Kodiak to host Israeli missile test

An Arrow anti-ballistic missile launches from California in 2004 test. Photo: U.S. Navy.

Israel is working on a better missile to counter the threat of an Iranian launch. But Israel lives in a crowded neighborhood, so the plan is to test the interceptor in Kodiak.

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That’s the word from Adm. James Syring, director of the U.S. Missile Defense Agency. Syring told a congressional committee Wednesday the U.S. is Israel’s partner in developing that country’s missile defense system, particularly Israel’s Arrow 3 missile.

“It has significant range constraints within the Mediterranean. And one of the better places to test is in Alaska, from Kodiak,” Syring told the U.S. House panel. “And we intend to do that next year.”

Craig Campbell, CEO of the state-owned Alaska Aerospace Corp., says the deal isn’t final yet.

“The Missile Defense Agency, MDA, has approached us about doing the Israeli program out of Kodiak, and we are in the process of negotiating that contract today,” Campbell said in a phone interview.

The work would be a component of the $80 million contract MDA and the Alaska Aerospace Corporation announced a year ago.
Also under that umbrella contract, Campbell says MDA plans to launch missiles from the Kodiak Island facility sometime in the next few weeks or months.

“The test we have for THAAD – that’s the Terminal High-Altitude Air Defense program – that’s going to be a series of tests coming up this summer,” Campbell said. “The dates are classified, but prior to the launches there’ll be public notice given as to when the launch is going to occur. But there will be two launches this summer.”

The Missile Defense Agency conducted a successful test over the Pacific two weeks ago.  was set up to replicate the scenario of a North Korean launch at the U.S., Adm. Syring told committee members, but for the test, everything was moved a few thousand miles south, so the interceptor was launched from California instead of Alaska’s Fort Greely.

Liz Ruskin is the Washington, D.C., correspondent for Alaska Public Media. She reports from the U.S. Capitol and from Anchorage. Reach her at lruskin@alaskapublic.org.

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