Story of the Arrow Weapon System

"I had the honor,  during my term of office as
Minister  of  Defense,  in  the  National  Unity
Government,  to  vote  in  favor   of   Israel's
participation     in     the    strategic    defense
initiative... introduced by President Reagan..."

(The late Yitzhak Rabin, Prime Minister of Israel)

Yitzhak Rabin

1988. The American government invited the State of Israel to join the strategic defense initiative to protect against the threat of Theater Ballistic Missiles. The MLM division of Israel Aircraft Industries (IAI) leads the effort in Israel.

1990. The first Arrow test was carried out, but initial tests failed.
The Gulf War. Iraqi attacks utilizing Theater Ballistic Missiles caught Israel unprepared -- not just Israel, but also the United States and all of the western nations. The feeling of helplessness thrust the Arrow straight to the top of Israel's national priorities.

The Israel Missile Defense Organization (IMDO), part of the Research and Development Directorate in the Ministry of Defense Office, was established to be responsible for coordinating industrial activities involved in the development of a National Defense System based on the Arrow and other sub-systems.

Arrow Demonstration TestJune 12, 1994. During an Arrow Demonstration Test (ATD1), a target missile was launched from a ship in the middle of the Mediterranean Sea.

A few minutes later the Arrow Interceptor was launched towards this target missile. The Arrow 1 test interceptor completed its mission and the test range cameras recorded the historic encounter.

At the same time development began on additional Arrow Weapon System components.

The MLM Division of IAI developed the new operational interceptor - the Arrow 2, as well as the operational launcher and the Launch Control Center, "Hazelnut Tree".

ELTA Division of IAI developed the system's "GREEN PINE" Fire & Control Radar.

TADIRAN Electronics Systems Ltd. developed the "CITRON TREE" Fire BMC3I Center (Battle Management Command, Control, Communication & Intelligence Center).

All of these components were gradually integrated in a series of tests.

August 1995, February 1996. Two Arrow Weapon Tests (IIT#21 and IIT#22) were conducted, testing the Arrow 2 operational interceptor: smaller, faster and more lethal.

August 1996 (AIT#21) and again in March 1997 (AIT#22): Interception tests were held. In both, the Arrow proved its capability to intercept and destroy a ballistic target.

August 1997. Another interception test was conducted (AIT#23), but aborted due to a fault in the interceptor. The irregularity was corrected to ensure the success of the next test.

A series of full system configuration tests began in order to prove that the entire system could work in harmony.

September 14, 1998. The first full system test took place (AST#3). All system elements successfully countered a computer-simulated threat.

November 29, 1998. MLM delivered the first operational Arrow 2 interceptor to the IMDO. Since then MLM has continued the regular supply of additional interceptors which are integrated in the operational Arrow batteries.

November 1, 1999. A full system interception test was conducted (AST#4) in order to examine its ability to locate and intercept a ballistic target. The target missile - simulating a SCUD, was launched from mid-sea.

Arrow Demonstration TestThe system's radar located the target missile, tracked it, and transferred the threat data to the BMC3I Center. The BMC3I Center analyzed the threat data and established a defense plan against the rapidly approaching threat. The launch command was issued from the BMC3I Center to the Launch Control Center and from there to the launcher.

An operational Arrow interceptor was launched at just the right moment, and accelerated toward its target. The system remained in constant communication with the interceptor, until the target was destroyed.

The success of the test, proving operational capability at the macro-system level, constituted a major piece in the "wall of defense" being built.

March 14, 2000. Rollout ceremony for the first operational battery of the Arrow Weapon System, delivered to the Israeli Air Force.

Arrow Weapon System"This  is a great  day for  the Air  Defense  Forces, for the Air Force, the  defense  establishment and, I would say, for the State of Israel.

As  of  today,  we  have  completed  the  acceptance  of  the  only weapon  system  of  its  kind in the  entire world. We are the first-to  succeed  in  developing ,  building  and  operating  a defense system against Ballistic Missiles".

(Major General Eitan Ben-Eliyahu, Israeli Air-Force)

September 14, 2000. In a system test (AST#5) a production Arrow 2 interceptor destroyed a "Black Sparrow" target missile fired toward Israel.

October 17, 2000. The first Arrow battery was declared operational by the Israeli Air Force.

February 2001. Joint U.S. and Israeli exercise further demonstrated the ability of the US and the Israeli missile defense forces to interoperate.

October 2002. Israel's second Arrow anti-ballistic missile battery completed its deployment and turned operational. This battery was linked to the first Arrow battery and the combination created a much larger anti-ballistic missile shield for the State of Israel, with improved effectiveness.

January 5, 2003. A full system test was successfully conducted (AST#8), examining the system's capabilities in a continuous launching scenario and the interceptor's performance under special flight conditions.

January 2003. A joint US-Israel air and ballistic missiles defense exercise was held, testing the integration of U.S. made PATRIOT batteries and the Arrow batteries. This long-planned exercise was part of a routine cycle to validate interoperability of Israeli and U.S. air defense systems.

February 11, 2003. Israel Aircraft Industries and Boeing signed an agreement to establish a production infrastructure to manufacture components of the IAI-developed Arrow missile in the United States. The co-production agreement followed a strategic teaming agreement signed between the two companies. Following successful implementation of this contract, Boeing is responsible for production of about 50% of the Arrow missile components in the United States. IAI, the prime contractor of the Arrow system, is responsible for integration and the final assembly of the Arrow missile in Israel.

December 16, 2003. Another successful test of the complete system was held (AST#9), testing its ability to intercept and destroy incoming missiles at significantly high altitudes.

July 29, 2004. A joint Israel – United States flight test (USFT#1) was successfully performed at the Point Mugu Sea Range in California. This was the first full-scale test conducted in the United States, a test that could not have been performed in Israel due to test range safety restrictions. The realistic test scenario consisted of a target representing a possible threat in the Middle Eastern arena.

August 26, 2004. The second test (USTF#2) was conducted at the Point Mugu Sea Range in California. This test included a special target and was aimed to collect engineering information. The test was only partially successful due to a malfunction in the Arrow interceptor at the final interception stage.

March – April, 2005. Another joint US-Israel air and ballistic missiles defense exercise was held, the third in a series of increasingly demanding operational exercises that test the extent of coordination between the two nations' air defense systems. In this extensive exercise, U.S. Army-operated Patriot units joined forces with Patriot and Arrow batteries operated by the Israel Air Force to examine Israel's two-layer missile defense network in various defense scenarios.

December 2, 2005. The ninth test of the complete Weapon System (AST#10) was conducted, further demonstrating the system's improved performance.

Today many countries that possess ballistic missiles are also seeking to develop unconventional capability for their TBMs. This presents a serious threat to population centers and important strategic assets all over the world. The Arrow Weapon System is the first operational ATBM system in the world developed specifically to defend against Theater Ballistic Missiles.