Israel’s defense ministry says it carried out a successful flight test of the Arrow 3 missile interceptor. The test was conducted in cooperation with the U.S. Missile Defense Agency.

The interceptor was launched into space Feb. 25 at around 6 a.m. local time from a coastal military launching pad in central Israel. The missile flew for more than 6 min., testing Arrow 3’s fly-out capabilities at altitudes well more than 100 km (60 mi.). The test plan did not include an actual intercept, so no target was used.

Israel Aerospace Industries (IAI) and the Boeing Company co-produce the Arrow 2 interceptor and are developing the Arrow 3 for the ministry with U.S. support. When it becomes operational around 2016, Arrow 3 will be able to intercept ballistic missiles with longer ranges than the ones that Arrow 2 can engage, and at higher altitudes. The Arrow system uses the two-stage Arrow 2 interceptor to destroy an incoming target with a fragmentation warhead. Arrow 3, also a two-stage interceptor, will be able to destroy an incoming target with an exoatmospheric kill vehicle. Using a “hit-to-kill” design rather than a fragmenting warhead enables the new interceptor to be lighter and more agile. Arrow 3 weighs less than half the Arrow 2’s weight.