In a joint operation, Israel and the United States early Tuesday undertook what officials called a “very successful” test firing of an Arrow 3 missile. The test was conducted by officials of the Defense Ministry and the U.S. Missile Defense Agency.
According to an official statement, the test took place at 6:44 a.m. Tuesday morning, Israel time. The missile, which is a defensive system to knock out intercontinental ballistic missiles and other rockets that travel outside the atmosphere, was fired at a pre-planned target and successfully knocked it off its course, causing it to explode.
In a statement, the Defense Ministry said that “the success of the test is an important milestone in the State of Israel’s operational capability to defend itself against future and existing existential threats in the region.”
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 previous versions of the 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 last 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 Jerusalem 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.