Israel’s Arrow Intercepts Syrian SAM

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According to media reports, Israeli missile defense forces intercepted a Syrian surface-to-air missile (SAM) fired at a flight of Israeli fighter jets.  If true, the intercept would mark the operational debut of the Arrow 2, which was used to shoot down the SAM over Jordanian territory. Arrow 2 is a part of Israel’s highest tier missile defense network and would normally be used to target long-range ballistic missiles. The Times of Israel suggests that the SAM may have been misidentified.  Arrow 2 was codeveloped by Israel and the United States.

Initial reports claimed that the Arrow 3 system was used to shoot down the SAM. This caused some confusion as Arrow 3 uses an exoatmospheric kill vehicle which cannot operate inside the atmosphere. Arrow 2 uses a blast fragmentation warhead, which has the capability to destroy an air-breathing SAM.