" in the event of a war or other national emergency. Ahead of the Gulf War, the US deployed Patriot missile batteries in Israel. Officials said THAAD was capable of intercepting Iranian and North Korean missiles and would be declared operational within the coming 12 months. The test conducted late Friday demonstrated the successful integration of the radar, launcher and fire-and-control equipment; the interceptor detected the target and destroyed it using only the force of the collision.

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