Arrow 2 launch at Point Mugu, Calif., in 2004
JERUSALEM – A joint U.S.-Israeli upgraded Arrow missile defense test conducted off the coast of California resulted in failure today despite a Pentagon effort to paint the effort as a partial success, an informed Israeli defense official told WND.
“The technical conditions for the meaningful part of the test, actually launching the Arrow interceptor, were not met. Instead, engineers were only able to obtain and exchange data on the target missile but not launch an interceptor missile,” the Israeli official said.
“In other words, it would be like Iran launching a missile at Israel and we were only able to trace the missile but not to stop it,” the official said.
The Arrow system, partly funded by the U.S., has been touted by Washington as appropriate defense for Israel against missile attacks from Syria and Iran.
Just yesterday, Secretary of State Hillary Clinton drew heavy Israeli criticism when she implied the U.S. policy against Iran would be to provide Gulf nations with a U.S. “defense umbrella.”
Speaking later at a press conference, Clinton suggested her remarks were misunderstood.
“I’m not suggesting a new policy. In fact we all believe that Iran’s pursuit of nuclear weapons is unacceptable, and I’ve said that many times,” she said.
“I’m simply pointing out that Iran needs to understand that it’s pursuit of nuclear weapons will not advance its security or achieve its goals of enhancing its power regionally and globally,” she said.
Still, Jerusalem officials expressed disappointment with her sentiments.
Israeli Intelligence Services Minister Dan Meridor told reporters, “I heard without enthusiasm the American declarations according to which the United States will defend their allies in the event that Iran uses nuclear weapons, as if they were already resigned to such a possibility.”
“This is a mistake,” Meridor said. “We cannot act now by assuming that Iran will be able to arm itself with a nuclear weapon, but to prevent such a possibility.”
Israel’s Arrow II missile defense system, developed jointly with the American military, was tested at a U.S. range off the California coast, but the Pentagon said problems prevented the launch of the system’s interceptor.
The test was called off after the “enemy missile” was launched in the air, due to communication problems between the control room located on the coast and the missile launcher, deployed hundreds of miles away on an island opposite Los Angeles.
Still, the Arrow managed to track the target missile, dropped from a C-17 aircraft, the Pentagon said in a statement. The missile was meant to mimic an Iranian Shahab missile, but the interceptor was not launched due to a communications glitch.
The Israeli system today exchanged data on the target in real time with elements of the U.S. missile defense system, the Pentagon statement said.
“Not all test conditions to launch the Arrow Interceptor were met, and it was not launched,” the Pentagon said.
Other objectives were achieved, and the results were being analyzed, the Pentagon said.
Israel’s Haaretz newspaper reported three tests in the U.S. of the missile defense system have been aborted over the past week. The tests were carried out in the U.S. because that would allow for greater distances than would be possible in Israel, Defense Ministry spokesman Shlomo Dror said.
Dror said tests of the same Arrow system in Israel earlier this year were very successful.