The Israel Air Force (IAF) conducted the eleventh firing of the Arrow 2 ballistic missile interceptor on 16 December. The launch – part of the joint Israeli-US Arrow System Improvement Program (ASIP) – also marked the sixth test of the complete Arrow Weapon System (AWS).
The Israeli Missile Defense Organization (IMDO) is managing the ASIP in co-operation with the US Missile Defense Agency (MDA).
The latest test saw an interceptor fired from Palmachim air force base against a Rafael Armament Development Authority Black Sparrow target missile, deployed from an IAF F-15I multirole fighter aircraft, simulating a medium-range ballistic missile (MRBM).
The test aimed “to demonstrate the system’s improved performance including a higher-altitude interception of an incoming target”, according to an Israeli Ministry of Defence (MoD) release. “The target trajectory demonstrated an operational scenario against the state of Israel and all the system components performed in their operational configuration,” it added.
The Arrow 2 successfully destroyed the target, an IAF source stated. “We have almost doubled the interception altitude of the Arrow, testing its capabilities against missiles fired from a greater range, such as the Iranian Shahab [MRBM],” the source said. “This was the most complex Arrow test we ever conducted and the results were even beyond our expectations,” he said.
Israel and the US plan to conduct the next test of the AWS against a real ‘Scud’ MRBM at a test range in the US in 2004.