The IDF is considering installing Arrow missile-defense systems on new missile
ships that it might acquire under the multi-year budget plan currently under
The General Staff has yet to decide whether it will buy two new
surface vessels, estimated to cost over $500 million, and is expected to make a
decision in the coming weeks.
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The navy had originally decided to purchase
the US Navy’s littoral combat ship, under development by Lockheed Martin, but
backed away from the deal after the price soared. It is now looking into buying
designs from Germany’s Blohm+Voss and to have the vessels built by Israel
Shipyards, a privately owned company based in Haifa that already builds the
navy’s smaller Shaldag patrol boats.
The thinking behind the installation
of Arrow missiles on navy ships is the ability to make the missile-defense
system mobile and to deploy it even far from the country in the event of a
conflict. It would also enable the country to ensure survivability of key
capabilities in the event that the ground-based systems are
Industry sources said that the Arrow, manufactured by Israel
Aerospace Industries and Boeing Company, could be deployed on ships. One of the
first tests of the system was done from a platform at sea.
The US Navy
already operates ships equipped with missile- defense systems called Aegis,
which are fitted with SM-3 interceptors. In March, the US deployed the USS
Monterey guided-missile cruiser in the Mediterranean and it is currently
considering the deployment of a second vessel to beef up missile defense for its
allies in the region and as part of its European missile-defense plan.