Israel successfully test-fires Arrow 3 interceptor

On January 18, Israel has test-fired two Arrow 3 missile defense interceptors from a site in central Israel.

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Israel successfully test fires Arrow 3 interceptor 01

The innovative Arrow 3 interceptor is designed to intercept and destroy the newest, longer-range threats, especially those carrying weapons of mass destruction (Picture source: IAI)

The Arrow 3 interceptor is part of the Arrow Weapon System (AWS) which is the world's first operational, national, stand-alone ATBM (Anti Tactical Ballistic Missiles) defense system. Based on the uniquely effective Arrow 2 and Arrow 3 interceptors, the Arrow modular air defense system detects, tracks, intercepts and destroys incoming TBMs carrying a range of warheads and over a large footprint, thereby protecting strategic assets and population centers.

AWS radars detected the target and transferred data to the battle management control (BMC). The BMC analyzed the data and established a defense plan. Two Arrow-3 interceptors were launched toward the target and successfully completed the mission.

“This test was designed to challenge every element of the Arrow Weapon System. Data collected from this test will guide future development of the AWS,” said MDA Director Vice Adm. Jon Hill. “MDA remains committed to assisting the Government of Israel in upgrading its missile defense capability against current and emerging threats.”

“Today we successfully completed a complicated flight test of the Arrow Weapon System and the Arrow 3 interceptor. Israeli Ministry of Defense continues its efforts to enhance and to upgrade Israeli Multi-Tier missile defense capabilities for emerging threats in the region,” said Mr. Moshe Patel, IMDO director. “Since the successful series of tests in Alaska in 2019, we have significantly extended the Arrow Weapon System capabilities. I want to express our appreciation to MDA and the U.S. Government for long lasting cooperation of more than 30 years to build and strengthen the Israeli Missile Defense.”

The Arrow Weapon System, jointly developed by IMDO and MDA, is a central part of Israel's multi-layered defense array. The defense array is based on four layers: Iron Dome Defense System, David's Sling Weapon System, the AWS Arrow-2 and Arrow-3 interceptors. The AWS is designed to intercept ballistic missiles outside of the earth’s atmosphere.

"The operational radar arrays of the Arrow system detected the target and sent the data to the fire management system, which analyzed the data and fully plotted the interception. Once the plans were completed, two Arrow 3 interceptors were fired at the target, and they completed their mission successfully," the Defense Ministry said in a statement.

Along with the IMDO, representatives of the MDA, Israeli Air Force and industries involved in AWS development, participated in the test.

Israel Aerospace Industries (IAI) is the primary contractor for the development of the Arrow Weapon System and Arrow interceptors. 

Boaz Levy, the president and CEO of IAI, said the breakthroughs were principally in the area of “algorithms,” the ways in which the systems detect incoming threats and calculate launch trajectories for interceptors. “I won’t elaborate, but it gives the system more capabilities in dealing with threats” he said.