IAF to get new Arrow interceptor

Interceptor designed to defend against ballistic missiles such as Iran’s Shahab and Sajil and Syria’s Scud D missiles.

April 23, 2012 02:49
1 minute read.
Arrow missile defense system.

Arrow missile defense system 390. (photo credit: Israel Aerospace Industries/Reuters)

The air force will take delivery of a new and improved Arrow missile interceptor in the coming weeks as it continues to bolster its defenses in face of Iran’s pursuit of a nuclear weapon.

The upgraded interceptor is called “Block 4” and contains new software aimed at improving the system’s ability to defend against long-range ballistic missiles such as Iran’s Shahab and Sajil and Syria’s Scud D missiles.

The Arrow is Israel’s upper tier missile defense system, complemented by the Iron Dome for short-range rockets and the David’s Sling, which is under development and to be used against medium-range rockets and cruise missiles.

In the coming months, the Defense Ministry plans to hold its first interception test of the Arrow 3, a new higher-level system that will provide Israel with a number of chances to intercept incoming enemy missiles.

The most recent test of the Arrow was held in February although it did not include an interception. During the test, an Israeli F-15 fighter jet launched a Blue Sparrow missile developed by Rafael Advanced Defense Systems to impersonate long-range Iranian ballistic missiles.

The Arrow’s radar and detection system, developed by Israel Aerospace Industries detected the incoming “enemy” missile and successfully tracked it.

In addition, the air force is connecting the Arrow to the Super Green Pine radar that will replace the older radar used to detect and track incoming ballistic missiles, improving the Arrow’s range.

“The Arrow has the ability to intercept all of the long-range missiles currently threatening Israel,” a senior defense official said recently.

The Arrow will also be delivered soon to South Korea, which placed the order for the system in 2009. It will be used to track North Korean missiles like the one Pyongyang tried to launch earlier this month. A South Korean military delegation recently visited Israel ahead of the delivery of the radar system.

Israel has looked to Seoul as a potential first export customer for the Arrow and while talks have been held over the years, the United States – which is a partner in the development and production of the system – has yet to approve a sale. South Korea has not formally asked to buy the system although talks have been held on the issue.

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