A ballistic missile interceptor jointly developed by Israel’s Missile Defense Organization and the U.S. Missile Defense Agency (MDA) passed its first flight test Feb. 25, the MDA announced.
The test of the exoatmospheric interceptor, named Arrow-3, took place at an Israeli test range over the Mediterranean Sea. The planned test did not include an intercept of a target missile.
In a press release, MDA officials hailed the test as a “major milestone” and said it “provides confidence in future Israeli capabilities to defeat the developing ballistic missile threat.”
Plans call for integrating the upper-tier Arrow-3 into a single national missile defense network for Israel.
Developed with support from Boeing Co., Israel’s U.S.-based partner, the two-stage Arrow-3 uses pivoting optical sensors and its own upper-stage kick motor instead of separate control rockets to steer itself precisely into incoming targets. The interceptor is designed to fly nearly twice as high at half the weight of the previous-generation interceptor, the Arrow-2, allowing multiple opportunities to shoot down advanced, maneuvering and possibly nuclear-equipped targets.
The test flight occurred at a later date than expected after preflight checks in October 2012 turned up unspecified issues with the system.