The Israeli Defense Ministry on Wednesday canceled a test launch for the Arrow 3 missile defense system, citing a problem with its ground control’s data systems.
This was the second time in a month that a test of the long-range missile interceptor system had been canceled. The previous launch was called off over safety concerns pertaining to the would-be target projectile. The ministry said the launch was classified as a “no test” and was therefore not a failure.
“This has no bearing on the Arrow’s operational aspects,” said Moshe Patel, head of the Defense Ministry’s Homa Directorate, which oversees the development of missile defense systems. “Moreover, if this was an operational incident and not a test, the interceptor would have launched with no issue. If we had to intercept an Iranian threat, Arrow would have been launched.”
Patel was referring to the fact that Wednesday’s launch was planned as one of the most challenging tests for the Arrow defense system, as it was designed to intercept a target simulating a potential Iranian threat outside the Earth’s atmosphere.
Israel Aerospace Industries Executive Vice President Boaz Levy explained that shelving the launch over data issues was routine.
“This is a typical test-launch issue. We don’t take unnecessary risks. It’s not the best outcome, but we prefer a ‘no test’ situation to any other scenario,” he said.
Israel is developing the Arrow 3 system with the assistance of the US Missile Defense Agency. During 2018, Israel plans to hold several Arrow 3 tests in Alaska.