Israel on Thursday conducted a launch of a rocket propulsion system from a military base in central Israel, the Defense Ministry confirmed in a statement. The system is meant to propel ballistic missiles and is capable of launching satellites into space.
"The test was planned by the Defense Ministry in advance and was executed as planned," the Defense Ministry said in a statement.
In 2013, foreign sources claimed the Israeli military test-fired a new long-range ballistic missile reportedly capable of carrying a nuclear, chemical or biological warhead.
Israeli media, citing analysts, said the test was very likely related to Israel's Jericho ballistic missile system. Analysts say the most modern version of the system, the Jericho III, has a range of between 5,000 and 11,000 kilometers, and can carry a warhead of up to one ton.
Three months ago, Defense Ministry officials confirmed that an Arrow 2 missile had failed an interception trial in September 2014, and that an Arrow 3 trial scheduled for December had been cancelled at the last minute.
Following the Arrow 2 test in September, senior security establishment officials were unable to say for sure if the interceptor missile had hit its target. And although reports from Russia claimed that the missile had landed in the sea some 300 kilometers off the coast of Tel Aviv, a senior Defense Ministry official rejected this report as "inaccurate."
The Arrow system is a central component in the multi-layered defense system under development by the Defense Ministry. The system is based on five layers of defense – Iron Dome, David's Sling, the operational Arrow 2 system, the Bnei Reshef system against ballistic missiles, and the Arrow 3 interceptor.