With Iran/Syria threat looming, Israel successfully tests Arrow 3 missile defense system. But it won’t be operational until 2016.

A diagram by the US Missile Defense Agency depicting missile interception by the Arrow system. (graphic credit: Jerusalem Post)

A diagram by the US Missile Defense Agency depicting missile interception by the Arrow system. (graphic credit: Jerusalem Post)

“The Ministry of Defense carried out its first successful test of the Arrow 3 missile defense interceptor on Monday morning, firing it into space from a coastal military launching pad in central Israel,” reports the Jerusalem Post. “Set to become operational in around 2016, the Arrow 3 missile defense system operates in space, traveling at twice the speed of a tank shell to leave the atmosphere. It is designed to seek and destroy Iranian Shihab 3 missiles, as well as other long-range projectiles.”

“A senior defense source said the interceptor took off at around 8 a.m. on Monday morning over the Mediterranean Sea,” noted the Post. “‘It obtained hypersonic speed, and reached an altitude of 100 kilometers, entering space. It followed various objects, such as stars, and gained further altitude. Its engine stopped after six minutes,’ the source said.”

“Israel’s hand is always extended in peace, but we are also always prepared for other possibilities,” Prime Minister Netanyahu said in a statement released following a meeting with Mideast Quartet envoy Tony Blair, according to Haaretz. “He went on to praise the successful completion of the advanced system’s first test flight earlier on Monday. ‘It demonstrates the State of Israel’s high technological capability, the State of Israel’s high defense capability … and our cooperation with the U.S.,’ Netanyahu said. ‘It will help us maintain the safety of the citizens of Israel, whether it is in a time of peace, or when peace is threatened.'”

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