TEL AVIV (Oct. 17)
The sixth test firing of the Arrow anti-missile missile last week is being described as neither a success nor a total failure.
According to sources at Israel Aircraft Industries, which manufactures the anti-ballistic missile in partnership with the United Sates, the Arrow managed to intercept another missile that had been fired a few seconds earlier.
But its explosive charge failed to detonate and it did not destroy the first missile, which had been designed to simulate an incoming Scud.
“From this point of view, the test was thus not a success,” said an IAI source.
A previous test of the Arrow had also resulted in a misfire, but there was no indication then what had gone wrong.
“But this time we know exactly what went wrong and what must be done” for the next and final round of the Arrow’s pre-production tests, the source said.
Because of this new information, the source maintained that the latest test was therefore “not a complete failure.”
But according to other sources here, the test can hardly be termed a success and is likely to provide ammunition to U.S. critics of the Arrow program.
Anti-ballistic missile designers in the United States, they say, use every indication of a less-than-complete success at each testing stage as a reason for trying to persuade the United States to abandon its funding of the Arrow project.