IAF to receive upgraded Arrow interceptor soon

New, improved interceptor designed to defend against ballistic missiles such as Iran’s Shahab and Sajil, Syria’s Scud D.

August 5, 2012 10:45
2 minute read.
Arrow missile defense system.

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


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The Israel Air Force will take delivery in the coming weeks of an improved Arrow 2 missile interceptor.

Work on an upgraded interceptor called Block 4 was revealed by The Jerusalem Post in April. The upgraded missile 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 2 is Israel’s upper-tier missile defense system, complemented by the Iron Dome against 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 enemy missiles.

The most recent test of the Arrow was held in February, but 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 has connected the Arrow to the Super Green Pine radar that is replacing an older radar used to detect and track incoming ballistic missiles, improving the Arrow’s range.

Officials said on Sunday that the upgraded interceptor will enable the Arrow to destroy more missiles than before, including longerand shorter-range projectiles.

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

Delivery of the new Arrow interceptor comes as the IAF works to increase the range of the Tamir interceptor – used by the Iron Dome counter-rocket system – with the aim of enabling it to intercept longer-range rockets.

To achieve the improved performance, the IDF is focusing on two tracks – technological upgrades to the system, and modifications to the Israel Air Force’s operational doctrine.

The Iron Dome was originally designed to defend against rockets at a range of 4-70 km.

Each battery consists of a mini multi-mission radar manufactured by Israel Aerospace Industries and three launchers, each equipped with 20 interceptors called Tamirs.

The radar enables Iron Dome operators to predict the impact site of an enemy rocket and decide not to intercept it if it is slated to hit an open area.

Each interceptor costs between $50,000 and $100,000 and they are usually fired in pairs at rockets to be interceded.

The system recently underwent a series of tests in conjunction with manufacturer Rafael to determine its ability to intercept longerrange rockets.

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