Israel “Arrow” Series Homeland High Altitude Defense System

Arrow missile defence system

The Arrow is a family of anti-ballistic missiles designed to fulfill an Israeli requirement for a missile defense system that would be more effective against ballistic missiles than the MIM-104 Patriot surface-to-air missile. Jointly funded and produced by Israel and the United States, development of the system began in 1986

It has been 20 years Israel operating Aerrow series missile defence system.

​Israel’s “Arrow” series of high-altitude defense systems. Not only that, but the system is also one of the world’s first high-altitude anti-tactical ballistic missile defense weapon systems deployed in actual combat. The development of the missile system has been started since 1986, and has received a large amount of funds and technical assistance from the United States, which means that it will do technical verification of similar systems for the United States. In the early stage of development, some sources said that 80% of the funds required for the development were provided by the United States.

Arrow 3 anti ballistic missile
Arrow missile defence system

For more than half a century, Israel has experienced too many disputes, and has worked hard to protect its hard-won territory. The surrounding countries such as Syria and Saudi Arabia have also successively obtained tactical ballistic missile systems, which makes the Israelis even more restless.

Development and Deployment

In 1990, the first member of the “Arrow” series, the “Arrow-1” air defense missile was born. The “Arrow-1” missile was mainly used as an experimental technical verification property. During the period from 1990 to 1993, the “Arrow-1” missile. “The missile was launched more than 10 times on multiple platforms on land and at sea, and only 2 to 3 launches were successful. The Israelis were not discouraged, however, and Iraq fired 39 Scud short-range ballistic missiles at Tel Aviv, Israel, in the 1991 Gulf War, injuring people. Although the United States deployed the “Patriot” surface-to-air missile system in Israel for interception and achieved certain results, Israel believes that there are still many shortcomings. The Gulf War prompted Israel to accelerate the research process of the “Arrow” system. Due to the bulky size and poor maneuverability of the Arrow-1 missile, the Israelis decided to overturn the previous design and make a lot of optimizations and improvements to the Arrow missile design.

In 1994, the first redesigned “Arrow” missile, the “Arrow-2”, was born. Compared with the “Arrow-1” missile, the “Arrow-2” missile mainly made three improvements. First, the size was reduced. , the total length is reduced from 10 meters to 7 meters; the second is to change the simple infrared seeker of the “Arrow-1” missile to an infrared + active radar composite seeker, which greatly improves the hit rate; the third is to upgrade the power section, the missile range Increased to twice the “Arrow-1” missile. On July 30, 1995, the first flight test of the “Arrow 2” missile was successful, and several flight tests were carried out successively, which accumulated data and provided a verification system for the next interception target missile test.

On August 20, 1996, the first successful interception test of the “Arrow 2” missile system was carried out. In the second flight test, the missile successfully intercepted the “Arrow 1” missile with a radar cross-section and payload similar to the “Scud” missile for the first time. In the following years, the “Arrow 2” missile carried out many The second interception test of ballistic missiles and rockets fully tested the performance of the “Arrow 2” missile.

On March 14, 2000, Israel announced the official start of the deployment of the Arrow 2 missile defense system.

The “Arrow 2” system consists of missile launch trailers, early warning and fire control radars, combat management, and command, control, and communication systems. It can protect an area with a radius of 100 kilometers. The initial defense capability of the system is a ballistic trajectory with a range of 1,500 kilometers. missile.

Arrow 2 interceptor
Arrow 2 interceptor

The interceptor projectile is 6.95 meters long, 800 mm in diameter, 2,500 kilograms in launch mass, and has a 50-meter killing radius of the directional fragmentation warhead. In the initial and middle stages of the flight, inertial + command correction guidance is used, and indium arsenide focal plane array infrared imaging seeker and active radar seeker dual-mode guidance is used in the final stage. Active radar seeker is used for low-altitude interception, and infrared guidance is used for high-altitude interception. lead.

