The Israeli air force and US ground and naval units have conducted a large-scale ballistic-missile defence exercise. The test comes amid anxiety that Israel will become the target of Scud missiles if the USA attacks Iraq.

During the exercise, Israeli air force Israel Aircraft Industries Arrow 2 batteries were tested along with Israeli and US Army Raytheon Patriot PAC-2s.

The US Navy also contributed two Aegis air-defence destroyers - part of a taskforce headed by aircraft carrier USS Harry Truman.

Israel's assessment indicates that an early warning of around 7min will be given should Iraq launch its Scud-based missiles. Early warning will be provided via US Defense Support Programme satellites and the Arrow System's Elta Green Pine radar, which also predicts the impact point of each missile.

After-impact data will be provided by a newly installed system of three cameras mounted on tall buildings in Tel Aviv. These are intended to allow response units to arrive at the targeted area as quickly as possible.

Recent intelligence assessments suggest Iraq managed to hide a limited number of Scud-derived Al-Hussein missiles, which could be launched in a salvo towards Israel (Flight International, 1-7 October 2002).

Source: Flight International