Operational Arrow-3 Interceptors Transferred to Israel’s Air Force Missile Defense Force

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Arrow 3 interceptor missile launched from Palmachim missile test site on Israel's Mediterranean shore, December 10, 2015. Photo: IMOD

Israel enhanced today its nationwide multi-layered missile defense system with the delivery of the first batch of Arrow 3 interceptors to be inducted to the Arrow Weapon System (AWS) made by Israel Aerospace Industries (IAI/MLM). Arrow system is the upper-most tier in the Israeli strategic missile defense capability. Until now the AWS was comprised of Arrow-2 interceptors. The induction of Arrow-3 adds an exo-atmospheric capability.

The two types of missiles enable the missile defense operators to conduct more agile intercepts, particularly against missile salvos. The Arrow-3 hit-to-kill interceptor capabilities enable longer range, higher altitude (exo-atmospheric) and more precise ballistic missile engagements. The combined interception capabilities of the Arrow-2 and Arrow-3 will significantly reduce the possibilities of ballistic missiles ‘leakage’, when missiles that were not intercepted could  hit the Jewish State.

The first batch of operational Arrow-3 missiles was delivered today in a formal ceremony, where Israel’s Missile Defense Organization (IMDO), a division of the Israeli Ministry of Defense responsible for the development, procurement and support of the national missile defense systems, transferred the operational Arrow-3 interceptors to the Israeli Air Force (IAF) Air and Missile Defense Array.

The delivery took place about a year after the last successful intercept that proved the missile’s ability to detect, track and destroy ballistic missile targets in space. Arrow-3 test program began in 2013 and included several test flights that proved the system’s design and simulations. The program suffered a delay of several months due to a test failure in 2014. The final test flight, on December 10, 2015 was successful and proved the system’s maturity.

The first Arrow-3 interceptor was handed over to the Israel Air Force today, to join the Arrow-2 as the operational interceptors of the Arrow Weapon System (AWS). Photo: IMOD
Arrow-3 launched on its first exoatmospheric test flight (February 2013). Photo: IMOD

The Arrow-3 development program, one of several joint programs between Israel and the United States associated with missile defense capabilities, was managed jointly by the U.S. Missile Defense Agency and IMDO. The U.S. contribution to the program is a key reason Israel has achieved this remarkable accomplishment at relatively short time. The prime contractor for the AWS is IAI/MLM, with Boeing the main U.S. subcontractor. During the integration process of the new interceptor, the weapons system components were fully upgraded.

The Golden Citron Battle Management Center made by Elbit Systems received significant new capabilities as well as the Advanced Green Pine radar detection array made by IAI/ELTA, which improved its ability to take on the increasingly growing threat.

As the threats continue to grow and new emerging threats surface, IMOD, IMDO and the U.S. are dedicated to the continued development and enhancement of the Israeli Ballistic Missile Defense elements and systems to provide the appropriate defense solutions. Undeniably, the Arrow Weapon System’s unique and expanding capabilities place Israel among the most advanced countries in the World in the ability to defense against ballistic missile threats.