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