success of recent Arrow 3 tests conducted jointly by Israel and the United
States in Alaska is extremely important and sends an unequivocal message to
Iran and its proxies.
As The Jerusalem Post’s diplomatic correspondent Herb Keinon reported, Israeli Ambassador to the US Ron Dermer made a top-secret trip to Alaska to be part of the historic event, the first time the missile defense system has been tested outside of Israel.
The Defense Ministry announced on Sunday that the Arrow 3 successfully demonstrated interceptions of ballistic targets in space as well as intercepted multiple targets. It added that the operation took place in the most northern US state in order to test capabilities that cannot be tested in Israel.
The tests were held at the Pacific Spaceport Complex-Alaska in Kodiak by the Defense Ministry’s Missile Defense Organization (MDO) and the US Missile Defense Agency (MDA), together with the Israel Air Force and Israel Aerospace Industries, which manufactures the Arrow 3.
“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,” said MDO Director Moshe Patel.
“This unique success in Alaska provides confidence in future Israeli capabilities to defeat the developing threats in the region. My congratulations to the Israel Missile Defense Organization, our MDA team, and our industry partners,” said MDA Director Vice-Admiral Jon Hill. “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.”
We join Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu, who is also defense minister, in lauding the secret tests conducted over the past few weeks “in full cooperation with our great ally, the US.”
“They were successful beyond imagination. The Arrow 3 – with complete success – intercepted ballistic missiles beyond the atmosphere at unprecedented altitudes and speeds. The execution was perfect – all precise hits,” Netanyahu said. “Today Israel has the ability to act against ballistic missiles that could be launched against us from Iran or anywhere else. This is a huge achievement for Israel’s security. All of our enemies should know that we will overcome them in both defense and offense.”
It should be noted that Israel’s announcement of the Arrow 3 tests came just days after US officials revealed that Iran had test fired a Shahab-3 medium-range ballistic missile on July 24, adding to already high tensions between Washington and Tehran.
One official said the missile flew nearly 1,000 kilometers from the southern part of the country northward to an area near the capital, Tehran.
In the past, the US and its allies have asserted that Shahab-3 launches violate the 2015 Iran nuclear agreement, even as Russia claims they don’t.
Tensions between Washington and Tehran are running high in the Arabian Gulf, a year after the Trump administration withdrew from the Iran deal and reimposed sanctions in an effort to stop the Iranians from producing a nuclear weapon.
The Arrow 3 system, which was developed as a joint project with the US, is designed to shoot down the type of ballistic missiles that Iran is producing and threatening to launch at Israel. An advanced version of the Arrow and Arrow 2, the Arrow 3 is in the process of becoming operational and represents the peak of Israel’s multi-layered missile defense network.
The Arrow 3 was most recently tested in January at the Palmahim Air Base, a test that was declared a success after earlier tests had failed. It was also tested in July 2018, as part of a broader missile defense exercise that included the short-range Iron Dome and medium-range David’s Sling.
The recent tests were due to have been carried out a year ago, but they were delayed because the Defense Ministry and the US Department of Defense decided to wait until the system reached an optimum level of readiness.
Now that Arrow 3’s abilities have been proven beyond doubt, Israel’s enemies – led by Iran – should be careful not to test, provoke or threaten Israel and the US, which continues to play a key role in maintaining the Jewish state’s qualitative military edge.