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Wednesday, February 23, 2011

Video: Arrow 2 missile defense successfully tested

Missile defense system tested off California coast, destroys simulated Iranian missile; Barak calls development a milestone.

Raw Footage: Israeli Arrow 2 Missile Test Off California

Israel conducted a successful test of the Arrow 2 ballistic missile defense system off the coast of California early on Tuesday morning, when it destroyed a target simulating an Iranian ballistic missile.

It was the 18th test of the Arrow, and the second in which the modified Arrow 2 was tested in its entirety, along with the Green Pine radar manufactured by Israel Aerospace Industries.

The test was conducted jointly by the IAF, the Defense Ministry’s Homa Missile Defense Agency and the US Missile Defense Agency. The Arrow is a project developed in cooperation by the IAI and Boeing.

The Arrow interceptor was launched at around 10:30 p.m. Pacific Standard Time from a US Navy base along the California coast and intercepted a missile fired from a nearby navy vessel. Defense officials said the “enemy” missile impersonated a “future threat that Israel could one day face in the region.”

Defense officials lauded the successful launch as another indication of Israel’s defense capabilities in the face of Iran’s continued quest for a nuclear weapon. They said that the Arrow system could protect Israel from all of the missiles in Iran’s arsenal.

The Green Pine Radar – an integral part of the Arrow missile defense system – detected the enemy missile and, after identifying it, related the information to the Arrow battery, which launched the missile interceptor.

Arieh Herzog, head of the Homa Missile Defense Agency, said the Arrow system worked as designed and completely destroyed the target.

The interceptor used in the test incorporated new software that will now be installed in all of the Arrow interceptors currently in IAF use.

“This test is important for Israel as it prepares to counter the ballistic missile threat in the region,” Herzog said. “This test proves the success of the system after it underwent new upgrades.”

Defense Minister Ehud Barak said the test was an important milestone in the Israel’s development of missile defense systems. Last week, the IAF successfully tested the Iron Dome counter-rocket defense system ahead of its planned deployment in southern Israel.

The US Missile Defense Agency released a statement saying that the success provided confidence in Israel’s operational capabilities to defeat the developing ballistic missile threat.

Israel and the US are also jointly moving forward with the development of Arrow 3, which will be called Reshef (Flash) in Hebrew. The first flyout test of the Arrow 3 is scheduled for later this year and the system is expected to become operational in 2015.

IAF to Test Arrow 3 Early Next Year - IAI/IAF Arrow 3 Simulation

An interception test will likely take place in 2012

The Israel Air Force will hold its first test of the Arrow 3, under development by Israel Aerospace Industries, in early 2011, officials said on Wednesday.

Jointly developed by IAI and Boeing in the US, the Arrow 3 will serve as Israel's top-tier missile defense system, adding another layer of defense to that provided by the Arrow 2, which is already operational and deployed throughout Israel.

The initial test of the Arrow 3 will not include the interception of a mock enemy missile. An interception test will likely take place in 2012.

"The Arrow system can effectively counter all of the missile threats that exist in the region," said Inbal Kreiss, the Arrow 3 project manager at IAI.

Kreiss, who spoke at the New Tech conference in Airport City on Wednesday, said that IAI was also modifying the existing Arrow missile launcher to accommodate the slightly smaller Arrow 3 interceptor. This will allow the launcher to also fire American-made SM3 missiles, which are currently used by the US Navy on its Aegis missile defense ships.

Meanwhile Wednesday, defense officials said that the $205 million in funding authorized by the US Congress for Israel's Iron Dome missile defense system -- developed to intercept short-range rockets -- would enable the defense establishment to purchase an additional six batteries that could be deployed along the Gaza border.
Rafael has already manufactured two batteries that were delivered to the IAF, which is planning a final conclusive test of the Iron Dome in the coming weeks, following which it will be declared operational.

Officials said that the system could, in a future conflict, be deployed just south of Tel Aviv and along the Mediterranean coast to defend the city against Hamas long-range missiles, such as the Iranian Fajr 5, which it is believed to have obtained since Operation Cast Lead last year.