For the first time, Israel will test a defense missile system outside its own borders, as plans for the Arrow 3 trial go forward in Kodiak, Alaska.
Alaska was chosen as the venue for safety reasons: Due to the geographical remoteness, any debris from an interception will fall to the ground without causing injury or property damage.
With an eye on Iranian ballistic threats, the Arrow will go up against projectiles similar to the Iranian types, and will be tasked with destroying them early enough their trajectory before they return to the atmosphere, to prevent harm on the ground in the case of unconventional warheads.
The Arrow 3 is capable of intercepting missiles at an altitude of hundreds of miles, and could be used in the future to intercept satellites, as well.
The trial, arranged in cooperation with the U.S. Missile Defense Agency, is estimated to cost approximately $80 million, part of which will be financed by the U.S.
However, there were divergent reports on the finality of arrangements.
MDA Director U.S. Navy Vice Admiral James Syring was quoted by Alaskan media as telling a congressional meeting last week 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.”
But Craig Campbell, the CEO of Alaska Aerospace Corp, said they’re not quite there yet.
“The Missile Defense Agency, MDA, has approached us about doing the Israeli program out of Kodiak, and we are in the process of negotiating that contract today,” Campbell is quoted by Alaska’s KTOO news as saying.