Israel and the US have successfully tested the Arrow 3 anti-ballistic missile defence system.
The Israel Missile Defence Organisation (IMDO) of the Directorate of Defence Research and Development (DDR&D) and the US Missile Defence Agency (MDA) completed the flight test at the Pacific Spaceport Complex in Alaska over the weekend.
The Arrow 3 is capable of intercepting and destroying long range inter-continental ballistic missiles safely at very high altitudes. The system is a central part of Israel’s multi-layer defence system, based on four operational layers: Iron Dome (for mortars and short-range missiles), David’s Sling (for medium-to-long range missiles and scud missiles), the Arrow 2 (for short-to-medium range ballistic missiles), and the Arrow 3.
Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu watched the test alongside US Ambassador David Friedman at the Israeli Cabinet meeting in Jerusalem yesterday. He said that the tests were “successful beyond any imagination”.
He added: “The Arrow 3 – with complete success – intercepted ballistic missiles beyond the atmosphere at unprecedented altitudes and speeds. The execution was perfect – all precise hits. Today Israel has the ability to act against ballistic missiles that could be launched against us from Iran or anywhere else. This is a great achievement for the security of Israel. All of our enemies should know that we will overcome them in both defence and offense.”
The tests mark a culmination of ten “challenging” years of development, the IMDO director, Moshe Patel, said in a statement. “The fact that these tests were conducted in Alaska, tens of thousands of kilometres away from Israel, is another significant achievement that demonstrates the operational capabilities of the Arrow 3 system to successfully face any threat,” he said.
Reports indicate that the test is part of an $80m contract between MDA and the Alaska Aerospace Corp, and was conducted outside of Israel due to the difficulty in testing such a long-range system in a country so small.
The Arrow system is a joint project of Israel Aerospace Industries, Elbit Systems, Rafael Advanced Defense Systems and America’s Boeing. It became operational in 2017 and has been deployed to counter Syrian missiles. Israel announced in January that it had successfully tested Arrow 3 against long-range ballistic missile threats.