The Defense Ministry held a successful missile drill on Tuesday morning in the
Mediterranean Sea and in a testing area at an Israel Air Force base in the
Russia’s announcement that its navy identified the
missile launches forced the ministry to acknowledge the test.
Israeli defense source said the test had been planned well in advance, and was
part of a drill program.
The test was conducted with the assistance of
representatives from the US Missile Defense Agency and the Pentagon.
experiment, conducted by the Defense Ministry’s Administration for the
Development of Weapons and Technological Infrastructure, began at 9:15 a.m. It
involved the firing and tracking of a Sparrow target missile, which is used to
simulate incoming enemy projectiles.
“The experiment tested enhanced
capabilities of a new type of target missile from the Sparrow series,” the
ministry said. “Arrow anti-missile defense systems, including radars and a
command and control system, were also tested.”
Before the ministry’s
announcement, Moscow said it had detected two ballistic missiles launched from
the same area of the sea.
“Israel routinely fires missiles or drones off
its shores to test its own ballistic defense capabilities,” a US official said
The missile was picked up by the IDF’s Magnificent Pine
radar system, which serves the Arrow ballistic missile batteries, and has better
detection capabilities than its predecessor radar, called Green Pine.
Tuesday’s test, Magnificent Pine passed on the incoming missile’s stats to an
interception command center, which observed and analyzed the projectile’s
progress. Additional detection and traction systems followed the missile’s path
at the same time.
Officials from corporations involved in the project,
which is led by Rafael Advanced Defense Systems, also participated in the
Defense Minister Moshe Ya’alon said Israel had to work to maintain
its military edge, and “this necessitates field trials and, accordingly, a
successful trial was conducted to test our systems. And we will continue to
develop and to research and to equip the IDF with the best systems in the
Arrow designer Uzi Rabin said tests of the anti-missile system
are planned “long, long in advance” and generally go unnoticed. “What apparently
made the difference today is the high state of tension over Syria and Russia’s
unusual vigilance,” he told Reuters.
Israeli defense officials are
developing four layers of missile defenses: The Iron Dome system against short-
and medium-range rockets, David’s Sling (under development) against medium- and
longrange rockets, the Arrow 2 antiballistic shield, which intercepts
projectiles in the upper atmosphere, and the Arrow 3 system (under development),
which will intercept enemy missiles in space.
An Arrow 3 missile was
successfully test-launched in Israel in February. Traveling at twice the speed
of a tank shell, the Arrow 3 interceptor turns into a space vehicle after
leaving the atmosphere. It carries out several swift maneuvers as it locks on to
its target. It then lunges directly at the incoming projectile for a head-on
collision, relying on the kinetic impact to destroy its target.
developed the Sparrow missile series, while the Arrow defense batteries are
being developed by the Malam factory of Israel Aerospace Industries.
Magnificent Pine radar was developed by Elta Systems, a subsidiary of IAI, while
the command and control center used in the test was created by Tadiran
Electronic Systems, a subsidiary of Elbit.
Reuters and Jerusalem Post
staff contributed to this report.