In the face of Iran’s continued pursuit of a nuclear weapon, Israel tested the
Arrow missile defense system on Friday in what officials said was a successful
demonstration of the country’s ability to defend itself in a future
At 11 a.m. Friday, an F-15 Israel Air Force (IAF) fighter jet
launched a Blue Sparrow missile developed by Raphael to impersonate long-range
Iranian ballistic missiles.
The Arrow’s radar and detection system,
developed by Israel Aerospace Industries (IAI) detected the incoming “enemy”
missile and tracked it together with the United States X-Band radar deployed in
the Negev desert.
The Arrow interceptor was not launched during the test,
in line with the parameters of the drill, which was carried out to test the
system’s overall capabilities in detecting and tracking incoming enemy
“This was a complicated test due to the way the missile operated
and the objective of getting all the systems to work together,” explained Yair
Ramati, head of Israel’s Homa Missile Defense Agency.
Ministry said the test was not connected to current events and was part of the
Arrow system’s annual training regimen, but that it was a significant milestone,
as it completes the development of Block 4 stage of the interceptor, which will
be delivered to the IAF in the coming weeks.
The Arrow serves as Israel’s
upper-tier missile defense system. Additional layers include the Iron Dome for
short-range rockets and the soon-to-be-deployed David’s Sling, which is being
developed to defend against medium-range rockets.
Defense Minister Ehud
Barak praised the successful test.
“This is an important technological
achievement and an important step in Israel’s progress in the field of defense,”
Barak said. “The successful test demonstrates once again the high technical
capabilities of engineers, technicians and employees of Israeli defense
companies which participated in the test.”
Israel and the United States
are scheduled to hold the Austere Challenge missile- defense exercise later this
year, likely in late October.
Senior American military officers from the
European Command arrived in Israel recently to finalize plans to hold the
exercise, which has been billed as the largest joint missile-defense exercise in
the countries’ history.
The drill was initially scheduled for April and
was supposed to see the deployment of thousands of US troops and various
sophisticated American military equipment in Israel.