Arrow 3, Iron Dome: What's next in Israel's missile interception strategy?

Updated: Jan 20, 2022, 04:49 PM(IST)

Israel successfully test-fired the US-built Arrow 3 anti-ballistic missile system this week which it said achieved a number of 'breakthrough' capabilities.

US-built Arrow 3 anti-ballistic missile

Israel successfully fired US-built Arrow 3 anti-ballistic missile system this week which it said achieved  a number of “breakthrough” capabilities.

Israel said it can be used by the Air Force as the tests were conducted in central Israel with two Arrow 3 interceptors being fired.

“The operational radar arrays of the Arrow system detected the target and sent the data to the fire management system, which analyzed the data and fully plotted the interception," Israel's defence ministry said.


Hunt for Arrow 4

The two interceptors apparently had two different missions, according to the Israeli defence force with two different flight paths being given to reach the same target as the two missiles were launched simultaneously.

The defence ministry said it is working on Arrow 4 system. The new launch was conducted amid tensions with Iran which said it has carried out a new space launch sparking concern in Washington which said such moves show the need to revive a 2015 nuclear deal.

Tehran had successfully put its first military satellite into orbit in April 2020, drawing a sharp rebuke from the United States.


Iran's missile programme

Western governments worry that satellite launch systems incorporate technologies interchangeable with those used in ballistic missiles capable of delivering a nuclear warhead.

Iran insists its space programme is for civilian and defence purposes only, and does not breach the nuclear deal or any other international agreement.

Iran's state broadcaster aired footage of a rocket rising from a desert launchpad, but gave no details of its location.

The Fars news agency had said earlier that Iran will mount an anti-missile system on the turrets of T-72M tanks to protect them from attack.

Last month Iran had fired several missiles from land and sea as part of the five-day exercise.


Israel's defence shield

Israel's new version of its "Iron Dome" defence shield has the capability of intercepting drones, missiles and rockets simultaneously.

In service for nearly a decade to protect Israel from rocket fire from the Gaza Strip and Lebanon, Iron Dome is credited with helping Israel to maintain military supremacy over its neighbours.

Iron Dome was formally selected as Israel's missile defence system in 2007, the same year the Islamist group Hamas took control of the Gaza Strip.

It was originally designed to intercept rockets and artillery shells fired from a range of four to 70 kilometres (three to 45 miles).

The Israeli Air Force has operated it since 2011, thwarting hundreds of rocket attacks from Gaza and Syria.


SMASH Dragon

Israel's "Smart Shooter" manufacturer unveiled an armed drone system to hit stationary and moving targets while flying named SMASH Dragon.

The system can be hosted in drones and ariel platforms. It reportedly has computer vision. The company which has manufactured the new weapon system said that it has conducted live fire tests.

The new system can shoot down targets on the ground, sea and air. The system can be controlled from a distance while being mounted on an unmanned aerial platforms.

The new system is equipped with "one shot – one hit" capability which provides a significant advantage to infantry soldiers.


Interception strategy

According to reports, Israel has also used the defence system against Iranian missiles fired by Iran from Syria.

The Israeli government has installed the system in cities as a ground-based installation used to shoot down short-range missiles. Reports say each battery of the dome costs approximately $100 million with missiles costing $50,000.

Israeli authorities began seriously looking for an "interception strategy" during the second Lebanon war in 2006 when rocket attacks killed several citizens.

The Iron Dome was developed the following year to deter any "short range threat" which has been used extensively since then.


Smash 2000 Plus for India

Smart Shooter’s Smash family is use with militaries across the world including India, Israel and the US. In December 2020, India had ordered Smash 2000 Plus fire control systems.

The equipment was set to be incorporated into the Indian Navy for operation with AK-47 and AK-103 assault rifles, reports said.

The manufacturer Smart Shooter had claimed that ‘Smash 2000 Plus' complies with the Indian needs and can significantly improve soldiers' accuracy and speed of hitting targets and shooting down threats.

The Smash Dragon can incorporate various types of assault rifles, sniper rifles and other ammunition.



Just days after the Pulwama attack in February 2019, at the Aero India show in Bangalore Israeli defence technology company, Rafael Advanced Defense Systems showcased the new air-to-surface missile known as the “Rocks".

“Equipped with either penetration or blast fragmentation warhead, the missile can destroy above-ground or well-defended underground targets in heavily surface-to-air-defended areas,” the company said in a statement.

India officials later revealed after the airstrikes on Balakot in Pakistan that Israeli-made "smart bombs" were used to strike JeM targets on February 26th. The missiles were called "Spice 2000".

[Image: The Israel Aerospace Industries new Mini-Harpy kamikaze drone, which was unveiled at the Aero India trade show in Bangalore, India, in February 2019. (Source: Israel Aerospace Industries)]


Pre-fed with the GPS coordinates

The Israeli "Spice bomb" was pre-fed with the GPS coordinates on JeM terror camps in Balakot. The bombs are precision-guided, one that can automatically match the target and destroy it.

Israel and India have had strong defence ties, however, in the past, most of the military assistance was covert. 

In fact, during the Kargil war in 1999, Israel was the first country to extend military assistance to India, Tel Aviv had supplied the Indian troops with ammunition and mortar.

Similar help was extended during the 1971 Indo-Pak war as well. 

(Image: An Israeli Air Force Mk 84 Bomb Spice 2000 by Rafael is presented to the journalists at the Tel Nof Air Force base.)


Israel drone industry's secret weapon

In a fierce battle for market share against world superpowers China and the United States, Israel's drone industry likes to say it has a secret weapon - military experience.

The senior echelons of the country's industry are populated by former military and intelligence officials, many of whom became founders or engineers in local startups.


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