Israel and the United States tested the upgraded Arrow 2 air defense system late Wednesday night, successfully downing a simulated long-range surface-to-surface missile over the Mediterranean Sea that could potentially be fired from Iran, Israel’s Defense Ministry stated on Thursday.
The radar system of the Arrow 2 detected a simulated Sparrow target fitted with an explosive warhead and the Arrow 2 interceptor missile fired precisely at the right moment and detonated its explosive payload, completely destroying the target, said Boaz Levy, vice president and head of the Systems, Missiles and Space Group at Israel Aerospace Industries (IAI), which manufactures the Arrow 2.
Levy said that the test simulated an incoming missile from the upper reaches of the earth’s atmosphere and just beyond it but didn’t specify the exact altitude at which the missile was intercepted.
The system, which is capable of intercepting nuclear warheads, was tested by the Defense Ministry’s Israel Missile Defense Organization (IMDO), the Israeli Air Force (IAF), IAI, and the US Missile Defense Agency (MDA) at the Palmachim Air Base in central Israel.
Watch: The Israel Missile Defense Organization & the U.S. MDA, together with IAI and the IAF, completed a flight test of the Arrow 2 system. It successfully engaged a Sparrow target missile. Updated operational capabilities were validated. pic.twitter.com/K3VU5IBtnm— Ministry of Defense (@Israel_MOD) August 13, 2020
“The test last night can be described in one word: perfect,” said Moshe Patel, head of the IMDO. “The target simulated what our main enemy would fire,” he said, referring to Iran, but adding that long-range missiles could also be directed at Israel from Iraq and Syria.
Patel said that the Arrow 2 system, which has been in use since March 2000, has been upgraded five times.
“The joint Israeli-American test reflects the partnership and friendship between the two countries as well as the deep commitment of the United States to the safety of the citizens of Israel,” the Defense Ministry said. “We will continue to work together to strengthen the capabilities of the defense establishment in the air, land and sea, as well as in cyberspace.”
The Arrow 2 is part of Israel’s multi-tiered air defense system, which includes the Arrow 3, David’s Sling and the Iron Dome. The Arrow system, which includes the Arrow, Arrow 2 and Arrow 3, is capable of downing ballistic and cruise missile, including those with nuclear warheads.
PM Netanyahu:— PM of Israel (@IsraeliPM) August 13, 2020
“I commend the defense establishment and the defense industries for another successful test of the Arrow-2 weapon system. We have proven again that Israel possesses defensive and offensive capabilities that are among the strongest and most advanced in the world. pic.twitter.com/okqN1Fg53S