After months of ambiguity, Israeli security officials have finally admitted that last September's test of Israel's Arrow 2 missile defense system failed, according to Channel 10.
The Defense Ministry further stated today (Tuesday) that the Arrow 3 test conducted in December also failed – although in that case the cause was not a problem with the system itself but a faulty missile.
Back in September 2014, the Israeli Defense Ministry, together with the American Missile Defense Agency (MDA), announced that they had conducted a drill simulating a ballistic missile attack by Iran on Israel, firing a single Arrow (Hetz) 2 missile, in what was described as a successful operation.
But the Russian military, whose navy has several vessels stationed in the Mediterranean, claimed its personnel had witnessed the test fail.
Russian Defense Ministry spokesperson Maj. Gen. Igor Konashenkov said that the target missile, which was supposed to be shot down in the test, was found by Russia in the Mediterranean Sea 300 kilometers (over 180 miles) away from Tel Aviv.
In the September test, a target Sparrow (Ankor) missile was fired over the Mediterranean, with an Arrow 2 fired to intercept it. According to the Russian claims the Sparrow missile escaped the test unharmed, landing in the sea.
A senior Israeli security source at the time was cagey about the results of the simulation, saying that "the final results (of the test) still can't be determined. Several days will be required to process the figures."
The Arrow missile defense system is designed to intercept long-range ICBM (Inter-Continental Ballistic Missiles) of the type held by Iran. The Islamic regime has been continuing its nuclear program despite ongoing talks with world powers, and Israeli Prime Minister Binyamin Netanyahu on Tuesday warned a looming deal with world powers could allow Tehran to reach the nuclear threshold.
The Arrow 2, tested in the September simulation, is built for interception within the atmosphere, whereas the new Arrow 3, which is still being developed, operates at even higher altitudes by taking out missiles before they even reenter the earth's atmosphere.