Grappling with Iran’s continued pursuit of a nuclear capability, the IDF has
begun constructing a third Arrow missile battery near Tel Aviv in an effort to
beef up missile defense ahead of a future conflict.
The new battery will
consist of Arrow 2 missile interceptors and will work in conjunction with the
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Israel already has two Arrow batteries – one is located
in an air force base in the South and another near the city of Hadera in the
The arrow is designated to intercept long-range missiles like the
Shihab, Sajil and Scuds, which make up the backbone of Iran and Syria’s
Air force sources said that the decision to deploy a third
battery of the missile defense system was part of the IDF’s multi-year plan that
was formulated almost five years ago. Additional batteries are expected to be
added over the coming decade.
“The new battery provides another layer of
protection and gives the air force the ability to launch more than one
interceptor at an incoming target,” a senior IAF officer involved in missile
defense said on Thursday.
The new battery will also come with the Citron
Tree fire-control center, which can be used to control the other two Arrow
batteries deployed throughout the country.
“It will be able to control
all of the other batteries from the new position so if there is a malfunction at
the other sites we have backup,” the officer said. “In general, the new battery
helps us disperse our assets and enables us to continue operating defense
systems even if some of the other batteries are damaged during a
The location of the new battery was not released by the IDF,
which only said that it was chosen in the center of the country because this
“provides the utmost protection for long-range threats which Israel faces from a
number of directions.”
Alongside the construction of the new battery,
Israel Aerospace Industries, in conjunction with Boeing in the United States, is
working on developing the Arrow 3, an upgraded version of the current missile
interceptor, which will be capable of deflecting enemy missiles farther away
from Israel and at higher altitudes. The first fly-out test of the new missile is
scheduled for 2011.
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