Israel’s Air Force utilized the ‘Arrow 3’ air defense system to intercept a missile launched at Eilat by Houthis in Yemen. This marks the first-ever use of the system, coming after the successful use of the ‘Arrow 2’ for the same purpose last week, which was also a historic instance of combat outside Earth’s atmosphere.
The ‘Arrow 3’ system, developed by Israel Aerospace Industries, is an advanced air defense system designed to intercept ballistic missiles in space. In August, Israel announced a NIS 14 billion deal to sell the system to Germany, the largest defense deal in Israel’s history. This sale followed Germany’s decision to upgrade its defenses following Russia’s invasion of Ukraine.
Israel Aerospace Industries President and CEO Boaz Levy emphasized the strategic significance of Israel’s multi-layered response to long-term ballistic threats. The ‘Arrow 3’ system does not use explosives, relying on interception for damage, unlike the Arrow 2, which uses a warhead with an explosive charge.
The Arrow system represents Israel’s top tier of air defense for long-range missile interception. In addition, the ‘David’s Sling’ system, similar to the US-made Patriot system, is used for medium-range threats. Israel also utilizes the better-known Iron Dome system, integrated with the Arrow and David’s Sling, to intercept rockets and missiles from threats like Hamas and the Iran-backed Houthis in Yemen.
Israel’s air defense forces have integrated these three systems, developed over decades, to effectively respond to various threats. It also involves using F-35 airplanes to combat cruise missiles as part of its comprehensive defense strategy.
In 2021, Israel and the US began developing the Arrow 4 to build on the success of the previous Arrow systems. These air defense efforts are crucial for Israel’s security in the face of ongoing regional threats.