Israel Enhances Key Antimissile Technology

An Israeli Arrow 2 missile interceptor lifts off in a 1996 trial flight. An Israeli Defense Ministry insider said Tel Aviv is making enhancements to the Arrow 2 system (AP Photo/Israel Aircraft Industry).
An Israeli Arrow 2 missile interceptor lifts off in a 1996 trial flight. An Israeli Defense Ministry insider said Tel Aviv is making enhancements to the Arrow 2 system (AP Photo/Israel Aircraft Industry).

Israel has made enhancements to its Arrow 2 antimissile technology, the Associated Press quoted a Defense Ministry source as saying on Sunday (see GSN, Feb. 1).

Improvements have been made to the system's detection capacities, among other components, enabling it to fly farther and strike with greater precision, the source said without offering details. He declined to discuss specifics regarding the number of Arrow 2 units fielded across Israel.

While the Iran threat has been a key focus of work on the Arrow system, the weapon has now been updated to counter missiles coming from closer-in nations such as Syria and Lebanon, according to a Sunday report in Israel's Haaretz newspaper.

The developments come amid continued warnings from Tel Aviv of the possible need to attack Iran's nuclear installations, which Israeli leaders believe are part of a nuclear-weapon operation. Tehran says its atomic efforts have no military dimension, but on Saturday announced the trial of an enhanced iteration of a short-range ballistic missile (see related GSN story, today).

Israel is also keeping a wary eye on developments in Syria, where the Assad regime is desperately fighting to maintain power. The nation is believed to hold a sizable stockpile of chemical weapons (see related GSN story, today).

One-time Arrow program chief Uzi Rubin said the technology is capable of eliminating most, if not all, missiles launched from Iran.

“I can’t say that every incoming missile will be knocked down," he said to Army Radio on Sunday. "There isn’t 100 percent protection and not everything is a success. But for every single missile coming from Iran, there is a single Arrow missile capable of intercepting it one for one.”

The Arrow 2 is one part of a broader Israeli antimissile program that encompasses the experimental Arrow 3 and the David's Sling system (Amy Teibel, Associated Press/Washington Post, Aug. 5).

Israel is expected to need a number of weeks to place the updated "Block 4" technology in Arrow units around the nation, Reuters quoted a high-level defense source as saying. Israel placed the system on active duty in 2000 as a means of eliminating enemy missiles at heights that could safely burn up any WMD materials carried onboard.

"It is part of the technological race in the region," the source said of the new development.

The Arrow was developed with support from the United States, particularly defense contractor Boeing. The weapon could also benefit Israel's longtime ally, the official said.

"The policy of the (Israeli) Ministry of Defense is to provide all data to the U.S., for the security of the U.S., including on targets, interceptors, radars and command and control," according to the source (Dan Williams, Reuters, Aug. 5).

August 6, 2012
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Israel has made enhancements to its Arrow 2 antimissile technology, the Associated Press quoted a Defense Ministry source as saying on Sunday.

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