Israel, US conduct joint missile defense test in Mediterranean
Test launch conducted in Mediterranean by Israel Air Force, carried out in conjunction with the U.S. Missile Defense Agency • Test, which comes at time of heightened tension in region over potential Syria strike, picked up by Russian radar.
Israel Hayom Staff
Arrow anti-ballistic missile launch
Photo credit: Wikimedia Commons
The Homa Administration in the Defense Ministry's Administration for the Development of Weapons and Technological Infrastructure (MAFAT), in cooperation with the U.S. Missile Defense Agency, has successfully tested the Sparrow target missile used in anti-missile defense systems, the Defense Ministry said in a statement released Tuesday.
The statement came some four hours after the 9:15 a.m. missile test, and about one hour after the Russian Defense Ministry said its radar had picked up two "objects" that were fired from the middle of the Mediterranean towards the coastline.
Israel has carried out similar tests in conjunction with the U.S. MDA recently, but Tuesday's test comes at a time of heightened tension in the region with U.S. and Russian naval forces in the area ahead of a possible American-led strike against the Syrian regime for its use of chemical weapons in eastern Damascus some ten days ago.
Russia's Interfax news agency quoted a ministry spokesman as saying the launch was detected at 10:16 a.m. Moscow time (9:15 a.m. Israel time) by an early warning radar station at Armavir, near the Black Sea, which is designed to detect missiles from Europe and Iran.
Tuesday's test was carried out in Mediterranean Sea when a Sparrow test missile was launched from an Israel Air Force jet, and from an Israel Air Force base in central Israel. The Israeli Defense Ministry said the test was successful, as the radar tracked the target.
"The objective of the exercise was to test the advanced capabilities of the new missile as well as to hone the capabilities of the Arrow missile defense system, including radar capabilities and controls," the statement said.
After the Sparrow test missile was launched, it was monitored by the IDF's Super Green Pine radar system, which transferred the data to be analyzed at the firing command center. Other monitoring devices were also used to follow the missile launch.
Representatives of the Defense Ministry, the U.S. Defense Department, and the industries involved in the manufacture of the weapons were all present.
Israel's four-layer defense capability includes the Iron Dome missile defense system, David's Sling (currently in development), the Arrow 2 and the Arrow 3 (in development). Both the Iron Dome and Arrow 2 systems are already operational.
As reports of the Israeli test launch began to emerge, Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu warned that "we are building an iron wall, the Iron Dome and the iron will -- these are things that give us the power to defend ourselves and tell anyone who seeks to harm us that it is not worth their while."