Israel is accelerating development of its high-altitude Arrow 3 antiballistic missile system amid concerns over Iran's nuclear program.
"We're thinking mostly about the nuclear threat," Col. Aviram Hasson, who heads the project, said on Monday without mentioning any details on the speed up process. "We want to reach a situation in which Israel has a ready defense for any threat, present or future."
Meanwhile, Israel is anxious after the U.S published classified plans for a heavily protected underground facility that would include four Arrow launch sites.
"If an enemy of Israel wanted to launch an attack against a facility, this would give him an easy how-to guide," one Israel officer complained. "This more than worrying, it's shocking."
Israeli officials have said that the project for some time is aimed at boosting the missile's range and operational altitude to knock out hostile ballistic missiles, carrying either nuclear or conventional warheads, outside Earth's atmosphere to minimize fallout.
The shorter-range Arrow 2 variant currently in service with the Israeli air force, which has responsibility for missile defense, can intercept a ballistic missile at a much lower altitude, in the last phase of the missile's trajectory.
Israel officials recently conducted a successful flight test for Arrow 3 from the Palmachim air force base, south of Tel Aviv although it did not involve an actual interception.
Arrow 3, which IAI is developing with U.S. aerospace giant Boeing Co., is slated to become operational in 2015-16.
It has a range of 1,500 miles, far greater than that of the Arrow 2 variant now in service.
Once the Arrow 3 breaks free of the Earth's atmosphere, the interceptor breaks away from the launch vehicle and carries out a series of maneuvers in space as it locks onto its target, then rams it in a head-on collision.
Weighing less than half the Arrow 2, Arrow 3 does not need to know the exact location of the target missile when it is launched. It locates the incoming missile once it's in space.
The United States has pledged $250 million toward Israel's acquisition of four Arrow 3 batteries and is expected, despite U.S. defense budget cutbacks, to provide $680 million for a further four batteries.
Future batteries are expected to hold more interceptors than the current models, which will make them more expensive.
Two Arrow 2 batteries provide the top level of a three-tier Israeli missile defense shield that includes the short-range Iron Dome system, built by Israel's Rafael Advanced Defense Systems, and the medium-range David's Sling weapon being developed by Rafael and Raytheon.
Arrow 3 will become the top layer once it's operational. The theory is that whatever missiles get past its interceptors will be destroyed by the lower-altitude Arrow 2s.
Israel has cancelled test of its Arrow 3 antimissile interceptor for the second time in just over a month, citing a communications malfunction. The similar trial of Israels advanced missile defence system was planned in December 2017, but was called off over safety concerns
The Israeli Ministry of Defense (MoD) canceled a test of the Arrow 3 missile, designed to adapt the system to precision targeting missiles being developed by Iran, following the malfunction of a target missile. The trial which was planned to take place Monday from the Palmachim base, but was cancelled because of a malfunction in the Sparrow target missile designed to resemble an enemy missile,
The Israeli Defense Ministry has successfully tested on locking on a missile target from space using its Arrow-3 anti-ballistic missile defense system jointly developed with the US. "We can confirm a complete success this morning (Thursday)," said Yair Ramati, of the Defense Ministrys Administration for the Development of Weapons
Iran is reported to have successfully tested two ballistic missiles yesterday, which has long been a source of concern for Western nations, according to IRNA news agency. "The new generation of ballistic missile with a fragmentation warhead, and a Bina laser-guided surface-to-surface and air-to-surface missile, have been successfully tested," Defence Minister Hossein Dehgan said
Iran is planning to induce changes in the indigenously built Sayyad 2 air-defense missile system, to be mounted on under-construction Mowj-class vessels. "We can concurrently dispatch two fleets of warships in opposite directions to the east and west of the Indian Ocean and we have done this before and enjoy the technical capability to carry out such missions whenever necessary," Iran Navy Operations Lieutenant Commander Admiral Siyavash Jarreh was quoted by Fars News
Israel and the United States successfully launched the Arrow-3 anti-ballistic missile system over the Mediterranean today, a ministry statement said. A joint missile test was carried out, as US Secretary of State John Kerry pushed for a Middle East peace deal
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