Israel and the United States have completed a series of successful tests of the new long-range Arrow-3 ballistic missile defence system in Alaska, Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu announced at the start of Sunday’s Cabinet meeting.
The tests involved targets similar to the advanced ballistic missiles currently being developed by Iran. The Arrow 3 successfully intercepted multiple targets above the atmosphere.
Netanyahu wrote on Twitter: “During three recent tests in Alaska, the Arrow 3 intercepted ballistic missiles beyond the atmosphere at unprecedented altitudes and speeds. Perfect execution! I would like to express my deep and strong appreciation to the United States for advancing our joint security.”
Moshe Patel, director of the Israel Missile Defense Organization, said, “Ten challenging years of development have culminated at this moment: the Arrow 3 weapon system completed a test campaign, during which an Arrow 3 interceptor completed full interception of the target.” He said that “in addition, the fact that the tests were conducted in Alaska, tens of thousands of kilometres away from Israel, is another significant achievement that demonstrates the operational capabilities of the Arrow 3 system to successfully face any threat.”
U.S. Missile Defense Agency (MDA) Vice Admiral Jon Hill said the test “provides confidence in future Israeli capabilities to defeat the developing threats in the region,” referring to recent posturing by Iran in the form of tensions over commercial shipping in the Straits of Hormuz and last week’s testing by the Islamic republic of a Shahab-3 medium-range ballistic missile.
“We are committed to assisting the Government of Israel in upgrading its national missile defence capability to defend the State of Israel from emerging threats,” Hill said.
Reports indicate that the test is part of an $80 million contract between MDA and the Alaska Aerospace Corp, and was conducted outside Israel due to the difficulty in testing such a long-range system in a small country such as Israel.
On Friday night, Channel 13’s Barak Ravid reported that Israeli Ambassador to the U.S. Ron Dermer had travelled to Alaska concerning an issue “at the core of the U.S.-Israeli security relationship,” but details were not disclosed.
The Arrow Weapon System is a joint project of Israel Aerospace Industries, Elbit Systems, Rafael Advanced Defense Systems and America’s Boeing.