Israel, U.S. sign deal to upgrade Arrow missile shield

JERUSALEM Sun Jul 25, 2010 2:04pm EDT

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JERUSALEM (Reuters) - Israel and the United States have signed an agreement to make the Arrow II ballistic shield capable of shooting down missiles at a higher altitude, the Israeli Defense Ministry said on Sunday.

The Arrow III will allow Israel "to deal with the threat of ballistic missiles with long range" and will give it "the ability to shoot down weapons of mass destruction outside the atmosphere," the ministry said in a statement.

Israel, which describes its Arrow system as a defense against Iran, says the upgraded version will cap off its multi-tier air defenses.

The Arrow is jointly produced by state-owned Israel Aerospace Industries and the American firm Boeing Co. and has absorbed close to $1 billion in direct U.S. funds since its 1988 inception.

The Israeli air force said last year that the Arrow III would take more than four years to complete and that would depend on what resources were made available for the project.

The United States, Western powers and Israel suspect Iran's civilian nuclear program is designed to produce a nuclear bomb. Tehran denies this.

Israel, which is assumed to have the Middle East's only atomic arsenal, has hinted it could resort to force to prevent Iran attaining the nuclear means to threaten its existence.

Iran has threatened to retaliate for any attack on its nuclear facilities by firing medium-range missiles at Israel.

(Reporting by Dan Williams; Writing by Joseph Nasr, Editing by Alison Williams)

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Comments (13)
HBC wrote:
The governments of the US and Israel have a habit of wasting trillions of taxpayer dollars on pork projects that are unlikely to work and wouldn’t be necessary in the first place if they’d get out of the habit of acting like they owned the Middle East.

Jul 25, 2010 2:47pm EDT  --  Report as abuse
yapi wrote:
Si vis pacem para bellum..if you can understand?
at any cost to protect your citizens if you are in a Civilized country of course.

Jul 25, 2010 4:09pm EDT  --  Report as abuse
DLB wrote:
This sucks let the war games begin and get it over with.

Jul 25, 2010 4:47pm EDT  --  Report as abuse
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