“This was the first time Israel successfully hit a target at such elevations, essentially in space”
(JTA) — Israel’s defence ministry reported that its new interceptor system against long-range missiles successfully passed a test.
The trial of the Arrow 3 system was conducted Thursday morning, the Globes daily reported. In the test, projectiles simulating enemy missiles were launched from an airborne platform flying over the Mediterranean Sea toward the Israeli coastline.
The Arrow 3 system identified the targets while they were still in space by using its array of sensors including the Super Green Pine radar, built by Israel Aerospace Industries subsidiary Elta Industries. The interceptor missile, also built by IAI, was launched at from the Palmachim Air Force Base.
“The interception was accurate, unequivocally,” said Yair Ramati, director of the Israel Missile Defense Organization at the ministry. “The systems worked as expected and the interceptor hit the target dead center.”
Thursday morning’s trial came after an earlier trial failed last year.
As part of the successful test, the kill vehicle intercepted its target outside the atmosphere.
“This was the first time Israel successfully hit a target at such elevations, essentially in space,” said Ramati. “The missile correctly identified its target from a great distance and showed off its exceptional capability.”
The Arrow 3 missiles were designed to enable interception of ballistic missiles beyond the earth’s atmosphere, both to provide a solution to blocking missiles carrying nuclear warheads far from Israel and to increase the odds of intercepting enemy missiles.
If the Arrow 3 kill vehicle were to miss in real life, the IAF’s missile defence shield would have a second shot at interception with the Arrow 2 missile.
The American aviation firm Boeing is also involved in production of the Arrow 3 missiles, which are being developed with U.S. funding.
Israeli media characterized the Arrow 3 as insurance against Iran, which is believed to possess hundreds of medium- and long-range missiles capable of reaching Israel.