IAF mulls further 'Arrow' deployment

Officials tell Post two missile batteries may be added to current sites.

arrow missile 2 298.88 (photo credit: Israel Air Industries)
arrow missile 2 298.88
(photo credit: Israel Air Industries)
The defense establishment is considering deploying new Arrow 2 missile batteries, in addition to the two currently in place, at sites throughout the country, including in the South, The Jerusalem Post has learned. On Sunday night, the IAF successfully tested the Arrow 2 system against a missile impersonating an Iranian Shihab-3 carrying a nuclear warhead. According to defense sources, the IAF plans to test an upgraded version of the missile called the Arrow 2.5 in two months. It is said to carry a larger warhead and to be capable of reaching higher altitudes, where it is safer to destroy nonconventional weapons. The Post has also learned that Israel Aircraft Industries CEO Yitzhak Nissan will discuss potential exports of the Arrow with his US counterparts during a trip to Washington this week. While defense officials stressed that no "concrete offers were currently on the table," they confirmed that South Korea, India and Turkey had expressed interest in the US-Israel developed system. Before such a sale takes place, IAI and Boeing would need to receive authorization from the Ministry of Defense and the US Missile Defense Agency. "The Arrow is the sole operational missile defense system in the world today," one official said. "It is only natural that other countries would be interested in purchasing it." There are currently Arrow batteries stationed in Palmahim, south of Ashdod, and one in the North, near Ein Shemer. Sunday night's test involved both Arrow batteries, with the one in Ein Shemer using its radar to locate and track the "enemy" missile and the one in Palmahim firing the interceptor. As a result of Sunday's successful test, the defense establishment is considering the deployment of additional Arrow missiles. The idea would be to position launchers and missiles in key locations - such as near the Dimona nuclear reactor - and to operate them together with the systems located in Palmahim and Ein Shemer.•