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Arrow 3 air defense system notches first successful intercept


Jul 10, 2017
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Arrow 3 air defense system notches first successful intercept

"The interceptor effectively intercepted a target launched towards Israel in the Red Sea region," the IDF said in a statement about the Arrow 3's first successful intercept.​

By SETH J. FRANTZMANon November 09, 2023 at 6:28 PM

MDA photo

An Israeli Arrow-3 interceptor is launched from the US test range in Alaska. (MDA photo)
JERUSALEM — Israel’s Arrow 3 air defense system today successfully intercepted a missile headed towards Israel, marking the first combat intercept for the system, Israel Ministry of Defense and Israel Defense Forces announced this evening.
“Israeli Air Defense Array soldiers successfully launched an ‘Arrow 3’ interceptor operationally for the first time this evening. The interceptor effectively intercepted a target launched towards Israel in the Red Sea region,” the IDF said in a statement. (Although not stated by the IDF, that likely means the incoming weapon was launched from Houthi militants in Yemen.)
The intercept “marks the Arrow 3 system’s first operational interception since its operational deployment in 2017,” the IDF added.
The Arrow system, produced by Israel Aerospace Industries, is the top tier of Israel’s multi-layered integrated air defenses, focused on incoming ballistic missiles. Arrow-3 is the most advanced variant currently in service; the Arrow-2 had its first successful intercept on Oct. 31. the Arrow 3 system was recently sold to Germany as Berlin sought a solution to threats in the wake of the conflict in Ukraine. Israel announced it was working on an Arrow 4 system to build on the success of Arrow 3 in 2021.
The middle tier includes the David’s Sling air defense system, which was also jointly developed with the US. The David’s Sling is similar to the Patriot system, which Israel has also used during this war. (A Patriot was also used today to intercept another incoming threat.) Rafael Advanced Defense Systems is the primary contractor on David’s Sling, which has been sold to Finland.

In addition, Israel successfully notched an airborne air defense kill when it used F-35 Joint Strike Fighters to shoot down a cruise missile last week.
The lower tier of the air defenses in Israel is taken up by the Iron Dome system, also produced by Rafael, which is the workhorse of Israel’s air defenders. According to IDF figures released earlier today, Iron Dome has intercepted 2,000 incoming threats to Israel since the Oct. 7 assault by Hamas that killed over 1,400 Israelis.
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Over 9,500 rockets have been fired from Gaza since Hamas since Oct. 7, per IDF figures.Generally, only threats heading for urban areas are intercepted; The IDF estimates 12 percent of incoming rockets misfire and fall back into Gaza, while many more hit open areas in Israel. Most missiles and rockets from Gaza reach a range of around 40 miles, though Hamas does have a limited arsenal of missiles able to stretch more than 100 miles.
Not everything coming from outside Israel is being successfully intercepted, however. On Thursday, a drone alleged to be from Yemen struck a school in Eilat, the city where roughly 60,000 Israelis who evacuated communities near Gaza and the northern border have been evacuated to hotels.
The Iran-backed Houthis have carried out several attacks on Israel since the start of the Gaza conflict, involving cruise missiles, ballistic missiles and drones. On Wednesday, the Houthis successfully downed a US drone, and in response the US carried out airstrikes in Syria. Iranian-backed militias in Iraq and Syria have also targeted US forces in more than 40 attacks since Oct. 7, according to the Pentagon.
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