Israel Exhibits Eitam Airplane

Ad Feedback - JERUSALEM, Israel - A day after Teheran test fired nine ballistic missiles, Israel Aerospace Industries (IAI) sponsored an in-house exhibit of its Eitam aircraft, equipped with state-of-the-art intelligence-gathering systems.

Meanwhile, overnight Thursday, Teheran continued its missile-launching exercise in the Persian Gulf, the Islamic Republic's state-run media announced.

"Deep in the Persian Gulf waters, the launch of different types of ground-to-sea, surface-to-surface, sea-to-air and the powerful launch of the Hout missile successfully took place," Iran's state radio reported.

But Israeli officials said Iranian claims that the Shahab-3 is a newer, more powerful ballistic missile is more braggadocio than reality.

"From what I saw, this is an old version of the Shahab-3 and, contrary to their claims, it is not capable of reaching 2,000 kilometers [approximately 1,200 miles], only 1,300 kilometers [about 800 miles]," said Uzi Rubin, program director of Homa, which oversaw Israel's development of the Arrow missile defense system.

"Without being hasty, I note that the Iranians have a tendency to exaggerate to a certain extent the capabilities of their missiles," Rubin said.

Iran's latest display was intended to show Israel and the US that the Islamic Republic is capable of defending its nuclear installations.

"Our finger is always on the trigger, and our missiles are always ready to launch," said Revolutionary Guards Air Force head General Hossein Salami.

Israeli experts note that the Shahab-3 missile requires a time-consuming liquid fueling process prior to launching, making it easier to track.

The Iranians are trying to develop a more advanced and longer-range version of the Shahab-3, called the Ashura, which uses solid propellants -- fuel plus oxidizer -- speeding up the launching process.

Meanwhile, Israel is upgrading its Arrow missile defense system to the Arrow-3, capable of intercepting ballistic missiles launched from further away and traveling at higher altitudes.

Over the coming weeks, a series of meetings has been scheduled in the US between senior Israeli defense officials and their American counterparts.

Next week, Israeli Defense Minister Ehud Barak will meet with US Secretary of Defense Robert Gates and other senior officials in Washington.

Source: Haaretz

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