Israel Aerospace Industries (IAI) has begun preliminary tests of its new Arrow-3 anti-ballistic missile system.
The company will not specify what tests were performed, but they are part of the preparations for a full fly-out test, which will be followed – probably next year – by an intercept test.
The name Arrow-3 is misleading, as this is not an upgraded version of the Arrow-2, but a totally new interceptor using kinetic kill instead of proximity warhead detonation as in the operational Arrow-2.
Israeli sources said that the Arrow-3 will be the most advanced ballistic missiles interceptor in the world. They said that the missile will be “very energetic” and that this energy will be used to give the missile “super-manoeuvrability” so it will be capable of changing its trajectory to engage another target detected after launch.
The sources said that the Arrow-3 will be deployed parallel to the Arrow-2. The type that will be launched will be determined by the fire-control system.
The need for a longer-range kinetic-kill interceptor stems from the threat that is posed now from Scud-type missiles with a 400-600 km range, which Syria deploys, and missiles with a 2000 km range, such as the Iranian Shihab-type missiles.
The Arrow-3 will be the additional layer in the Israeli multi-layered defence system built to protect the country from rockets and missiles.
Israeli sources say that some countries are showing interest in the Arrow system. The US has to approve any export of the system as it participated in funding its development.