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Israel to Activate New Defense ShieldAired March 16, 2000 - 2:19 p.m. ET
THIS IS A RUSH TRANSCRIPT. THIS COPY MAY NOT BE IN ITS FINAL FORM AND MAY BE UPDATED.
LOU WATERS, CNN ANCHOR: The Israelis say they're about to activate a new defense shield that will protect their country and its people from enemy attacks.
CNN's Jerusalem bureau chief Walter Rodgers has our report.
WALTER RODGERS, CNN JERUSALEM BUREAU CHIEF (voice-over): The Israelis are tooting their horns. The reason? They say they have developed and are about the deploy a star wars-type defense system that will shoot down incoming enemy ballistic missiles. The Arrow II is a joint U.S.-Israeli project with more than half the $2 billion price paid for by Washington, according to U.S. officials. The U.S. benefits from shared research.
Although never tested in combat, Israeli officials say their anti-ballistic missile system is pretty good.
GEN. YITZHAK BEN YISRAEL, WEAPONS DEVELOPMENT AUTHORITY: It gives you another layer in a system of layers, which altogether can give an answer, especially by reducing the number of leaking missiles through the defense.
(BEGIN VIDEO CLIP, ISRAEL AIRCRAFT INDUSTRIES VIDEO)
ANNOUNCER: At a close distance, the Arrow's warhead activates, spewing forth hundreds of lethal metal fragments, destroying the incoming missile.
(END VIDEO CLIP)
RODGERS: But what if a potential enemy were to fire decoys or maneuverable warheads.
PAUL BEAVER, "JANE'S DEFENCE WEEKLY": I think there's always a problem that if somebody can launch a large number of missiles, then some will get through.
RODGERS: After absorbing 39 SCUD missiles from Iraq during the Gulf War, Israel launched its own star wars problem. Now besides Iraq, Israelis are worried about Iran's ballistic missile: the Shehob 3 (ph). BEAVER: Shehop 3 could well have a terminal velocity which is greater than that on which the radar cuing system of the Israelis are capable of picking up and accurately cuing a missile to.
RODGERS (on camera): The Arrow may not yet be a seamless ballistic missile defense, but in Israeli, where security and survival are foremost in everyone's mind, the psychological value of even a less than perfect ballistic missile defense is difficult to overstate.
Walter Rodgers, CNN, Jerusalem.
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