‘Weak spot’ in Arrow 2 missile defense system now rectified, say officials

Problem discovered when upgraded version missed target.

Arrow missle (photo credit: DEFENSE MINISTRY)
Arrow missle
(photo credit: DEFENSE MINISTRY)
The Defense Ministry recently repaired a weakness in the Arrow 2 missile defense system that was discovered during a test last September, defense officials said on Tuesday.
The need for the repair became apparent after a test against “a future threat that does not currently exist in the arsenal of Israel’s enemies” resulted in a miss, said officials from HOMA, part of the Defense Ministry’s Administration for the Development of Weapons and Technological Infrastructure.
“Intercepting such a threat requires a significant broadening of the limits of the system,” the officials said. “The interceptor passed very close to the target but did not directly strike it. Hence, we could not assess the overall result.”
Engineers conducted a “complex analysis to see if shrapnel from the interceptor struck the mock warhead and destroyed it,” they explained.
“A weak spot was identified in the system that had no influence on the current range of Arrow 2 capabilities that are operational. The repair was successful.”
In summing up 2014, HOMA highlighted the performance of the Iron Dome anti-rocket system as the most outstanding event in terms of air defense.
Iron Dome intercepted 740 Gazan rockets heading for built-up areas during last summer’s Operation Protective Edge, representing a 90 percent success rate. Defense industries brought forward delivery of three batteries at the start of hostilities in July, and significantly increased the size of Israeli protected territory.
In September, HOMA held a series of experiments designed to assess improvements against existing and future threats. In January 2014, a test of the Arrow 3 missile interceptor involving free flight into space was successful.
The system is designed to intercept incoming ballistic missiles while they are still in space.
In December, the Defense Ministry, together with defense industries, conducted the Arrow 3’s first interception test. A Sparrow-type target missile appeared at high altitude, but, according to officials, it did not appear in the proper sector. In accordance with stringent safety parameters, engineers decided not to fire the interceptor.
The event was subsequently classified as a “no test.”
The series of trials took place as the nation’s enemies worked hard to advance their arsenals with a view to penetrating Israel’s active defenses and improving the precision and deadliness of their rockets and missiles.
In May, the Arrow 2 and the David’s Sling medium-range anti-missile system took part in a joint air defense exercise with the US military.