Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu said Monday that the successful test flight of the upgraded Arrow III missile interceptor is an indication of Israel's high defense capabilities, saying that the system would keep Israeli citizens safe both in time of peace, and when peace is threatened.
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"Israel's hand is always extended in peace, but we are also always prepared for other possibilities," Netanyahu said in a statement released following a meeting with Mideast Quartet envoy Tony Blair. He went on to praise the successful completion of the advanced system's first test flight earlier on Monday.
"It demonstrates the State of Israel's high technological capability, the State of Israel's high defense capability and our cooperation with the U.S.," Netanyahu said. "It will help us maintain the safety of the citizens of Israel, whether it is in a time of peace, or when peace is threatened."
Arrow III, which Israel is developing with the help of American funding, is designed to shoot down incoming ballistic missiles at altitudes high enough to allow for non-conventional warheads to disintegrate safely.
The upgraded version, which was tested on Monday, should be more efficient than the presently operational Arrow weapons system at contending with future threats Israel will face, the Defense Ministry said in a statement.
The test was a joint effort by the Israeli Defense Ministry and the U.S. Missile Defense Administration.
It bears noting, however, that the advanced interceptor is not expected to become operational for at least three years.