Israel on Tuesday tested the latest upgrade to its "Arrow 2" missile defense system, in conjunction with the Missile Defense Agency of the US Department of Defense. It is unclear, however, how successful the test had been.
The Defense Ministry said that the system's interception exercise had been launched and the planned phases of flight performed according to plan. The information gathered during the trial, which left trails over Ashdod and other locations in central Israel, will now be analyzed by engineers.
The "Arrow 2" is produced by Israel Aerospace Industries (IAI) and has been in use by the Air Force since 2000. Tuesday morning's test was conducted for the specific purpose of upgrading the system. The system was used to intercept rockets during Operation Protective Edge, and the latest improvements will boost its ability to intercept both missiles and heavy rockets.
An IAI official said Tuesday that it is not yet clear whether the missile was successfully intercepted, even though by this stage in previous tests it was possible to identify damage to the missile being targeted.
The Arrow is just one of a range of air defense systems at Israel's disposal. During Protective Edge, the Iron Dome system more than proved itself at intercepting rockets from the Gaza Strip; in addition, the Patriot system successfully intercepted at least one drone fired from Gaza.
Earlier this year, a second trial of the "Arrow 3" interceptor was carried out the Palmachim air base, south of Tel Aviv. The "Arrow 3" has the ability to change direction during flight in order to target long-range missiles.
It is also designed to intercept long-range ballistic missiles and can reach a higher altitude than the "Arrow 2" – ostensibly countering the threat from the Iranian Shahab missiles.