ISRAEL LINE MONDAY, NOVEMBER 30, 1998
AIR FORCE RECEIVES FIRST ARROW MISSILE
A symbolic delivery of the Arrow 2 anti-missile missile to the Israel Air Force and Defense Ministry took place on Sunday during a ceremony at the Israel Aircraft Industries plant producing the missile, THE JERUSALEM POST reported. The ceremony marked the point at which the jointly funded Israeli-American missile project completed its development stage and the IAI starts mass production. More missiles are to be finished shortly, defense sources said.
The Defense Ministry said that the Arrow 2 missiles currently being produced are to be used for further tests, "but they can also be used as operational missiles if necessary."
During the ceremony, Defense Minister Yitzhak Mordechai said, "The delivery of the first Arrow missile on the 29th of November, the date that the United Nations recommended the creation of a Jewish state, represents the best present that the security establishment could offer the State of Israel to enable it to cope with the most dangerous threats developing in the region, which may come to constitute an existential threat to Israel. With the help of the Arrow system, we will have a nearly hermetic shield against current and future threats."
Defense sources said at least one more successful test is needed to call the Arrow 2 operational, adding that the next trial is slated for mid-1999. When the missile is deployed, Israel will become the first country with anti-ballistic missile capability.