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February 25, 2015 11:45 am

Israel’s Arrow 2 Missile Interceptor Upgraded After Failed Test

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An Arrow 2 missile interceptor launch on July 29, 2004, at the Naval Air Station Point Mugu Missile Test Center in California. The interceptor has recently undergone a series of upgrades and improvements. Photo: US Navy photo. – Israel’s Arrow 2 missile interceptor has recently undergone a series of upgrades and improvements following a failed test held last September, during which it was able to acquire its target but failed to neutralize it, a defense official said Tuesday.

The Arrow system, which is jointly funded and produced by the US and Israel, is part of the Jewish state’s multi-tiered missile defense system. The Arrow 2 is designed to intercept short and medium-range ballistic missiles, while the Arrow 3 is a long-range ballistic missile interceptor.

Israeli Defense Ministry ballistic missiles experts and Israel Aerospace Industries, which develops the Arrow system, were baffled by the results of the test. A special team was assembled to determine the problem, and at some point, even retired defense establishment engineers were called in to review the results and weigh in on the issue. In December, the reason for the interceptor’s malfunction was pinpointed, prompting a series of software upgrades and other improvements to its systems.

A senior defense source said additional improvements will soon be introduced to the system’s controls, to act as a safety net should a malfunction recur. The weakness detected in the system “has no effect on the Arrow 2’s operational abilities,” a statement by the defense establishment said.

The Defense Ministry noted that a test-fire scheduled for the Arrow 3 interceptor in December was canceled over a technical malfunction in the target missile. That was a case of “no test” rather than a failed one, since the interceptor was never launched at its target, the ministry said.

Defense officials stressed that despite the unsuccessful and stalled tests, the development of the David’s Sling missile defense system, which is designed to intercept medium to long-range rockets and cruise missiles, has been progressing as expected. Pending several more successful tests, David’s Sling is expected to become operational by the end of 2015.

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