Test missile blasts off from coastal air force base
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Test missile blasts off from coastal air force base

Defense Ministry says launch of unidentified projectile was a planned trial

Illustrative: The Arrow 3 missile is launched from Palmachim air base in central Israel on December 10, 2015. (Defense Ministry)
Illustrative: The Arrow 3 missile is launched from Palmachim air base in central Israel on December 10, 2015. (Defense Ministry)

A test missile lifted off from the Palmachim air base Thursday morning in what the Defense Ministry said was a scheduled trial.

Residents in the area of the base, located south of Tel Aviv, heard the launch which left a smoke trail that could be seen for miles.

The ministry did not say what type of missile was fired.

“In the framework of the Homa [missile defense] directorate, a planned test launch was conducted this morning,” the Defense Ministry said in a statement.

It said it would share further details at a later time.

The Palmachim base is often used for missile tests, including the Arrow 3 missile defense system.

In May, the Defense Ministry said it was postponing a planned live-fire test of the long-range Arrow 3 missile defense system in Alaska in order to ensure “maximum readiness” of the battery.

The Arrow 3 system was first tested successfully in February, after months of delays and technical problems. In January, an exercise was called off because of a data transfer problem and in December a test was canceled over safety concerns.

Complemented by a number of other missile defense systems designed to protect Israel from short-, medium- and long-range attacks, the Arrow 3 system represents the highest level of Israel’s multi-tiered missile defense network.

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