Israel, U.S. to Develop New Arrow Missile Defense System

Visiting Pentagon missile chief agrees to support Arrow-3 project at meeting with Israeli officials.

A senior United States defense official on Wednesday said the U.S. will support and join Israel in developing the Arrow-3, a new generation of the Arrow anti-ballistic missile system.

Lieutenant General Henry A. Obering III, the director of the Pentagon's Missile Defense Agency, announced the initiative at a meeting on Wednesday with senior Israeli security establishment officials.

Obering, who is currently visiting Israel, also agreed with Israeli officials' request that should the Arrow-3 project encounter difficulties or delays, Israel will be provided with a land launched version of the U.S. Navy's SM-3 anti-ballistic missile.

The agreement came amid heightened tensions between Israel and Iran, and after the Islamic republic's provocative missile test launch last month, in which Iran test fired missiles it said could hit Israel.

The joint decision is an achievement for the security establishment and Israel's defense industry, which had both feared that the Pentagon would treat plans to develop the Arrow-3 coolly and prefer to promote the SM-3 instead, which is manufactured by the U.S.-based Lockheed Martin Corporation.