Israel shot down a mock enemy ballistic missile in a trial flight of an advanced interceptor, the Xinhua News Agency reported on Monday (see GSN, July 12).
The Arrow 3 interceptor lifted off from an unspecified launch site and hit its target at the end of a flight path spanning hundreds of feet or more, Mako/Channel 2 reported (see GSN, May 13). News of the launch surfaced during an antimissile meeting close to Tel Aviv.
The exercise was intended solely for evaluating the interceptor's ability to disconnect from its firing vessel, not the full extent of the weapon's capabilities, Xinhua quoted an insider as saying.
Washington has significantly bankrolled preparation of the new technology, which is slated for complete deployment in 2015, program head Yoav Turgeman said during the meeting. The system is intended to provide the topmost level of protection in a planned framework for countering various rocket and missile dangers, according to Xinhua.
Multiple Arrow 2 missile defense units overseen by the Israeli air force have been fielded for more than 10 years at a military facility north of Tel Aviv.
A joint U.S.-Israeli exercise scheduled for January would incorporate every element of Israel's missile and air defenses, such as the Arrow, Iron Dome, Magic Wand and Patriot systems, Mako/Channel 2 reported (see GSN, Oct. 23, 2009). The event, code-named "Juniper Cobra," would notably include U.S. Patriot units and missile warning systems placed around the Middle Eastern nation as well a U.S. missile defense warship stationed offshore, Israeli news reports indicated (Xinhua News Agency, July 25).
The event would also tap the U.S. Terminal High-Altitude Area Defense system and sea-based Aegis antimissile technolgoy, the Jerusalem Post reported on Tuesday. Physical trial flights of antimissile projectiles could take place during the drill, according to the newspaper.
The planned exercise could rank among the most sophisticated "Juniper Cobra" drills conducted to date, the Post reported. Other maneuvers in the series have been conducted over the past five years, most recently in 2009 (Yaakov Katz, Jerusalem Post, July 26).