Arrow-3, a missile-defense system capable of destroying targets in space, codeveloped by Israel Aerospace Industries and Boeing, has officially entered service, according to Jerusalem.
The Israeli Air Force announced that the Arrow-3, its newest missile defense system, has officially entered service. The first round of Arrow-3 installations has been delivered to the air force’s Aerial Defense Array. US Air Force Brig. Gen. William Cooley joined Israeli Ministry of Defense representatives in a ceremony marking the delivery.
“Arrow-3 is the result of many years of development efforts, based on a solution designed by Israeli Aerospace Industries, which have today come to fruition,” said Boaz Levi, Israel Aerospace Industries vice president and general manager of the Systems, Missiles & Space Group. “This is a milestone for the Israel’s Defense Establishment, and for Israel’s defense industries.”
Arrow-3 will complement its lower-range predecessor, Arrow-2, and a short-range missile-defense system known as the Iron Dome. The new missile has half the weight of an Arrow-2, and, according to Israeli newspaper Haaretz, offers users better “control and monitoring abilities while also expanding radar detection range.”
Arrow-3 is reported as being able to destroy targets as high as 62 miles, the boundary of outer space, also known as the Karman line. When the missile reaches the desired altitude, its warhead splits into individual ‘kamikaze satellites’ that can track and destroy targets, including long-range and intercontinental missiles. If an Arrow-3 fails, the shorter-range and lower-altitude Arrow-2 will serve as a backup. However, it is unclear whether Arrow-3 can actually hit a satellite, since ‘low orbit’ begins at the altitude of about 100 miles.
According to public data, since 2008, the United States has contributed almost $600 million to the development of the Arrow-3. In September 2016, the US and Israel signed a 10-year military-aid deal assuring Israel $5 billion in missile-defense funding from the fiscal year 2019 through the fiscal year 2028, according to Defense News.