In the face of Iran’s continued development of long-range missiles, Israel and the United States completed a series of tests of the long-range Arrow 3 ballistic missile defense system at the Pacific Spaceport Complex-Alaska (PSCA) in Kodiak, Alaska, which included the successful interception of an “enemy” target, The Jerusalem Post (JPost) reported.
The series of tests over the course of 10 days saw three successful interceptions. It was the first time that such a test took place outside of Israel. The successful test was attended by Israel’s Ambassador to the US, Ron Dermer.
The system was tested against targets similar in behavior to advanced ballistic missiles being developed by Iran, and against future threats that Israel may face. Israel and the US remain concerned that Iran has continued to work on both its nuclear program as well as its ballistic missile program, despite international criticism.
“Ten challenging years of development have culminated in this moment: the Arrow 3 weapon system completed a test campaign, during which an Arrow 3 interceptor completed full interception of the target,” said Moshe Patel, Director of the Israel Missile Defense Organization.
“In addition, the fact that the tests were conducted in Alaska, tens of thousands of kilometers away from Israel, is another significant achievement that demonstrates the operational capabilities of the Arrow 3 system to successfully face any threat,” he added.
“These successful tests mark a major milestone in the development of the Arrow Weapon System. This unique success in Alaska provides confidence in future Israeli capabilities to defeat the developing threats in the region. We are committed to assisting the government of Israel in upgrading its national missile defense capability to defend the State of Israel from emerging threats,” said Missile Defense Agency (MDA) Director Vice Admiral Jon Hill.
The Defense Ministry delayed the test in Alaska last year following consultations between Washington and Jerusalem, “in order to achieve maximum readiness.” At the time, KTOO news in Juneau reported that the test would be part of the $80-million contract between MDA and the Alaska Aerospace Corp.
In March, Patel said that the test would take place in Alaska because of the “limited ability” Israel had to shut down airspace over the Mediterranean Sea used by commercial airlines. “Arrow 3 is too big for the state of Israel,” Patel told an audience at a panel discussion.
“It is supposed to be good against nuclear threats that are coming from Iran. We have limitations in our arena to conduct flight tests because of safety,” Patel noted.