Jan. 3 - Israel says a second test of its U.S.-backed Arrow III missile interceptor is successful. Rough Cut (no reporter narration)
EDITORS PLEASE NOTE: VIDEO IS MUTE ROUGH CUT - NO REPORTER NARRATION Israel successfully tested its upgraded Arrow missile interceptor for the second time on Friday, pushing forward work on a U.S.-backed defense against ballistic threats it sees from Lebanon's Hezbollah guerrillas as well as from Iran and Syria. One of several elements of an integrated Israeli aerial shield, Arrow III is designed to deploy kamikaze satellites - known as "kill vehicles" - that track and slam into ballistic missiles above the earth's atmosphere, high enough to safely disintegrate any chemical, biological or nuclear warheads. Iran and Syria have long had such missiles, and Israel believes some are now also possessed by their ally Hezbollah, whose growing arsenal in Lebanon, stocked in part by Damascus, preoccupies the Israelis as their most pressing menace. Friday's launch of an Arrow III interceptor missile over the Mediterranean was the second flight of the system but did not involve the interception of any target, officials said. Israel predicts Arrow III could be deployed by next year. The Pentagon and Boeing are partners in the project run by state-owned Israel Aerospace Industries (IAI). Arrow is the long-range segment in Israel's three-tier missile shield. This also includes the successfully deployed "Iron Dome", which targets short-range rockets and mortar bombs favored by Palestinian guerrillas in Gaza, and the mid-range "David's Sling", which is still under development. They can be deployed alongside U.S. counterpart systems like the Aegis. The United States and Israel have been jointly working on Arrow since 1988. Washington says helping Israel build up the capability to shoot down missiles staves off escalatory wars - or pre-emptive Israeli strikes - in the Middle East.