Israel has successfully tested its Arrow 3 ballistic missile shield, partly funded by the US and intended to deter long-range weapons held by the likes of Iran and Hezbollah, the Defense Ministry reported. The missile flies into the atmosphere, where it splits up into ‘kamikaze’ satellites that lock onto and eliminate targets.
This is the Arrow 3 system’s third trial to date. The last trial did not succeed due to a problem in the target missile rather than the Arrow 3 system itself.
The Israeli industries involved in development of the weapons system: Israel Aerospace Industries Ltd.unit Elta Systems, Elbit Systems Ltd. and Elisra Group. Rafael Advanced Defense Systems Ltd. developed the target missile. US company Boeing is also involved in production of the missiles.
The test was part of devising an aerial defense for Israel against ballistic missiles, such as Iran’s Shahav missile, which can be destroyed in space, and before re-entering the atmosphere. The Arrow system is a key element in Israel’s multi-layered defense system.
Israel’s aerial defense system has four layers: Iron Dome, which intercepts medium-range rockets; Magic Wand (David’s Sling), currently in development, which is designed to provide a solution for short-range rockets; Arrow 2, which has already been operational for a decade; and Arrow 3, which is still undergoing tests.
Interception tests of Arrow 3 are expected in the near future, in the hope that the tests will succeed and Arrow 3 will provide the final element in Israel’s aerial defense system. When all the developments are completed, Israel should be better protected against missiles than any other country in the world.
“The success of the Arrow 3 system today … is an important step towards one of the most important projects for Israel and Israel Aerospace Industries (IAI) becoming operational, ” IAI chief executive officer Joseph Weiss said.
Two months ago Defense Minister Moshe Ya’alon met with his US counterpart Ash Carter to discuss US funding of the system’s development from 2017 after the current US military aid package to Israel is renewed. Each Arrow 3 missile costs about $2.2 million, according to Haaretz. American officials were present at the test on Thursday.