Israel and the United States carried out a successful test of their advanced Arrow 3 missile defense system early Tuesday morning, the Defense Ministry said.
Shortly before 6:45 a.m., a dummy missile was launched off the coast of Israel that was meant to simulate the type of long-range ballistic missile the Arrow 3 system is designed to intercept.
“Following the launch, the Arrow’s radar spotted the target on its radar array and transferred the data to its fire management center, which analyzed it and fully planned the interception. Once the planning was completed, an Arrow 3 interceptor was fired at the target, which completed its mission with complete success,” the ministry said in a statement.
The test was conducted by the Defense Ministry’s Homa missile defense directorate and the US Missile Defense Agency, with assistance from the Israeli Air Force and Israeli Aerospace Industries, which manufactures the Arrow 3.
The Arrow 3 system, an upgraded model of the Arrow and Arrow 2 models, was declared operational in January 2017. The air defense system, developed as a joint project with the US, is designed to shoot down ballistic missiles — like those Israel fears Iran may one day launch at it — while the incoming projectile is still outside the earth’s atmosphere.
“The success of this test presents an important milestone in the operational capabilities of the State of Israel in defending itself against current and future existential threats,” the Defense Ministry said.
The Arrow was launched from the Palmachim air base in central Israel and the trail it left behind was visible from as far away as Jerusalem, owing to the clear morning.
Complemented by a number of other missile defense systems designed to protect Israel from short-, medium- and long-range attacks, the Arrow 3 system represents the highest level of Israel’s multi-tiered missile defense network.
The Arrow 3 was last tested, successfully, in July as part of a broad missile defense exercise that also checked the abilities of the short-range Iron Dome and medium-range David’s Sling.
Before that, the system was successfully tested in February 2018, after months of delays and technical problems. In January, an exercise was called off because of a data transfer problem and in December a test was canceled over safety concerns.
Tuesday’s trial came two days after Israel’s air defense systems were put the test in shooting down a missile fired from Syria at the Israeli Golan Heights. An Iron Dome battery intercepted the incoming projectile, which the Israeli military said was launched by Iranian forces in Syria, apparently in retaliation for a rare daytime strike attributed to Israel on weapons depots in and around Damascus.
Israel responded to the missile attack on the Golan by pounding both Iranian military targets in Syria and the Syrian air defense systems that fired on the attacking Israeli jets on Monday.
Israel has accused Iran of seeking to establish a military presence in Syria that could threaten Israeli security and attempting to transfer advanced weaponry to the Hezbollah terror group in Lebanon.