TEL AVIV — Israel and the United States on Tuesday conducted a first flight test of a new air-launched target missile designed to bolster the long-range interception capabilities of the joint Arrow Weapon System (AWS).
The early morning test of the Silver Sparrow tactical ballistic-missile (TBM) target was designated a success by Israel’s Defense Ministry, which released its account of the event hours after unnamed defense officials in Moscow claimed Russian radars had detected two ballistic “objects” flying eastward toward the Mediterranean coast.
The delayed release of information concerning the Israeli test augmented the high anxiety in the region over an anticipated US military response to chemical weapons use in Syria and fueled speculation about possible Israeli action against the Damascus regime of Bashar al-Assad.
The MoD initially posted a Hebrew-language announcement on its Facebook page, followed by an early afternoon translation into English.
According to the Israeli statement, the Rafael-developed Silver Sparrow was successfully detected and tracked by the AWS Super Green Pine radar, which transferred information to the Arrow’s battle management control system.
No interception was planned for the test, which was conducted for the parallel purpose of validating flight characteristics of the new TBM target and testing response time of the AWS.
“All the elements of the [AWS] performed according to their operational configuration,” the MoD statement said.
Program officials here declined to explain conflicting Moscow-based media reports of Russian radars detecting two ballistic trajectories approaching the Mediterranean coast, insisting that only one test missile was used in the morning test.
The Silver Sparrow is launched from Israel Air Force F-15s and is designed to mimic more advanced threats posed by Iran’s Shihab series of long-range ballistic missiles.