U.S. defense firm Boeing has partnered with Israel Aerospace Industries to prepare a long-range system that would form the uppermost component of Israel's multilevel ballistic missile shield, Aviation Week reported on Thursday (see GSN, July 26, 2011).
The Arrow 3 interceptor is intended to have the capability to hit incoming missiles outside the Earth's atmosphere and so would have a longer reach than Israel's Arrow 2 technology. Israel's tiered missile defense system is intended to give the military several opportunities to eliminate incoming threats.
Israel Aerospace Industries and Boeing previously collaborated in establishing the Arrow 2 interceptor.
"This new agreement is the next logical step in our relationship with Boeing and a strong opportunity for both companies to play a bigger role in the missile defense market" Israel Aerospace Industries President Itzhak Nissan said in a press release.
The Arrow 3 would be used in conjunction with the advanced "Great Pine" radar system that is thought capable of identifying threats as far away as 563 miles. Information on missile threats would also be provided by a U.S.-supplied X-band radar unit established in southern Israel.
Development of the Arrow 3 is financed by the Israeli military and the U.S. Missile Defense Agency. The interceptor is anticipated to be ready for preliminary operations in 2014.
The system is being developed with an eye toward Iran's evolving missile and nuclear capabilities. Jerusalem believes Tehran is pursuing a nuclear-weapon capability, an allegation rejected by Iranian leaders.
"Israel is too small to absorb a nuclear strike. The Arrow 3 will minimize the chance of enemy missiles penetrating our defense shields," a well-placed defense source said (Alon Ben David, Aviation Week, Jan. 26).
U.S. defense firm Boeing has partnered with Israel Aerospace Industries to prepare a long-range system that would form the uppermost component of Israel's multilevel ballistic missile shield, Aviation Week reported on Thursday.