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August 27, 2004
AN anti-ballistic missile under development by Israel and the US missed its target today in its latest test off the California coast, a spokesman said.
The Arrow missile failed to intercept an air-launched missile over the Pacific and both fell into the water, said Chris Taylor, spokesman for the US Missile Defence Agency.
"The engineers don't yet know what happened," Mr Taylor said.
It was the 13th Arrow intercept test and the eighth test of the complete weapon system.
In today's test, the Arrow was trying to hit a short-range, air-launched target. Mr Taylor would only describe the target as representative of a threat that Israel might encounter.
The Arrow anti-ballistic missile is capable of intercepting an Iranian Shihab-3 missile, despite its failure to do so in a test off the California coast, Aryeh Herzog, the Defense Ministry official in charge of the Arrow project, said Friday.
Herzog focused on the Arrow's ability to distinguish between different targets and ignore dummy targets, which is necessary for both the Iranian and Syrian missiles.
"The element of distinguishing was successful, and the element of final interception had a local malfunction in the Arrow missile," Herzog told Israel Radio. "Since 2002, the Air Force's system, which is operational, is capable of intercepting Iranian Shihab-3 missiles, and we are certainly confident in this."