The power system is a two-stage solid rocket propulsion, and each stage adopts thrust vector control technology. The first stage is 3.45 meters long and 0.8 meters in diameter; the second stage is 0.75 meters long. After adding the killer, the length reaches 2.76 meters and the mass is 500 kilograms.

The second-stage ignition of the “Arrow 2” interceptor can be delayed, so that the interceptor can use a period of inertia between the first and second stages to conduct low-altitude interception through four movable canard rudders, with a minimum interception height of 10 kilometers. After the secondary engine is turned off, the speed of the killer reaches 2.5 kilometers per second, and the highest interception altitude that can be achieved is 90 kilometers, demonstrating that the interceptor has a double-layer interception capability in the atmosphere.

The design of the killer is direct collision killing. If it cannot be achieved, a near-explosive fuze can be used to detect and guide the fragmentation warhead to fly to the target.

The “Arrow 2” interceptor launch vehicle adopts the L3 type trailer of Israel Aerospace Industries (IAI) company. The launch vehicle can be used on secondary roads and has strong mobile combat capabilities. The launch box is equipped with 6 “Arrow 2” interceptors, which are thermally launched. A target can be intercepted by up to 3 “Arrow 2” interceptors, and the reloading time is 1 hour. The launch vehicle is deployed separately from the fire control center, with a maximum distance of 100 kilometers.


The green pine radar produced by Elta Company undertakes the long-range search, capture and fire control tasks of the missile. The radar is an L-band radar, 1GHz to 2GHz. The Green Pine Radar is a transportable system consisting of a solid-state active antenna array, power supply equipment, cooling equipment and communication equipment. The radar can scan and pitch in all directions, and can track dozens of targets simultaneously with a detection range of 500 kilometers. According to reports, the Green Pine Radar can track targets at speeds of up to 3 km/s and can guide interceptors to 4 meters away from the target.

Green Pine ELM-2080 ELM-2080S fire control radar Arrow missile
Green Pine ELM-2080 ELM-2080S fire control radar Arrow missile
Super Green Pine

An advanced version of the radar, called “Super Green Pine”, is to take the place of the original “Green Pine. As of 2008 both versions were active. The “Super Green Pine” extends detection range to about 800–900 km (500–560 mi). An even more advanced upgrade of the Super Green Pine is under development.

Further development

​The Israelis have not stopped here, and are still continuously improving the “Arrow 2” missile. The latest is the “Arrow 2” Block-5. The “Arrow 2” Block-5 has the ability to coordinate command with the data link, and can even be controlled by the “Arrow 2”. The AN/TPY-2 radar of the US THAAD system and the Aegis command on the US Navy destroyer.

Arrow 2 and Arrow 3 missile
Arrow 2 and Arrow 3 missile

In 2008, Israel also launched the development of the “Arrow 3” missile. The size of the “Arrow 3” missile has been further reduced, and the interception range has been raised to the outside of the atmosphere. It has anti-satellite capabilities and will develop a carrier-based model. Arrow 3 missiles provided hundreds of millions of dollars in financial support.

Arrow 3 operates at greater speeds, greater range and at greater altitudes than Arrow 2, intercepting ballistic missiles during the space-flight portion of their trajectory. According to the chairman of the Israeli Space Agency, Arrow 3 may serve as an anti-satellite weapon, which would make Israel one of the world’s few countries capable of shooting down satellites.

On Jan 20, 2022, Israel completes the final test of Arrow 3 missile defence system.

Future development

Israel’s Defense Ministry and industry developers have begun early work on what could evolve into the Arrow 4, a new missile-intercepting system to defend against much more sophisticated future threats. Boaz Levy, IAI executive vice president, said it was probably too early to call the effort Arrow 4. Nevertheless, he acknowledged that ongoing design studies are aimed at a future interceptor that will extend capabilities beyond Arrow 2 and Arrow 3.

In early 2021 Israel revealed that the development of the Arrow 4 interceptor was ongoing and that the system was targeting the interception of hypersonic threats such as hypersonic cruise missiles and hypersonic glide vehicles.

Leave a Reply