Pacific test will determine Arrow’s ability to intercept Iranian missiles close to launch

In a few days, the Israeli anti-missile Arrow system will face the first real test, weather permitting, of its ability to knock out an Iranian Shehab-3 or Sejil II ballistic missile at the outset of its flight toward Israel, debkafile‘s military sources report. The test will take place off central California’s Pacific coast.
Lieut. Gen. Patrick O’Reilly, director of the Pentagon’s Missile Defense Agency, said Tuesday, July 14: “The test will allow Israel to measure its advanced Arrow 3 system against a target with a range of more than 620 miles (1,000 km), too long for previous Arrow test sites in the eastern Mediterranean.”
The test will try and engage a target not only upwards of 1,000 km distant but close to its launch.
Until now, our military sources report, Arrow tests have been restricted by the small area of the Mediterranean Sea, the heavy air and maritime traffic in and above it, and the location of the Israeli missile launch site at Palmahim, from which missile flight westward is limited to a few hundred kilometers and disallowed in any other direction.
None of its 16 test flights has exercised the full potential of the Arrow’s operational range for intercepting the flight path of possible Iranian missile attack on Israel.
For this reason, the Israeli missile command described past tests as 100 percent successful, while the Americans rated their success “90 percent.”
The Pacific test will be launched from a point between Point Mugu and Santa Barbara north-west of Los Angeles. It will test the Arrow in uninterrupted flight against a target in the middle of the Pacific Ocean. The closest land to the site is Japan.
According to our military sources, this third Arrow exercise from a US site will also examine US-Israeli cooperation in missile interception in the event of an Iranian response to a possible Israeli strike at Iran’s nuclear facilities or an Iranian pre-emptive missile attack on Israel.
General O’Reilly announced that this would be the first full test of the ability of the American and Israeli intercept systems to work together and “provides us the opportunity to have the Patriot system, the THAAD system and the Aegis system all interacting with the Arrow system so that we’re demonstrating full interoperability as we execute this test.”
The significance of this disclosure is that for the first time, the joint operational capabilities of the Israel-based missile intercept systems and the American missile-intercept systems stationed in the Middle East and the Persian Gulf will be tested.
The exercise will also examine cooperation between the Israeli anti-aircraft defenses and the American satellites’ early warning devices for missile launches. The Israeli and US arrays are connected through the sophisticated FBX-T radar station positioned at Israel’s Nevatim airbase in the Negev, which is operated by soldiers and technicians belonging to EUCOM, the US European theater command.
debkafile‘s military sources report that the exercise will not feature full operation of the American intercept systems, nor will American intercept missiles be launched, except for their sensor assets. In other words, the diverse radar systems will be activated to simulate an American-Israeli response to a missile attack.

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3 thoughts on “Pacific test will determine Arrow’s ability to intercept Iranian missiles close to launch

  • Sep 19, 2017 @ 3:20 at 3:20

    Presumably, Iran would use various counter-measures if it launched a missile attack on Israel, such as multiple launches at the same time or “spoof” launch vehicles or even massive radar / GPS system jamming. Would the Arrow system be capable of success in those circumstances? I hope so, but the technical challenge would be immense!

  • Sep 19, 2017 @ 3:54 at 3:54

    Great job on the website redo. You’re one of the sites I visit frequently. No other website I know of provides such detailed, insightful looks into Israeli and Middle East military and political news. I can’t find the same stories anywhere else.
    Thanks again.

    • Oct 19, 2017 @ 23:00 at 23:00

      I agree well done!

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