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Arrow TMD

Israel began work on a potential theater missile defense (TMD) system in 1986, with the signing of a Memorandum of Understanding (MOU) with the United States. While the threat posed by ballistic missiles has been a concern for Israel since the mid-1980s, Iraqi ballistic missile attacks during the Gulf War underscored the danger posed by the buildup of missile technology in the region. Given the lack of available Israeli resources for TMD development, the United States agreed to co-fund and co-develop an indigenously-produced Israeli TMD system. In 1988, the US and Israel began what was to evolve into a three-phase program to develop the ARROW series of Anti-Tactical Ballistic Missiles (ATBMs).

The entire anti-tactical ballistic missile project is called Homa. Arrow is intended to satisfy the Israeli requirement for an interceptor for defense of military assets and population centers and will support US technology base requirements for new advanced anti-tactical ballistic missile technologies that could be incorporated into the US theater missile defense systems. The Arrow Weapon System (AWS) consists of the Arrow II interceptor, the mobile launcher, the Fire Control Radar, the Fire Control Center, and the Launcher Control Center. The AWS is mobile and transportable. The Arrow 2 system can detect and track incoming missiles as far way as 500 km and can intercept missiles 50-90 km away [some sources suggest the engagement range is 16 to 48km].

The Arrow missile is a long-range interceptor that offers the United States technology infusion, including lethality data; development of optical window technology applicable to both THAAD and Navy Area Defense programs; data from stage separation at high velocities and dynamic pressures; and, interoperability development that will allow synergistic operations of Arrow with US TMD systems, if required in future contingencies.

The Arrow 2 uses a terminally-guided interceptor warhead to destroy an incoming missile from its launch at an altitude of 10 to 40km at nine times the speed of sound. The Arrow II interceptor is capable of intercepting and destroying short- and medium-range ballistic missiles in the mid and high endo-atmosphere. The Arrow II interceptor missile is a two-staged vehicle launched from a six-pack mobile launcher. The missile contains solid rocket propellant with a hazard classification of 1.3 in the booster. The interceptor contains a focused blast fragmentation warhead to eliminate incoming missiles. The Arrow II interceptor is not hit-to-kill. It is controlled through aerodynamic and thrust vector control and contains a FTS. Since the missile does not need to directly hit the target -- detonation within 40-50 meters is sufficient to disable an incoming warhead.

The Citron Tree battle management center, built by Tadiran, guides the Arrow 2 interceptor, developed by Israel Aircraft Industries' MLM Division. The fire control radar is L-Band phased array radar with search, acquisition, track, and fire control function configured in four vehicles (power, cooling, electronics, and antenna). The fire control radar is towable, using range-supplied vehicles on improved roads.

The fire control center is a mobile shelter in which all the battle management, command and control, communications, and intelligence functions are performed. It connects through multiple high-capacity communications interfaces to support communications with the fire control radar and other fire control centers. The command and control system is designed to respond to as many as 14 simultaneous intercepts.

The launcher control center is a mobile shelter that provides a communication interface between the fire control center and the Arrow Launcher. Its primary function is to enable monitoring of launcher and missile status and it also provides missile maintenance and diagnostic capabilities. The launcher control center can support operations at remote distances from the fire control center.

Diesel generators supply power to the AWS, with several smaller miscellaneous generators used for various support equipment. Nitrogen (N2) tanks are kept at the launch control area, and N2 gas is used to cool the onboard electro-optical sensor of the missile.

Arrow Development

Comprised of three phases, this intiative began with the Arrow Experiments project (Phase I) that developed the preprototype Arrow I interceptor. Arrow I provided the basis for an informed GOI engineering and manufacturing decision for an ATBM defense capability.

The Phase II ARROW Continuation Experiments (ACES) Program was a continuation of Phase I, and consisted of critical lethality tests using the Arrow I interceptor with the Arrow II warhead and the design, development and test of the Arrow II interceptor. The first phase of ACES, completed in the third quarter FY 94, featured critical lethality tests using the Arrow I interceptor with the Arrow II warhead. Since program initiation in 1988, Israel successfully improved the performance of its pre-prototype Arrow I interceptor to the point that it achieved a successful intercept and target destruction in June 1994. The ACES resulted in a successful missile target intercept by a single stage ARROW-1 interceptor. The second phase of ACES consisted of the design, development and test of the Arrow II interceptor, which achieved two successful intercepts of simulated SCUD missiles on August 20, 1996 and March 11, 1997. The ACES Program ended in FY 1997, upon the completion of ARROW intercept tests.

