Arrow 3 Missile Test Set for Monday Canceled Over ‘Safety Concerns’

An Arrow 3 missile is fired in this 2013 test. (IAI via Tsahi Ben-Ami/Flash90)

A test of the Arrow 3 defense missile system set for Monday morning has been canceled. According to the Defense Ministry, the test was halted at an early stage when it became clear that the target was “not secured.” The Arrow missile is designed to operate at high atmospheric levels, hitting incoming missiles that are poised to strike Israel.

Israel has a three-pronged missile defense system for use against incoming missile attacks. The defense system includes David’s Sling (also known as Magic Wand), Iron Dome and the Arrow. The first is to be used to shoot down incoming medium-range missiles, the second deflects incoming short-range missiles like Kassam rockets, and the latter intercepts long-range missiles fired at central Israel from afar, and at high altitudes.

All the systems have been tested in the field, and the Iron Dome and Arrow systems were used extensively, and with great success, during the 2014 Operation Defensive Edge campaign. A previous version of the Arrow system, meanwhile, saw action in late March, when it was used to shoot down a Syrian rocket. Portions of the missile fell over the northern Jordan Valley and inside Jordan as well. Loud explosions were heard in the area, and residents of Yerushalayim reported hearing the explosions as well. The Arrow was developed jointly by Israel and the United States, with Boeing, Elta, Elbit Systems, Israel Military Industries, Israel Aerospace Industries and Rafael all participating in development and manufacture.

Moshe Patael, head of the Homa Authority, the government agency in charge of the test, said that “the test was to emulate the use of the Arrow in an extra-atmospheric ballistic missile attack on Israel. Because safety is our top priority, the test was halted at an early stage because the target we fired was deemed not ready for the test. Thus we canceled the test. Engineers are analyzing the situation, and the test will be rescheduled in the near future.”

According to Boaz Levi, deputy director of Israel Aerospace Industries, “The test was canceled because of the regulations we impose on all such tests. There was nothing exceptional about the cancelation. We will figure out what happened and operate accordingly.”