Israel has successfully tested its upgraded Arrow missile interceptor for the second time.
The warhead is designed to manoeuvre in space to counter what Israel considers a ballistic threat from Lebanon’s Hezbollah as well as Syria and Iran.
The United States and Israel have been jointly working on Arrow since 1988. Washington says helping Israel build up the capability to shoot down missiles staves off escalatory wars – or pre-emptive Israeli strikes – in the Middle East.
Hailing the operation, Israel’s Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu said: “This is a great advance in Israel’s ability to protect itself against ballistic missiles. We need protection in this area because there are bad regimes led by Iran.”
Israel predicts the long-range Arrow III could be deployed next year.
It is part of the country’s three-tier missile shield which also includes the “Iron Dome” system which targets short-range rockets and mortar bombs favoured by Palestinian guerrillas in Gaza.
The mid-range “David’s Sling” is still under development.