One of the best pieces of news that we have received recently is that Israel successfully tested the Arrow 3 missile, adding to Israel’s arsenal against the Iranian missile threat:
The Ministry of Defense carried out its first successful test of the Arrow 3 missile defense interceptor on Monday morning, firing it into space from a coastal military launching pad in central Israel.
Set to become operational in around 2016, the Arrow 3 missile defense system operates in space, traveling at twice the speed of a tank shell to leave the atmosphere. It is designed to seek and destroy Iranian Shihab 3 missiles, as well as other long-range projectiles.
A senior defense source said the interceptor took off at around 8 a.m. on Monday morning over the Mediterranean Sea. “It obtained hypersonic speed, and reached an altitude of 100 kilometers, entering space. It followed various objects, such as stars, and gained further altitude. Its engine stopped after six minutes,” the source said.
The test was led by technicians from the Israel Aerospace Industries, together with a team from the US Department of Defense’s Missile Defense Agency. The effort is being coordinated by the Ministry of Defense’s Israel Missile Defense Organization.
“The Israeli and American teams congratulated one another warmly,” the source said.
Defense Minister Ehud Barak congratulated those involved in the test, saying, “This is an important milestone for the state of Israel’s multi-layered defense system, which includes Iron Dome, David’s Sling, Arrow 2 and Arrow 3.”
Once it breaks free of the Earth’s atmosphere, the interceptor breaks off from its launching missile, and turns into a space vehicle that carries out several swift maneuvers as it locks on to its target, before lunging directly at the incoming projectile for a head-on collision.
The test was designed to examine the Arrow 3’s fly-out capablities, though no dummy missile was intercepted.
Weighing less half of the Arrow 2 missile, the Arrow 3 creates an additional missile defense layer in space. Together with the Arrow 2 system, Arrow 3 gives the military two to three opportunities to intercept long-range missiles.
The Arrow 3 does not need to know the exact location of the incoming missile when it takes off to intercept it. Once in space, it locates the target rapidly.
US funding assistance is crucial for the development of the project.
The US has earmarked 250 million dollars for four Arrow 3 batteries, and is set to examine a request for four more batteries at a cost of 680 million dollars. Future batteries are expected to hold more interceptors, making them more expensive than the first batch.
Watch the video of the missile launch (h/t Israeli Frontline):
In other good defence news, the Israeli and Canadian navies teamed up for a joint search and rescue exercise:
The Canadian and Israeli navies participated in joint training exercises in the Gulf of Aqaba.
The Canadian HMCS Toronto and Israel’s INS Kidon exchanged some crew members before participating in a search-and-rescue exercise earlier this month, the Canadian Forces said in a report issued Feb. 22. The ships practiced rescuing a patrol vessel and maneuvering in close quarters.
By placing five Canadians on the Kidon and seven Israelis on the Toronto, the two navies learned what to expect if they have to conduct operations together in the future, the report said.
“It was an exceptional opportunity to work with our friends in the Israeli Navy, sharing ideas and medical procedures that can benefit both countries,” said the Toronto’s commanding officer, David Patchell, who called the Israeli Navy “extremely professional and welcoming.”
Canada is probably Israel’s staunchest friend in the international arena, so it is very good news that the two countries are also cooperating militarily.
In a final piece of (though unconfirmed) good news, even though I am generally reluctant to engage in too much schadenfreude, rumours are flying around the Middle East that Hezbollah chieftain Hassan Nasrallah has cancer, and has been flown to Iran for treatment.
Hezbollah leader Hassan Nasrallah has been transferred from Beirut to Iran for cancer treatment, Lebanon’s Sawt Beirut International radio station, which is affiliated with political factions opposed to Hezbollah, reported late Monday. There was no independent confirmation of the claim.
The report said the Shi’ite Lebanese leader, who is 52, traveled to Tehran in a plane sent by the Iranian presidency. Nasrallah’s health was said to have deteriorated after the cancer was discovered.
In related news, the radio station reported that Hezbollah was forced to cancel a number of meetings to choose Nasrallah’s heir due to “deep disagreements” relating to his deputy, Naim Qassem. It did not elaborate.
Assuming it’s true, a tweet by A Soldier’s Mother expresses precisely what I feel, and probably echoes the feelings of most of you readers too:
Since it’s straight after Purim we can surely still pray for “venahafoch hu” (“and it was overturned), and have Nasrallah’s evil plans against Israel turned over onto his own head.