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Israel and the U.S. on Monday carried out a successful test of the next-generation Arrow 3 missile defense system, for the first time sending an interceptor into outer space, where it could destroy missiles fired from Iran.

The Arrow 3 is part of a multilayered system that Israel is developing to protect against a range of missile threats, from short-range rockets in the Gaza Strip and Lebanon to medium and longer-range missiles in the hands of Syria and Iran. The Arrow system is being developed to protect against sophisticated Iranian-made Shahab ballistic missiles.

Israel’s Defense Ministry said it was the first flight test of the Arrow 3 interceptor. It was conducted at an Israeli test range over the Mediterranean Sea. The system is about three years away from becoming operational.

“The Arrow 3 interceptor was successfully launched and flew an exo-atmospheric trajectory through space, in accordance with the test plan,” it said in a statement. “The successful test is a major milestone in the development of the Arrow 3 weapon system and provides further confidence in future Israeli defense capabilities to defeat the developing ballistic missile threat.”

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