Israel has successfully launched the first prototype of the Arrow-2 anti- missile missile.
Israel Aircraft Industries, the missile’s main contractor, said the primary goal of Sunday’s test launch was to examine the rocket, the guidance and sensor systems, and the ability to take off from a ground launcher.
The launch did not test the missile’s ability to intercept incoming missiles.
The Arrow-2 was fired from a mobile launcher near the center of the country, Israel Television reported.
Israel began developing the Arrow missile system in 1988 in conjunction with the United States, which has so far provided more than $460 million in development costs.
Israel will be able to defend up to 85 percent of its population from incoming missile attacks once the full complement of Arrow batteries becomes operational, according to Jane’s Defense Weekly.
The United States has reportedly pressed Israel to make the Arrow-2 operational before the end of the decade.
Proponents of the missile system found added weight for their arguments in the wake of the 1991 Persian Gulf War, when Iraq launched Scud missiles on Israeli cities.
Israel’s Defense Ministry said in a statement that the two-stage, solid fuel- powered Arrow-2 is a lighter and more advanced version of the problem-plagued, single-stage Arrow-1, which already completed testing.