In 1983 President Ronald Reagan called on military scientists to “give us the means of rendering these nuclear weapons impotent and obsolete.”
Reagan’s vision took a big step toward realization in July when the United States successfully tested a defensive missile system that can overcome nuclear weapons.
During 10 days of tests at the Pacific Spaceport Complex in Kodiak, Alaska, the Arrow-3 system intercepted and destroyed three target missiles outside the Earth’s atmosphere.
“These successful tests mark a major milestone in the development of the Arrow Weapon System,” said Vice Admiral Jon Hill, director of the U.S. Department of Defense’s Missile Defense Agency.
U.S. Missile Defense Agency and Israel Missile Defense Organization completed a successful flight test campaign with the Arrow-3 Interceptor missile in Kodiak, Alaska, successfully intercepting a ballistic missile target #Partnerships Story: https://t.co/1P5TMFwnA0 pic.twitter.com/yibKXnautK
— U.S. Indo-Pacific Command (@INDOPACOM) July 28, 2019
With a range of 2,400 kilometers, Arrow-3 can intercept ballistic missiles at high altitude, which means it can safely destroy even those missiles mounted with nuclear or biological warheads. The system, which incorporates Boeing technology, was designed as one component of a three-tier system that will protect civilians from attack by incoming short-, medium- and long-range missiles.
Arrow-3 is a joint U.S.-Israel project. The Alaska tests were previously scheduled for 2018 but then delayed so that development teams could make improvements.
“A strong homeland ballistic missile defense to ensure our national security is of the utmost importance,” said Senator Lisa Murkowski of Alaska following the successful tests.