Israel’s Defense Ministry, in collaboration with the US Missile Defense Agency (MDA), at 2:30 AM Monday carried out a successful flight test of the Arrow 3 system, designed to intercept ballistic missiles outside the atmosphere. according to the defense ministry’s announcement, “Arrow interceptor 3 was launched and carried out its mission.”
The successful test followed two system trials that had been canceled at the last minute over the past two months due to failure to comply with safety conditions.
The Arrow 3 system can intercept missiles in space hundreds of kilometers outside the atmosphere, and, according to foreign media reports, Arrow 3 can also take down satellites in orbit, establishing Israel as member of a very limited club of countries with such capabilities.
Arrow 3 is the only interceptor in the world that does not use explosives to take down its targets. The kinetic energy produced in the meeting with Arrow 3’s target is large enough to destroy it without the need for explosives. This is in contrast with Arrow 2, which carries a warhead that explode as it approaches a target.
The experiment was carried out by the Homa Missile Defense Agency of the Administration for the Development of Weapons and Technological Infrastructure ((MAFAT) in the defense ministry, in collaboration with the American MDA, which together are developing the advanced weapon system.
The launch was carried out from an experiments field in the center of the country, led by Israel Aerospace Industries with the participation of the Israeli Air Force. The test simulated a full operational scenario of the interception system in deep space.
“The successful experiment allows us to hold another full interception test in Alaska this year, of a real target that simulates ballistic missiles like the Iranians have,” explained Col. Moshe Petael, head of Homa. “This is something that cannot be done in our airspace for safety reasons.”
Boaz Levy, Deputy CEO and head of Israel Aerospace Industries’ Missile and Space Division, also referred to the successful experiment, saying, “This was a very complex experiment, during which the interceptor was launched and exited the atmosphere deep into space. The missile did everything that was expected of it. We are very pleased with the results. The missile made its entire track and had there been a real target, it would have hit it.”
Levy said the system is now fully prepared to embark on its upcoming trials in Alaska.
The main contractor for the development of the Arrow 3 system is IAI / MALAM, in cooperation with Boeing, Elta, Elbit Systems, IMI Systems, and Rafael.
Arrow 3, developed at the Israel Aircraft Industries’ MALAM plant, is the fourth layer in Israel’s defense array, together with Arrow 2, Magic Wand, and Iron Dome. These layers complement one another by offering defense against incoming ballistic missiles, cruise missiles, and rockets of all ranges.
Over the past eight years, the United States has given Israel $1.55 billion to cover the costs of these missile defense joint ventures.