Israel's Anti-Missile System Can Defend Against Chemical Attack

(CNS News) Julie Stahl - Israel's Arrow anti-missile missile system is able to destroy incoming missiles high enough to avoid fallout from chemical weapons warheads, said Uzi Rubin, who oversaw the development of Israel's Arrow-Homa Anti-Missile Defense Program. Rubin spoke to a briefing for diplomats and journalists at the Institute for Contemporary Affairs/Jerusalem Center for Public Affairs on Monday. Rubin said the Arrow system, like the American Patriot system, does not distinguish between incoming missiles that have conventional or chemical warheads. In order to take both possibilities into account, "You build your defensive system with a very strong warhead of its put a lot of smack into the incoming missile and [destroy] it completely, and second, we try to do it as high as possible," he said. "I can disclose that we did a test to find out whether the chemical agents will reach the ground or not after our interception, and we came to the total conclusion, absolute conclusion, proof that nothing comes down on the ground," Rubin said. In addition, the warhead is destroyed at such an altitude that it is above the jet stream, "so everything that falls down will go in the jet stream and go back to the sender," he added. According to Rubin, the consensus among most experts is that Iraq has a "very limited" capability to fire missiles of any kind at Israel and, even if they have the capability, most analysts believe Iraqi leader Saddam Hussein will not use it. "If the Iraqis were to fire the first ballistic missile towards anywhere, [it] justifies the whole war against them," Rubin said. "That [would] justify all the efforts of the Bush administration to take Saddam out." But, he conceded, Iraq is "very adept at hiding their secrets," and Israel could always be surprised. There are plenty of other missile threats in the region. Egypt, Syria and Iran all have missiles that can already strike Israel and, along with Libya, are all involved in acquiring longer-range capabilities. "First, it's projecting power toward Israel; and second, it is projecting power toward Europe," Rubin said.

2003-01-31 00:00:00

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