30 November 1998

DM MORDECHAI ATTENDS DELIVERY OF FIRST "ARROW"

(Communicated by Defense Minister’s Media Advisor)

Defense Minister Yitzhak Mordechai, yesterday (Sunday), 29.11.98, attended a small ceremony during which the first "Arrow" missile was transferred from an IAI factory to the headquarters of the Defense Ministry’s "Homa" project, thus beginning the process of the supply of Arrow missiles to the defense establishment. Additional missiles will be completed in the near future.

The Arrow missile transferred yesterday is fully operational, but contains components which need to be tested. This missile, and the additional missiles which will be produced in the future, will be used primarily for testing purposes, but will be available for operational use if necessary. After the completion of the production of this first group, production of fully operational missiles will begin.

At the ceremony, Defense Minister Mordechai said that, "Many of the world’s developed countries are taking a long and respectful look at the Arrow missile project, and at the unique technological achievement which it represents."

The Defense Minister added that "The transfer of the first Arrow missile on 29th November, the date that the UN 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 foolproof shield against the current and future threat."

The Defense Minister said that "a great deal of resources, thought, vision and daring has gone into the project, which has proven itself."

The Defense Minister expressed his appreciation for his predecessors, Yitzhak Rabin, Moshe Arens and Shimon Peres, for their support for the advancement of the project. He also thanked US Defense Secretary William Cohen and his predecessors and the US administration for their involvement and aid in the project. "Today, every citizen of the State of Israel feels pride in this achievement," the Defense Minister said, expressing his gratitude to the employees of Israel Aircraft Industries and other factories which took part in the joint production of the "Arrow."

The Arrow missile system is currently the most advanced system in the world for the interception of ballistic missiles.