TEL AVIV, Israel, June 4 (UPI) -- Due to the Iranian nuclear threat, Israel is speeding up the development of the Arrow 3 long range missile interception system, a military official said.
"We're thinking mostly about the nuclear threat," Col. Aviram Hasson, head of the Arrow 3 project, told the Aerial Threats in the Modern Age conference at the Institute of National Security Studies Monday.
"Arrow 3 is in the process of advanced development and passed tests with unprecedented success. It expands the scope of interception, far from Israel, with great capabilities. It can fix errors. It can break down loads and streamline the battle," Ynetnews.com and The Times of Israel quoted him as saying. The system is to become operational in 2016.
He outlined Israel's multilayered missile defense shield:
-- the Iron Dome missile defense battery capable of intercepting short and medium-range rockets up to 43.4 miles,
-- David's Sling, also known as Magic Wand, still under development and designed to stop intermediate rockets and missiles,
-- the Arrow 2, able to stop ballistic missiles in the upper atmosphere and
-- the Arrow 3, which operates in space and is able to intercept incoming long range ballistic missiles at high altitude.
In February, the Israeli Defense Ministry conducted a successful test firing of the Arrow 3 missile system, which achieved hypersonic speed and reached an altitude of 62 miles, officials said at the time. The system has the ability to intercept ballistic missiles and salvos of more than five ballistic missile in 30 seconds.