Arrow 3 is an exoatmospheric anti-ballistic missile defense system developed by Israel and the US together to deal with long-range threats.
The Arrow 3 interceptor was co-developed by Boeing and the MLM Division of Israel Aerospace Industries (IAI). It is a component of the Arrow weapon system (AWS), an independent anti-tactical ballistic missile defense system used by Israel.
Additionally to the Arrow 2 and David’s Sling, the active defense system Iron Dome is another important part of the country’s multi-layered missile defense system. In 2017, arrow three was officially adopted by the Israeli Air Force. Reuters has reported that Germany has plans to purchase the Arrow 3 air defense system.
Early Phases of Arrow 3
In 2013, the Arrow 3 interceptor had its first successful flight test. Israeli military officials and their American counterparts at the Missile Defense Agency flew a second test mission in January 2014.
As part of the test, an Israeli test range launched an Arrow 3 interceptor, and it successfully completed its mission before splashing down in the Mediterranean.
In February of 2018, the MDA and the Israel Missile Defense Organization (IMDO), a division of the Ministry of Defense, put the Arrow 3 weapons system through its paces during a flight test at a site in central Israel.
In Alaska, USA, in July 2019, the IMDO and MDA finished a series of tests on Arrow-3. The test campaign showed that the interceptor could hit and kill high-flying exoatmospheric targets. The test proved the system could work with the United States AN/TPY-2 radar.
In September 2018, the first Arrow 3 missile canister was shipped from IAI’s American subsidiary, Stark Aerospace. In accordance with the co-production agreement between Israel and the US, full weapon system production began in September 2019.
In January 2022, the AWS and the Arrow 3 interceptor flew successfully at a test site in central Israel.
Arrow 3 design and features
Arrow 3 is built to shoot down missiles before they enter Earth’s atmosphere. Its sleek and modern construction saves space.
The system is faster and has more range than the Arrow 2 weapon system while weighing around half as much.
It can defend a vast region at hypersonic speeds, making it ideal for protecting both important facilities and densely populated urban areas. The enormous range of this weapon allows it to annihilate distant enemies, even those armed with nuclear, chemical, or biological weapons.
Arrow 3 destroys all theater ballistic missiles (TBMs) and warheads. It can be connected to the AWS battery, which comprises a radar on the ground, a battle management system, launchers, and a launch control center.
The missile defense system is equipped with hit-to-kill technology, eliminating any threat an approaching missile poses. First, the missile is launched vertically, then its course is altered to head toward a predicted intercept location. Once an enemy warhead is located within striking distance, the kill vehicle is released.
The portable launcher can shoot in any direction and can be used to launch hot canisters vertically. Each launcher can contain six canisters. It can house an Arrow 2 or 3 interceptor.
The missile can be put in a vertical launch tube that is 21in long. The launcher allows multiple ballistic missiles to be fired quickly.
Furthermore, Arrow 3 consists of Two solid propulsion stages, a booster, and a sustainer, to power the hypersonic weapon system. It has an effective range of 2,400 kilometers and can counter threats at an altitude of 100 kilometers.
Arrow 3 Radar and guidance system
Elta’s L-band early warning and fire control radar, Super Green Pine, is utilized by the Arrow 3 system. The IAI group owns Elta as a wholly-owned subsidiary. The radar has the ability to detect and track multiple targets simultaneously and at great distances.
Radar electronic countermeasures can fix problems, including sensor failure and jamming (ECCM).
The target is acquired by the kill vehicle’s high-resolution electro-optical sensor, and then the vehicle fires at the target to detonate the warhead.
Arrow 3 battle management system
Data processing, threat assessment, and mission control are all managed by the Citron Tree combat management and command, control, communication, and intelligence system/fire control center.
Early warning, estimated launch point, and impact point prediction are all features of the battle management system.
It’s possible to control battles manually or have them run automatically, and the system also has a human-machine interface. It enables us to deal with several dangers at once.
The Arrow 3 defense system is always on the watch for potential dangers. The combat management center collects data from radars regarding approaching ballistic missiles and then decides which interceptor will be used to shoot them down.
The missile launchers are managed by the Hazelnut Tree LCC, which is located at the launch location. It’s the link between the launchers and the command post where the fire is directed.
The Hazelnut Tree LCC has a completely automated mode for managing battles and full system redundancy for optimal uptime.
Several fail-safes are built to stop any errant missiles from being fired. The LCC is also responsible for doing interceptor inspections and repairs.