In a joint venture with the US, Israel tested modifications to its Arrow 2 missile defense system on Tuesday. The test took place at an Israeli test range over the Mediterranean Sea, in conjunction with American Missile Defense Agency (MDA).
“An Arrow 2 missile was launched and performed its flight sequence as planned. The results are being analyzed by program engineers,” the Israeli Defense Ministry said in a statement.
The Arrow 2 is part of a five-tier air defense system, of which the Iron Dome is the only other currently operational component. According to Defense Ministry spokesperson Jonathan Mosery, the Arrow 2, “like Iron Dome, undergoes ongoing improvements” to its software and software.
The Ministry assured citizens the test had no bearing “on the Israeli operational systems’ capability to cope with the existing threats in the region” and is merely “intended to counter future threats.”
While Iron Dome is designed to intercept short- and medium-range projectiles, the Arrow 2 targets long-range ICBM (Inter-Continental Ballistic Missiles), like those in Iran’s arsenal. Arrow 2 has been in use by the Israel Air Force since 2000. It was developed by Israel Aerospace Industries (IAI).
The current improvements are intended to improve its ability to intercept both missiles and heavy rockets. According to Maj. Gen. Eitan Ben Eliyahu at the time of its introduction, it is “the only weapon system of its kind in the world.”
The remaining pieces of Israel’s planned air defense system, the Iron Beam, David’s Sling and Arrow 3, are expected to come into use in the next two years. The Arrow 3, which was tested in February, is designed to intercept missiles at an even higher altitude than the Arrow 2, and can change direction mid-flight.