Israel Preparing to Test New Generation of Arrow Anti-missile System

The new Arrow 3 system would be able to intercept unconventional Iranian missiles, says Defense Ministry project chief. Iran is estimated to possess hundreds of long-range Shahab 3 missiles.

Gili Cohen
Gili Cohen
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Gili Cohen
Gili Cohen

The new generation of Israel's anti-missile Arrow system will be tested "soon", a defense ministry official said on Tuesday. The system, he stated, would be able to tackle long-range unconventional Iranian missiles.

In recent years Israel has advanced the development of the Arrow 3 project, an anti-missile defense system designed to intercept long-range missiles.

Yair Ramati, head of the Defense Ministry's Homa project, which is responsible for the development of the army’s multilayer missile defense systems, said on Tuesday that he hopes "soon we will conduct the launch tests" of the Arrow 3 interceptors.

Ramati stressed that the test will not check the missile's intercepting capabilities, but only its launch system.

Speaking at a convention of Israel Defense Forces National Security College graduates, Ramati defined the Arrow 3 as "a defense missile against Iranian ballistic missiles carrying unconventional warheads."

Compared with the Arrow systems currently operated by the IDF, the Arrow 3 is designed to have an improved intercepting missile. The missile is supposed to be lighter, with a higher operating range. The security establishment says that the interceptor would operate outside the Earth's atmosphere, where it would "chase" its target.

The Arrow 3 system is estimated to be operational in three years.

Over the past year, a number of improvements were made to the Arrow 2, an anti-missile system designed to deal with the threat of medium-range ballistic missiles.

Ten days ago, a successful test-fire of another Israeli anti-missile defense system was conducted. The system, named David's Sling, is meant to intercept mid-range missiles, mostly those held by Lebanon's Hezbollah.

Estimations in the defense establishment are that Hezbollah possess some 60 thousand of such rockets, 5,000 of them capable of reaching Tel-Aviv. Iran is estimated to have hundreds of Shahab 3 missiles with the range of thousands of kilometers.

An Arrow missile is launched during a test from an undisclosed location in Israel April 7, 2009.Credit: Reuters

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