The Arrow 3 is a joint development project funded and produced by Israel and the United States between Israel Aerospace Industries Ltd. and Boeing.
The Israeli Ministry of Defense and the U.S. Missile Defense Agency supervise the Arrow 3 project.
The Arrow 3 system uses anti-ballistic missiles designed to fulfill Israel's desire for a theater missile defense system that would be more effective against ballistic missiles than the United States-supplied MIM-104 Patriot surface-to-air missile system, built by Raytheon.
The MIM-104 Patriot is the U.S. Army's primary High-to-Medium Air Defense system and serves the U.S. Army's anti-ballistic missile system. The Patriot systems supplied to Israel were used for defense against Iraqi SCUD missiles during the 1991 Gulf War. Israel has pressed the development of the Arrow 3 to supplement its MIM-104 Patriot deployments.
Six months ago Israel's Ministry of Defense announced that Israel air force air and missile defenses were to be combined and reorganized for better defense for the country. Under the doctrine the integrated, multilayered, active defense will be run by a centralized interception management center, which will also provide the common air defense data in real time that will enables aircraft and interceptor missiles to safely coexist in Israel's constricted airspace.
The two-stage Arrow 3 has been specifically designed to counter Iran's Shahab intermediate range ballistic missiles and future threats, Globes business newspaper reported. The Arrow 3 is capable of intercepting salvos of incoming missiles rather than just single missiles outside the Earth's atmosphere. Test parameters indicate an Arrow 3 battery is expected to intercept salvos of more than five missiles within 30 seconds.
The Arrow interceptor system consists of integrating the hypersonic Arrow 3 missiles with the Elta EL/M-2080 early warning AESA radar, the Tadiran Telecom C3I center and the IAI's launch control center.
The Arrow 3 has twice the range, but only half the weight, of the Arrow 2 missile. The Arrow 3 receives a continuous stream of targeting data from optical sensors and the second-stage terminal booster has its own engine, giving it enhanced maneuverability.
"We are excited to see the first flight test of the whole system. We are still in the development phase and testing new capabilities to stay a step ahead of future threats in cooperation with Boeing and the U.S. Missile Defense Agency," IAI MLM division Arrow program director Itzhak Kaya said.
Chairman of Israel's space agency retired air force Maj. Gen. Itzik Ben-Israel said Israel is considering upgrading the Arrow 3 to be have an anti-satellite capability along with the option of installing it on Israeli navy surface ships.