February 25, 2013
Israel carried out a successful test of its upgraded Arrow interceptor system on Monday, which is designed to destroy in space the kind of missiles held by Syria and Iran, the Israeli Defence Ministry said.
The U.S.-backed Arrow III system deploys “kamikaze” satellites that target ballistic missiles above the earth’s atmosphere, hitting them high enough to allow for any non-conventional warheads to disintegrate safely.
Monday’s test was the first live flight for the Arrow III, but did not involve the interception of any target.
“The test examined for the first time the capabilities and the performance of the new Arrow III, considered to be the most innovative and revolutionary interceptor in the world,” the Defence Ministry said.
A ministry official said the test, which was conducted from a site along Israel’s Mediterranean coast and lasted six and a half minutes, was “100 percent successful”.
In a statement, Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu said: “Israel’s hand is always outstretched in peace but we are also prepared for other eventualities. In this vein, I praise the successful test of the Arrow III.”
Designers say the system has proved a success in up to 90 percent of previous tests.
“The success of the test is an important milestone in the operational capabilities of the state of Israel to be able to defend itself against threats in the region,” the ministry statement added.
But the ministry official said the timing of the test, which took months to prepare, was not related to current tensions with Iran or Syria. He said Israel plans another flight test followed by a simulated interception in space over the Mediterranean.