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Israeli Arrow 3 Air Defense System Achieves First Successful Interception of Long-Range Missile

On November 9, 2023, the Israeli Ministry of Defense announced a significant milestone in air defense capabilities with the successful interception of a long-range ballistic missile over the Red Sea using the advanced Arrow 3 air defense missile system.
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Israeli MoD and the U.S. Missile Defense Agency (MDA) conducted a successful first engagement of a ballistic missile target with the Arrow-3 interceptor on December 10, 2015. (Picture source U.S. DoD)

This event marks the first operational achievement for theArrow 3 since its induction into service in 2017, showcasing its exclusive combat capabilities and underlining the importance of a highly efficient air defense network for the Israeli Defense Forces.

The Arrow 3 is an exo-atmospheric missile, uniquely designed for long-range interception and capable of traversing the lower layers of space during its trajectory. This capability allows it to engage threats at higher altitudes and longer ranges compared to traditional missile defense systems. The recent intercept involved neutralizing a missile launched from Yemen, attributed to the Houthi forces. This interception is particularly significant as it demonstrates the Arrow 3's ability to effectively counter long-range threats, a critical factor considering the Houthis' attempts to align with Hamas and impact Israel's military focus on Gaza.

The necessity for an efficient air defense network for Israel has become increasingly evident due to the recent escalation of rocket and missile attacks against Israeli territory. These attacks, often originating from hostile neighboring regions, pose a significant threat to the nation's security and civilian population. The Arrow 3 system, with its advanced radar and detection capabilities, plays a crucial role in identifying and neutralizing these threats, thereby providing a strategic defense layer that is vital for Israel's national security.

In a landmark deal, Israel finalized the sale of the Arrow 3 missile-defense system to Germany for $3.5 billion in August, following approval from the U.S. This agreement stands as Israel's largest-ever defense export, underscoring the system's strategic importance and advanced technological capabilities.

Earlier this month, the Israeli military reported the successful interception of an Ayyash 250 missile by the Arrow 2 air defense missile system. Launched by Hamas from Gaza towards Eilat in southern Israel, this event represented the Arrow 2 system's inaugural operational intercept, further demonstrating the robustness of Israel's multi-layered air defense strategy. This strategy, which includes the Iron Dome, David's Sling, and the Arrow systems, is crucial in providing a comprehensive shield against a variety of aerial threats, ranging from short-range rockets to long-range ballistic missiles, ensuring the safety and security of the Israeli population.

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