A faulty steering mechanism in the Arrow-2 interceptor caused the rocket to miss its target in the most recent test of the anti-missile system, Israeli officials said.
The Aug. 26 test, held in the Point Mugu range off the California coast, was the eighth for the system and the 13th of the Arrow-2 interceptor missile, said Boaz Levy, director of the Arrow program at the MLM division of Israel Aircraft Industries.
This was the Arrow-2’s second test failure, but the two are not related, Levy said.
The failure occurred after on-board sensors identified the short-range air-launched target, and while the interceptor was maneuvering toward it, said Arieh Herzog, who directs the Israel Missile Defense Organization. An MLM-made electronic component that controls the thrust vector nozzles directing the yaw — the sideways motion of the missile — failed and the test had to be aborted.
Levy and Herzog briefed reporters at the Israeli embassy here.
This was the first test against a short-range air-launched missile launched from a C-17A transport aircraft, Herzog said. It was intended to test the Arrow’s ability against longer-range missiles with separating re-entry vehicles like Syria Scud-Ds and Iranian Shihab-3s, he said.
The Israeli anti-missile system, developed jointly with the Pentagon, is being tested in the United States because test ranges in Israel have severe limitations.
Herzog and Levy could not say when investigation of the failure would be completed or when U.S. tests of Arrow will resume.
Both said the technology behind the failed component was developed in the 1990s and thus obsolete. Depending on the outcome of the investigation, the inventory of Arrow-2 interceptors in the Israeli military possibly could be upgraded with new components, the officials said.
Israel Aircraft Industries and Boeing have a co-production agreement to make Arrow-3 interceptors, which will have different components from the ones onboard Arrow-2, Levy said.