The Israel Missile Defense Organization (IMDO) and US Missile Defense Agency (MDA) performed a successful first flight test of the Arrow 3 interceptor missile from a test site in central Israel on 25 February.
The Arrow 3 performed an exo-atmospheric trajectory through space over the Mediterranean, in accordance with the test plan.
Designed to provide an additional level of defence against ballistic missile threats, the new interceptor boosts the capabilities of the joint Israeli/US Arrow weapons system.
The IMDO says the successful test is a major milestone in the development of the Arrow 3, and provides further confidence in future Israeli defence capabilities to defeat a developing ballistic missile threat.
Israel Aerospace Industries' MLM unit is the main contractor for the integration and development of the Arrow weapon system, in conjunction with Boeing.
A much lighter missile than the current Arrow 2, the Arrow 3 will intercept threats outside the atmosphere, using "super manoeuvrability". During its engagement "end-game", the kill vehicle will achieve a final impact independent of any sensors on the ground.
The Arrow 3 will be operational in late 2013, according to sources.
Uzi Rubin, who served as the first director of the IMDO in the Israeli defence ministry, says the new interceptor's high exo-atmospheric interception altitude, coupled with its improved detection, discrimination and fire control capabilities, is designed to provide at least two and possibly three chances to kill each incoming missile.
The new architecture has a very high probability of handling salvoes of longer-range ballistic missiles equipped with countermeasures and of striking any suspected nuclear-armed weapons, he says.
Other elements of the Arrow 3 system include a US-produced TPY-2 X-band detection radar deployed permanently in southern Israel, and an advanced version of the Green Pine detection and fire control radar.
Source: Flight International