For the second time in two months, the Ministry of Defense has canceled the test of the latest Arrow-3 system. Moshe Patel, director of the Israel Missile Defense Organization, said the Arrow-3 test – a joint project by the Israeli Ministry of Defense and the American Missile Defense Agency – was discontinued after a problem in data transfer was recognized from the ground system. The interceptor missile was never launched and so Patel emphasizes that we should not talk about a failed test, but rather borrow the name given to it by test engineers: “No test”. In December, a system test was stopped after a fault was discovered in a target missile, where the missile simulator was fired – which was supposed to simulate a ballistic missile fired at Israel. According to Boaz Levy, executive director and executive vice president of Systems, Missiles & Space Group of Israel Aerospace Industries (IAI), the problem detected during the December test was resolved and was not related to the Wednesday defect. It is believed that the latest generation of the Arrow-3 system has better interception capabilities, capable of intercepting ballistic missiles even when they are still outside the Earth’s atmosphere and is considered one of the best in the world thanks to its revolutionary technological capabilities that allow him to perform at a much higher altitude and much further from Israeli soil.
North Korea is believed to be preparing to launch a missile before a joint naval drill by the US and South Korea, a news report said on Saturday, citing a government source. The US navy said on Friday that a US aircraft carrier will lead the drill next week, a fresh show of force against North Korea as tensions soar over the hermit state’s weapons programme. The move is likely to rile Pyongyang which has previously responded angrily to joint exercises. The Donga newspaper, quoting a government source, said satellite pictures show missiles mounted on launchers being transported out of hangars near Pyongyang and in North Phyongan Province. US and South Korean military officials suspect the North might be preparing to launch missiles capable of reaching US territory, the newspaper said. A defence ministry spokesman declined to comment on the report, saying: “We don’t comment on any matters of military intelligence”. “We are keeping a close watch over the North”, he said. The joint drills led by the USS Ronald Reagan aircraft carrier come after hectic US military hardware movements around the Korean peninsula in recent days. Professor Yang Moo-jin of the University of North Korean Studies said it was “highly likely” that the North could launch missiles in response to next week’s joint navy drill. US President Donald Trump’s continued threats of military action against Pyongyang if it does not tame its weapons ambitions have fuelled fears of conflict on the Korean peninsula. But military intervention against North Korea would have “devastating consequences”, Nato chief Jens Stoltenberg warned on Friday, after Trump said diplomatic efforts had failed.