Israel to hold missile test in US
(AL JAZEERA) Israel is set to hold a missile test on a US missile range in the Pacific Ocean in an exercise that will also see the US test three missile defence systems, a senior US general has said.
The test site will allow Israel to measure its Arrow interceptor missile system against a target at a range of more than 1,000km, Army Lieutenant General Patrick O’Reilly, director of the Pentagon’s Missile Defense Agency, said on Tuesday.
“They [Israel] are having a flight test soon this summer,” he said.
“They are limited to the range of the missile they can test in the eastern Mediterranean. There’s a safety issue.
“That’s the primary purpose of them coming to the United States to use our test range.”
The Arrow system, which was developed by Israel and the United States, is intended to defend Israel against possible ballistic missile attacks from Iran and Syria.
It will be the third such test held by Israel in the United States, a US defence official said.
The exercise is likely to take place within the next few days off the central California coast, between Santa Barbara and Point Mugu.
The test will also give the US military a chance to test its own anti-ballistic missile systems, O’Reilly said.
“The upcoming test also 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 inter-operability as we execute this test,” he said.
But he said that the exercise would only test certain elements of US missile defence systems and be a largely Israeli operation.
Israel successfully test-launched its Arrow II interceptor missile in April, shooting down a target simulating an Iranian Shehab missile over the Mediterranean Sea.
Israel has expressed concerns that Iran’s uranium enrichment programme is aimed at producing nuclear warheads that could be attached to ballistic missiles.
Iran has repeatedly denied that it is pursuing a nuclear weapons programme, saying that its uranium enrichment work is geared towards generating electricty.