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Israel's IAI plans advanced missile tests

Israel Aerospace Industries plans to test its improved Arrow-3 anti-ballistic missile for the first time in late 2008. This will be followed in 2009 by the first launch of the Barak-8 surface-to-air missile, which is being developed jointly with India.

But the Israel Defence Force has decided not to deploy the LORA long-range artillery missile, which IAI had hoped to sell to India. Sources say the Israeli air force was instrumental in the decision not to buy the system, which could have substituted for air power because of its long range.

An improved version of the operational Arrow-2 system which is Israel's main shield against ballistic missiles, the Arrow-3 will be able to intercept longer-range ballistic missiles with unconventional warheads and higher altitude. Improvements are being made to the Green Pine radar, missile sensors and fragmentation warhead.

While Arrow's capability is being increased, sources say the David's Sling system being developed by Israel's Rafael and Raytheon to intercept short-range rockets will be capable of intercepting "low-end" ballistic missiles such as the Scud B and C.

David's Sling will launch the Stunner hit-to-kill interceptor, which is designed for use against rockets launched from ranges up to 400km (250 miles). But a Rafael source says the system's radar will give it a capability against basic ballistic missiles. Rafael, meanwhile, is developing the Iron Dome system to intercept short-range and home-made rockets.

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