TEL AVIV — A glitch that prevented the Israeli Arrow-2 missile defense system from intercepting its intended target was corrected, Defense Ministry officials said Tuesday.
In a briefing to reporters here, an official at the Israel Missile Defense Organization (IMDO) acknowledged for the first time that a test last September successfully acquired, but narrowly missed, its target. The near-miss was first reported by Defense News shortly thereafter.
"Intercepting such a threat requires a significant broadening of the limits of the system ... the interceptor passed very close to the target, but did not directly strike it," The Jerusalem Post reported, quoting MoD officials.
The exact reason behind the failure was not provided, however, officials initially attributed the glitch to easily correctable software issues.
Bugs like these are inherent to developing such systems and do not reflect the long-term viability of Arrow-2, Uzi Rubin, a former director of IMDO and an international consultant on emerging threats, said.
"Things like this happen. Tests are not an insurance policy and if I knew a test was going to succeed, I wouldn't do it at all. It would be a waste of time and money. You must factor everything in; in some cases you're going to fail and if it points out a flaw then that's a success, not a failure," he said.
He also clarified that the failure does not affect the developmental upper-tier Arrow-3 or Israel's existing stockpile of Arrow-2 missiles.
Last December, the first intercept test for the Arrow-3 anti-ballistic missile developed by Israel Aerospace Industries and Boeing was aborted due to safety concerns.
"You don't fire if you think you're going to endanger anyone," Rubin said, explaining that the intercept would have been tested close to a densely populated area.
"What failed was not a test, what failed was an attempt to do the test," he said.
IMDO also spotlighted the Iron Dome anti-rocket system, which proved successful during Operation Protective Edge.
During the conflict, Iron Dome — also jointly funded by the US — intercepted 740 Gazan rockets for a 90 percent success rate.