Israel expands missile defense system with new interceptor

JERUSALEM — Israel says it has expanded a missile defense system with the addition of longer range, more precise interception capabilities.

Israel's Defense Ministry says yesterday it has included the Arrow-3 interceptor into its existing Arrow Weapon System defense shield. The ministry says the addition of Arrow-3 will "significantly reduce" the possibility of ballistic missiles hitting Israel. It is expected to be operational within months.

The Arrow-3 is designed to strike targets outside the atmosphere, intercepting missiles closer to their launch sites. It was developed by Israel Aerospace Industries together with US aviation giant Boeing.

Arrow-3 is part of the multi-layered system Israel is developing to protect itself against a range of threats — from short- and mid-range rockets fired from the Gaza Strip and Lebanon to Iran's long-range missiles.