Israel’s much heralded, upgraded Arrow ballistic missile shield didn’t do so well Tuesday, according to Reuters, having failed its first live interception test. Considering the fact that the U.S. financed system is being billed as the magical umbrella against Iran’s long-range missiles—not good news for anyone.
Reuters has been told by a source in Israel’s security apparatus that the launching off the Palmahim air base south of Tel Aviv of the interceptor missile was cancelled because it couldn’t to lock on to a target missile flying above the Mediterranean.
“There was a countdown to the launch, and then nothing happened, ” Reuters reported, citing the source, who revealed that “a decision was made not to waste the interceptor missile.”
The IDF statement regarding the same event was a little more forgiving, stating that “within the framework of preparations for a future interception test, a target missile was launched and carried out its trajectory successfully.”
In other words, the thing flew, and came down, but didn’t hit anything on the way.
The expectations for Arrow 3 is that it will some day be able to intercept ballistic missiles, particularly if they’re carrying weapons of mass destruction, at altitudes of more than 60 miles.
An Arrow 3 battery is expected to intercept salvos of more than five ballistic missiles within 30 seconds. The Arrow 3 should be launched into an area of space before it is known where the target missile is going. When the target and its course are identified, the Arrow interceptor is then redirected using its thrust-vectoring nozzle to close the gap and conduct a “body-to-body” interception.
Needless to say, none of those lovely things happened Tuesday. But the thing did take off and land in the water, which is better than had it blown itself up on the launching pad.