Jerusalem: With Iran in mind, close allies Israel and the US, on Monday, successfully tested the Arrow anti-missile system for the first time, giving the Jewish state defense against "threats in the regional arena".
"This is the first flight test of the Arrow 3 interceptor and was conducted at an Israeli test range over the Mediterranean Sea," the Israeli Defense Ministry said in a statement.
"Israel's Missile Defense Organization and US Missile Defense Agency officials conducted the flight test," the statement said of the successful test of Arrow 3, also known as Hetz-3.
The Arrow is a jointly-produced, cutting-edge system designed to counter long-range missile attacks. "This successful test is a milestone in Israel's operational and defensive capabilities vis-a-vis threats in the regional arena," the statement said.
"This was the first test of a system that has been years in development. The system still has to undergo further tests before it becomes fully operational," it added.
Today's test did not involve an interception of any target, but was designed to try out the flight of the missile, the statement said.
Arrow 3's interceptors are designed to be launched into space, where their warheads detach, turning into "kamikaze" satellites that seek out and slam into target missiles. The Pentagon and US firm Boeing are partners with Israel in the development of the interceptor missile system. The US has described its support for Israeli missile interceptors as a means of reassuring its close ally that it has a more passive means of defending itself.
The new surface-to-air missile defense system will enable Israel to better counter future threats, the De fence Ministry said.
Arrow-3 joins Israel's multi-layered aerial defenses, alongside the Arrow-2, Iron Dome and David's sling, better known as "Magic Wand," defense systems. Altogether the systems aim to provide Israel with a protective umbrella that will counter the threats posed by short and mid-ranged missiles used by Gaza-based Palestinian militant groups in the south and Lebanese Shiite faction Hezbollah in the north, besides possible threat of long-range Iranian missiles.