Arrow missile 88 298.
(photo credit: AP)
In the face of Iran's continued race towards nuclear power, the United States has agreed to let Israel connect to its worldwide radar system that can provide an early warning of any ballistic missile launched at Israel from around the world, defense officials said Tuesday.
On Tuesday, Israel successfully tested the Green Pine Radar - an integral part of the Arrow missile defense system - as it tracked a new missile made by Rafael - called Blue Sparrow - which mimics an upgraded version of Iran's Shihab 3 ballistic missile.
Defense officials said that the upgraded Blue Sparrow was fired by an IAF fighter jet off Israel's coast. The missile, which is a newer version of the Black Sparrow - used in previous Arrow missile tests - mimics an advanced Iranian Shihab 3 ballistic missile carrying a split warhead and with advanced radar evading capabilities.
Officials said that the Green Pine Radar located and identified the incoming missile and the Citron Tree battle management center related the information to the Arrow battery.
A missile was not fired in the exercise.
America's decision to allow Israel to connect to the worldwide radar system was reached following visits to Washington over the past month by Defense Ministry Dir.-Gen. Pinchas Buhris and head of the ministry's Diplomatic-Security Bureau Amos Gilad.
Israel has connected to the radar system in the past - during the First Gulf War in 1991 and ahead of the US invasion of Iraq in 2003.
In addition to connecting to the radar, the Defense Ministry officials also spoke with their American counterparts about a wide-range of additional Israeli requests concerning the procurement of new advanced military platforms as well as potential US investment in the production of the Iron Dome, the anti-Kassam system currently under development by Rafael.
Defense officials said that the simulation was part of the Arrow's annual test program and was not connected to intelligence concerning an imminent conflict with any of Israel's neighbors. Later in the year, the IAF plans to hold another drill, during which it will test-fire the Arrow and try to intercept a Blue Sparrow.