After Two Failures, Israel Successfully Tests Arrow 3 - but Not on a Real Target

'If it had a real target – it would have hit it,' officials says, after new anti-ballistic missile Arrow 3 system passes interception test run

An "Arrow 3" ballistic missile interceptor seen during its test launch  in 2015.
Ilan Assayag

Israel's defense establishment conducted Monday a successful test of its upgraded Arrow 3 anti-ballistic missile system, after the last two trials had been canceled due to technical errors in the last two months. The test was conducted in cooperation with the American Missile Defense Agency in a field in central Israel, and was led by Israel Aerospace Industries with participation of the Israeli Air Force.

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"The experiment we conducted today was very complex," said Boaz Levy, Deputy CEO of Israel Aerospace Industries and manager of its Systems, Missiles & Space Group.

"The rocket performed as expected. We're very pleased with the results," Levy noted. He added that "In the experiment, the interceptor simulated a full military scenario and the rocket did the route in full, and if it had a real target – would have hit it. We've achieved all the goals we set for ourselves in full before embarking on tests in Alaska."

The Arrow 3 is considered the next generation of defense systems, capable of attacking targets at from great distances and heights at a much higher speed. At this point, the Israeli army uses the Arrow 2 system, which has been operational for a number of years. It also uses an older version of the Arrow 3, given to the army in January 2017. The new system currently in testing will likely grant the army an ability to deal with more complex scenarios.

Last month, an Arrow 3 test was halted because of a communication glitch less than a month after the Anchor-type target missile, which had been fired from a jet, experienced another error.

The first test missile was halted due to a data transmission problem, not an issue with the system itself, at the ground base. The test missile had been fired as expected and was functioning normally, meeting all safety requirements, but the test was ultimately abandoned.