Israel Successfully Test-fires Hetz-3, 'Companion' to Iron Dome & Magic Wand

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By Vasudevan Sridharan | February 25, 2013 6:46 PM EST

Israeli soldiers watch as an Iron Dome launcher fires an interceptor rocket near the southern city of Beersheba on 17 November, 2012 in this file picture. - Reuters

Israel has successfully test-fired its missile interceptor Hetz-3 following the first two models Iron Dome and Magic Wand (David's Sling), said the country's defence ministry.

The surface-to-air missile is expected to further strengthen Israel's military muscle.

Hetz-3 or Arrow was test-fired from a location in central Israel by the Administration for the Development of Weapons and the Technological Industry (ADWT) which works under the defence ministry.

"This successful test is a milestone in Israel's operational and defensive capabilities vis-à-vis threats in the regional arena. This was the first test of a system that has been years in development. The system still has to undergo further tests before it becomes fully operational," said the ministry in a statement.

Hetz-3's internal system is said to be one of the most advanced in the world and the live test has evaluated the system's performance. The success rate of the interceptor is 90 percent, according to experts. 

They say it is in line with other missile interceptors Iron Dome and Magic Wand. The Iron Dome interceptor successfully stopped over 400 missiles from the Gaza Strip in the last Israel-Gaza conflict. 

Hetz-3 is capable of striking the targets at higher altitudes than its earlier version and is also able to intercept non-conventional weapons of mass destruction, suggest reports.

The latest interceptor will join other missiles in shielding the Israeli airspace by providing an "umbrella" against the threats emerging from the region. Israel perceives threat from the Hamas militant group in Gaza Strip and also from Hezbollah from Lebanon, apart from Iran. 

Defense Minister Ehud Barak said, "This is an important milestone for the state of Israel's multi-layered defense system, which includes Iron Dome, David's Sling, Arrow 2 and Arrow 3." 

Hetz-3 was jointly produced by the US and Israel.

The test has come amid high tensions in the sensitive West Bank region over the death of a Palestinian inmate in an Israeli prison.

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