According to Israeli public television, the Jewish State has carried out another successful test of its Arrow II ballistic missile defense systems. As recounted in this report by AFP, the nightime test replicated the intercept of an Iranian Shahab-3 medium-range missile, which is capable of hitting Israeli territory. Israeli TV said the test was designed to "send a message" to Tehran.
Operational details of the test are sketchy, and Israel's Ministry of Defense is expected to release a statement later today. Israeli media indicates that the Arrow II successfully intercepted a missile launched from a high-altitude aircraft. The interceptor missile was launched from Palmahim AB, south of Tel Aviv.
If those accounts are accurate, the test sounds identical to those conducted earlier with the Arrow II. During those evaluations, an Israeli Air Force F-15 launched a Black Sparrow missile over the eastern Mediterranean. The missile flies a parabolic orbit, designed to mimic a Shahab-3 targeting Israel. Guided by a Green Pine battle management radar, the Arrow II intercepted the target missile, and blasted it from the sky.
The U.S. has provided extensive funding and engineering support for the Arrow II program, and key elements of that technology have been incorporated into our own BMD efforts. The Arrow II is one of the most advanced missile defense systems in the world, and the only one that is fully operational. While the most recent test was clearly aimed at Tehran, there's a message for the U.S. as well: missile defense works, and we need to press ahead with our efforts in that arena, and battle critics like Michigan Senator Carl Levin, who (given the chance) would completely gut our program, and leave us unprotected.