IAF to test Arrow 3 early next year

An interception test will likely take place in 2012.

Arrow missile 88 298 (photo credit: AP)
Arrow missile 88 298
(photo credit: AP)
The Israel Air Force will hold its first test of the Arrow 3, under development by Israel Aerospace Industries, in early 2011, officials said on Wednesday.
Jointly developed by IAI and Boeing in the US, the Arrow 3 will serve as Israel’s top-tier missile defense system, adding another layer of defense to that provided by the Arrow 2, which is already operational and deployed throughout Israel.
The initial test of the Arrow 3 will not include the interception of a mock enemy missile. An interception test will likely take place in 2012.
“The Arrow system can effectively counter all of the missile threats that exist in the region,” said Inbal Kreiss, the Arrow 3 project manager at IAI.
Kreiss, who spoke at the New Tech conference in Airport City on Wednesday, said that IAI was also modifying the existing Arrow missile launcher to accommodate the slightly smaller Arrow 3 interceptor. This will allow the launcher to also fire American-made SM3 missiles, which are currently used by the US Navy on its Aegis missile defense ships.
Meanwhile Wednesday, defense officials said that the $205 million infunding authorized by the US Congress for Israel’s Iron Dome missiledefense system – developed to intercept short-range rockets – wouldenable the defense establishment to purchase an additional sixbatteries that could be deployed along the Gaza border.
Rafael has already manufactured two batteries that were delivered tothe IAF, which is planning a final conclusive test of the Iron Dome inthe coming weeks, following which it will be declared operational.
Officials said that the system could, in a future conflict, be deployedjust south of Tel Aviv and along the Mediterranean coast to defend thecity against Hamas long-range missiles, such as the Iranian Fajr 5,which it is believed to have obtained since Operation Cast Lead lastyear.