Middle East

Israel: New defense system can hit targets outside the atmosphere

The delivery of the Arrow-3 on Wednesday.

The delivery of the Arrow-3 on Wednesday.  (Israeli Ministry of Defense)

Israel ramped up its missile defense capabilities Wednesday with the delivery of a state-of-the-art system -- developed in part by Boeing -- designed to strike targets outside Earth's atmosphere.

The Arrow-3 missile defense system will form the uppermost layer of Israel’s multilayered defense system, Israel Defense Forces officials have said.

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It was expected to protect from ballistic missiles capable of flying thousands of miles. Iran has tested such missiles several times in the past, defying international sanctions.

Arrow-3 was delivered to the Israeli Air Force Wednesday morning, joining the Iron Dome, the Arrow-2 and David’s Sling.

Brig. Gen. Tzvika Haimovich, the head of IDF Aerial Defense Command, said that together the systems would give Israel a protective umbrella, countering threats posed by Iran, Hezbollah and terror groups in Gaza firing short-range missiles.

Israel Aerospace Industries worked together with Boeing to develop the Arrow-3. The project was co-managed by the U.S. Missile Defense Agency and the Israeli Missile Defense Organization, a division of the Israeli Ministry of Defense. Israeli officials said IMDO would continue to work with the U.S. in developing additional capabilities for the system.

The delivery took place about a year after the last successful intercept that proved the system's ability to detect, track and destroy ballistic missile targets in space. The Arrow-3 test program began in 2013. Its final test flight was in December 2015.