Arrow-3 test in Alaska postponed

Israel's Ministry of Defense said the delay followed consultations in Washington.

May 1, 2018 16:13
2 minute read.
Israeli Air Force receives Arrow-3 ballistic interceptors in formal transfer ceremony.

Israeli Air Force receives Arrow-3 ballistic interceptors in formal transfer ceremony.. (photo credit: DEFENSE MINISTRY)


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The Defense Ministry has delayed a scheduled joint test of its Arrow-3 intercontinental ballistic missile defense system in the United States, it was announced on Tuesday.

The delay follows consultations between Washington and Jerusalem “in order to achieve maximum readiness” for the field test, the ministry said.

The two countries are working toward finding a new date for first such test to occur outside of Israel.

The exercise, which is to be carried out in cooperation with the US Missile Defense Agency, was due to take place on the Alaskan island of Kodiak, where the system would have been tested against targets similar in behavior to advanced ballistic missiles being developed by Iran.

Israel and the United States remain concerned that Iran has continued to work on both its nuclear weapons program and its ballistic missile program.

On Monday evening, Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu said Israel had obtained 100,000 original documents as well as files on 183 CDs proving that Tehran had violated the 2015 nuclear deal.

In light of the growing missile threat, the two allies have worked together to develop several missile defense systems, including the Arrow-3, whose development was co-managed by the Defense Ministry’s Israel Missile Defense Organization and the US Missile Defense Agency.

The Arrow-3, considered one of the world’s best interceptors due to its breakthrough technological capabilities, is a highly maneuverable system designed to provide ultimate air defense by intercepting ballistic missiles when they are still outside the Earth’s atmosphere.

Two earlier tests of the system in Israel were called off after technical problems. Nevertheless, the Defense Ministry said on Tuesday that the delay of the test in Alaska “has nothing to do with the operational system.”

Then-Missile Defense Agency director US Navy Vice Admiral James Syring told a congressional hearing in September that the “[Arrow-3] has significant range constraints within the Mediterranean. One of the better places to test is in Alaska, from Kodiak, and we intend to do that next year.”

According to the Juneau, Alaska-based KTOO News, the test would be part of the $80 million contract between the Missile Defense Agency and the Alaska Aerospace Corp.

The Israel Air Force officially received Arrow-3 intercepters from the Israel Missile Defense Organization in January, and according to IMDO Director Moshe Patel, further trials of the system were expected as Israel will continue to work with the United States in developing additional capabilities for the system.

In addition to the Arrow system, Israel’s air defenses currently include the Iron Dome, designed to shoot down short-range rockets, and the David’s Sling system, designed to intercept tactical ballistic missiles, medium-to long-range rockets, and cruise missiles fired at ranges between 40 and 300 km.

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