Israel, US successfully test Arrow 3, the next-generation in missile defense

The joint U.S.-Israel project is the highest layer of defense against ballistic missiles, including those that carry nuclear payloads.

By Batya Jerenberg, World Israel News

Israel’s Ministry of Defense announced Tuesday that the Arrow 3 Defense System shot down a mock enemy missile in the second such successful test of the newest version of the missile project.

All parts of the system worked perfectly, the ministry said. After a mock enemy rocket was launched from the air force base at Palmachim, the Arrow detection system identified the target, calculated its trajectory, and intercepted the missile and destroyed it.

U.S. Missile Defense Agency Director Lt. Gen. Samuel Greaves said, “This successful test provides confidence in Israel’s capability to protect itself from existing threats in the region.”

The Arrow 2 version of the defense system is the one currently in use and is the highest layer of defense in Israel’s arsenal. It is meant to protect Israel from intercontinental ballistic missiles such as those being developed by Iran, by blasting them outside the atmosphere to prevent possibly nuclear payloads from reaching the country.

The newest version is considered part of the next generation of missile defense, capable of attacking targets much faster, at greater ranges and at much higher altitudes than the system today. Though not yet operational, the ministry stated that this successful test of the Arrow 3 constitutes an important milestone in Israel’s operational ability to defend itself from existing and future threats that may occur in the region.

The Arrow 3 is a joint project of the American and Israeli missile defense agencies, and representatives of both were at the test. Israel Aerospace Industries (IAI), Elta and Elbit personnel were also onsite, as all three Israeli companies are involved in building critical parts of the system.

Threats by the Islamic Republic to destroy Israel are commonplace, such as the one following Israel’s strike on Iranian targets in Syria Monday. Iranian media reported that its air force commander, Brigadier General Aziz Nasir-Zadeh, threatened that his men were “fully ready and impatient to confront the Zionist regime and eliminate it from the Earth.”

According to the Congressional Research Service, the United States has been funding the Arrow 3 program since 2008. Its contributions have risen from $20 million in 2008 to $253 million last year, totaling about a billion dollars thus far.