Source: YNet News
By Yoav Zitun
The Defense Ministry announced Monday that it has successfully tested the Hetz-3 missile interceptor.
The test was conducted by the ministry’s Administration for the Development of Weapons and the Technological Industry from a location in central Israel.
The Hetz (“Arrow”) is part of Israel’s surface-to-air missile defense lineup. Its development is a joint effort by the Defense Ministry and the American Missile Defense Agency.
The test began at 8 am, when the missile was launched from the Palmachim Air Base. It held altitude for six minutes and preformed various maneuvers, as programmed.
Prime Minster addressed the test saying: “Israel is always reaching out its hand in peace, but we’re preparing ourselves for other options.”
Netanyahu added that the test was indicative of “Israel’s technological and security abilities, as well as its cooperation with the United States.”
The live test reviewed the system’s capabilities and performance. The projectile’s interceptor system is considered to be one of the most advanced in the world.
A senior defense source said that the test was conducted as part of the IDF’s perennial operational plan, stressing that “This was a systems test, not a ballistic intercepting test and the objectives set for this test were reached in full.”
The new surface-to-air missile defense system will enable Israel to better counter future threats, the Defense Ministry said in a statement.
Hetz-3 joins Israel’s layered aerial defenses, alongside the Hetz-2, Iron Dome and David’s Sling, better known as “Magic Wand,” defense systems.
Together, the systems aim to provide Israel with a protective umbrella that will counter the threats posed by short and mid-ranged missiles used by Gaza-based terror groups in the south and Hezbollah in the north; as well as the possible threat of Iranian missiles.
“This successful test is a milestone in Israel’s operational and defensive capabilities vis-à-vis threats in the regional arena,” the Defense Ministry said.
“This was the first test of a system that has been years in development. The system still has to undergo further tests before it becomes fully operational.”
Defense Minister Ehud Barak echoed the sentiment.
Defense Ministry official Yair Ramati said the test “left the Americans speechless.”
Speaking at a press conference Monday morning, Ramati stressed that the test was the result of collaboration between Israel and the US’s Missile Defense Agency.
Aerospace Industries official Yoav Turgeman said that Hetz-3 is designed to provide ultimate air defense and deal with the growing regional threat “even in the distant future.” He further added, “It’s globally innovative, implementing a technology that has yet to be tested.”
Gilad Morag contributed to this report