Arrow 3 (Israel)


Systems:

Arrow 3 Arrow 3, an upgraded version of Israel’s Arrow 2, is a U.S.-Israeli system designed to intercept medium-range ballistic missiles. This system, developed in response to growing capabilities by regional adversaries such as Iran, operates at a higher altitude and greater range than currently fielded defense systems.1 Arrow 3 is capable of exo-atmospheric intercepts well beyond the range of its predecessor and provides the necessary upper tier to Israel’s multilayer defense apparatus, with a reported range of up to 2,400 km.2

Arrow 3 will consist of a two-stage interceptor that will destroy incoming ballistic missiles and ICBMs with an exo-atmospheric kill vehicle that will also be to maneuver midair to intercept its target. The interceptor is designed to operate in space, inciting speculation that Arrow 3 could be used as an anti-satellite weapon.3

Arrow 3 Development, Testing, and Fielding

Arrow 3 was developed by Israel Aerospace Industries and Boeing. The system includes new communications, guidance, and sensor systems. However, it is designed to be fully interoperable with the Arrow 2 system and uses some of the same resources as that system, including launchers and battle management centers.4

After failing its first live intercept test in December 2014, Arrow 3 underwent a number of hardware and software updates. It has since completed a number of successful tests, including the first successful engagement of a ballistic missile target with the Arrow 3 interceptor on December 10, 2015.5 This intercept was conducted in the exo-atmosphere and was designed to test how well the system could “detect, identify, track and then discriminate real from decoy targets traveling quickly through space.”6 A number of tests were conducted in 2016 to ensure capability before the system was deemed operational. 7 Arrow 3 completed development and was inducted into the Israeli Air Force on January 18, 2017. 8

U.S. Contributions

The United States agreed to co-develop the Arrow 3 system with Israel in 2008, despite urgings by the U.S. Department of Defense for Israel to procure the THAAD system instead.9 The United States and Israel deepened their cooperation on Arrow 3 in July 2010 when they signed a bilateral agreement furthering ties in developing and producing the system.10 Funding for the Arrow 3 system has been authorized by Congress since FY2008 and, between FY2008 and FY2015, the United States contributed $450M to the system. The FY16 NDAA authorized up to $15M for “the Arrow 3 Upper Tier Interceptor Program” and a further $19.5M for “Israeli Cooperative Programs” relating to Arrow 3.11

    1. Jeremy M. Sharp, “U.S. Foreign Aid to Israel,” Congressional Research Service, June 10, 2015, https://www.fas.org/sgp/crs/mideast/RL33222.pdf, 12.
    2. “Arrow Weapon System (AWS),” IHS Jane’s Land Warfare Platforms: Artillery and Air Defence 2012-13, ed. Christopher F. Foss and James C. O’Halloran (United Kingdom: IHS, 2013), 692-695.
    3. Jeremy M. Sharp, “U.S. Foreign Aid to Israel,” Congressional Research Service, 12
    4. “Arrow Weapon System (AWS),” IHS Jane’s Land Warfare Platforms: Artillery and Air Defence 2012-13, 692-695 & Yiftah Shapir, “Another Layer of Defense: The Arrow-3 Test,” The Institute for National Security Studies, INSS Insight No. 407, February 27, 2013.
    5. Dan Williams, “Israel’s Arrow 3 missile shield fails interception test: sources,” Reuters, December 16, 2014, http://www.reuters.com/article/us-arms-israel-arrow-idUSKBN0JU1DK20141216 & Missile Defense Agency, “IMDO and MDA Successfully Complete First Arrow-3 Ballistic Missile Defense Engagement,” December 10, 2015, https://www.mda.mil/news/15news0010.html.
    6. Barbara Opall-Rome, “US-Israel Arrow-3 Intercepts Target in Space,” Defense News, December 10, 2015, http://www.defensenews.com/story/defense/air-space/strike/2015/12/10/us-israel-arrow-3-intercepts-target-space/77087084/.
    7. Dan Williams, “Israel says ‘David’s Sling’ missile shield to be deployed in 2016,” Reuters, December 21, 2015, http://www.reuters.com/article/us-arms-israel-davidsling-idUSKBN0U410P20151221 & Missile Defense Agency, “IMDO and MDA Successfully Complete First Arrow-3 Ballistic Missile Defense Engagement.”
    8. “Israel Expands Missile Defense System With New Interceptor,” The Washington Post, January 18, 2017, https://www.washingtonpost.com/world/middle_east/israel-expands-missile-defense-system-with-new-interceptor/2017/01/18/7ef8681e-dd96-11e6-8902-610fe486791c_story.html?utm_term=.13d0e78b8045.
    9. Jeremy M. Sharp, “U.S. Foreign Aid to Israel,” Congressional Research Service, 12
    10. Ibid.
    11. National Defense Authorization Act for Fiscal Year 2016, Pub. L. No. 114-92, 129 Stat. 1140-1142 (2015).