U.S. and Israel Complete Flight Test Of Arrow-3 Missile Defense System

This article has been updated for clarity.

The U.S. Missile Defense Agency (MDA) and Israel Missile Defense Organization (IMDO) successfully completed a flight test of the Arrow-3 missile defense system Monday, the agency said Feb. 19.

Arrow-3 is designed to intercept ballistic missiles outside the atmosphere. The test had an Arrow-3 interceptor launched “and completed its mission” in central Israel. The test was led by the state-owned Israel Aerospace Industries (AIA) with the Israeli Air Force.

This was not an intercept test, with no target launched.

An Arrow-3 interceptor is launched in central Israel for a flight test. (Photo: Israel Ministry of Defense)

An Arrow-3 interceptor is launched in central Israel for a flight test. (Photo: Israel Ministry of Defense)

IMDO falls within the Israel Defense Ministry’s Directorate of Defense Research and Development (DDR&D).

The Arrow-3 is one of Israel’s four major rocket and missile defense platforms. Israel’s Rafael Advanced Defense Systems and IAI’s Iron Dome defends against shorter range rockets and artillery shells; Raytheon [RTN] and Rafael’s David’s Sling acts as a terminal-phase defense against tactical ballistic missiles, medium to long-range rockets, planes, cruise missiles, and drones; and Arrow 2 is aimed at intercepting theater ballistic missiles.

The Arrow-2 has a blast-fragmentation warhead compared to most U.S. missile defense systems that are hit-to-kill.

In contrast, Arrow 3 is expected to intercept missiles at higher altitudes and longer ranges than the Arrow-2, with a hit-to-kill warhead.

“The success of this test is a major milestone in the operational capabilities of the State of Israel and its ability to defend itself against current and future threats in the region,” MDA said in a statement.

This test came after two earlier canceled ones. First in December 2017 test was cancelled when the Rafael-made Sparrow ballistic missile target did not act as designed due to an unspecified flaw and in January 2018 a test was cancelled because of a communications transfer problem with ground components of the Arrow-3 .

The first Arrow 3 interceptors were delivered to Israel’s Air Force for operational use in January 2017 (Defense Daily, Jan. 19).

IAI’s MLM division is the prime system integrator for the general Arrow Weapons System. MDA noted Boeing [BA] is the American industry partner working with MLM to develop and produce the Arrow-3 interceptor.

The Arrow Weapon System reached its initial operational capability in 2000.





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