The third phase is the Arrow Deployability Project (ADP), which began in FY96, aimed at integrating the entire ARROW Weapon System (AWS) with a planned User Operational Evaluation System (UOES) capability. Continuing through 2001, the ADP was the cornerstone for US/Israeli BMD cooperation. The Arrow Deployability Program involves a total commitment of $500 million over five years, with $300 million contributed by Israel and $200 million from the United States. This allowed for the integration of the jointly developed Arrow interceptor with the Israeli developed fire control radar, launch control center and battle management center. This project will pursue the research and development of technologies associated with the deployment of the Arrow Weapon System (AWS) and permitted the GOI to make a decision regarding deployment of this system without financial participation by the US beyond the R&D stage. This effort included system-level flight tests of the US-Israeli cooperatively developed Arrow II interceptor supported by the Israeli-developed fire control radar and fire control center.

After US planning activities in FY 94/95, the Arrow Deployability Project (ADP) pursued the research and development of technologies associated with the deployment of the Arrow Weapon System and to permit the Government of Israel to make a decision on its own initiative regarding deployment of this system without financial participation by the US beyond the R&D stage. This effort included three system-level flight tests of the Arrow II interceptor and launcher supported by the Israeli-developed fire control radar and battle management control center. Studies were done to define interfaces required for Arrow Weapon System interoperability with US TMD systems, lethality, kill assessment and producibility.

Prior to obligation of funds to execute ADP R&D efforts, the President must certify to the Congress that a Memorandum of Agreement (MOA) exists with Israel for these projects, that each project provides benefits to the US, that the Arrow missile has completed a successful intercept, and that the Government of Israel continues to adhere to export controls pursuant to the Missile Technology Control Regime (MTCR). Subsequent US-Israeli cooperative R&D on other ballistic missile defense concepts would occur in the future.

Although there is a general policy of denial for Category I missile programs as defined in the the Missile Technology Control Regime (MTCR) guidelines, an exception has been made for the Arrow theater missile defense program. In the Arrow program, the challenge the United States faces is to transfer capabilities to defend against missile attacks without releasing technologies for manufacturing missiles.

The latest phase of the Arrow program is the Arrow System Improvement Program (ASIP). The purpose of the ASIP is to enhance the operational capabilities of the AWS to defeat emerging ballistic missile threats, including longer-range missiles and countermeasures. In addition, ASIP would enhance the capability of the AWS to interoperate with deployed U.S. missile defense systems. Technology development and data collection resulting from the ASIP would benefit both U.S. and Israeli missile defense efforts. As part of the ASIP, the current (baseline) AWS and the improved AWS would be tested in a series of flight tests in both the U.S. and Israel.

The ASIP consists of three phases. During the initial phase of the ASIP, technologies for insertion into the AWS were identified. The second phase of the ASIP consists of system development, in which the required component improvements would be designed, fabricated, tested and integrated into the total system. In addition, flight tests of the baseline AWS would be conducted in both the U.S. and Israel. The third phase of the program would focus on the testing and evaluation of the improvements implemented during the second phase.

Arrow Testing

In a test in September 1998 the Arrow 2 simulated an intercept against a point in space 97 seconds after being fired from the Palmachim military base south of Tel Aviv. The first integrated intercept flight test was successfully conducted in Israel on 01 November 1999. The Green Pine radar detected a Scud-class ballistic target and the Citron Tree battle management center commanded the launch of the Arrow II interceptor and communicated with it in-flight to successfully destroy the incoming missile.

On 27 August 2001, Israel successfully tested the Arrow-2 anti-missile missile in the ninth test of the anti-ballistic missile system. The target was a missile, called the Black Sparrow, which was dropped from an IAF F-15 fighter jet at high altitude. The Arrow-2 Green Pine radar detected the missile, and the Citron fire-control center launched the Arrow-2 interceptor. The target was intercepted about 100 kilometers from the coastline, the highest and farthest that the Arrow-2 had been tested to date.

On 16 December 2003 an Arrow missile successfully targeted and destroyed an incoming missile in another test of the advance anti-ballistic missile system. It was the 11th test of the Arrow and the 6th test of the onboard weapons system. Defense Ministry officials point out the test was routine as the ASIP (Advanced System Improvement Program) continues.

On July 29, 2004 an Arrow anti-ballistic missile was launched at Point Mugu, CA as part of the on going United States/Israel Arrow System Improvement Program (ASIP). The missile successfully intercepted a short-range target during tests at the Point Mugu Sea Range in Calif. This was the twelfth Arrow intercept test and the seventh test of the complete Arrow system. The objective of the test was to demonstrate the Arrow system's improved performance against a target that represents a threat to Israel. The test represented a realistic scenario that could not have been tested in Israel due to test-field safety restrictions.

All testing of the AWS before the ASIP was conducted in Israel. Because of the limited geography and airspace of the Israeli test range, the ASIP would include tests of the AWS in the U.S. to test the capability of the AWS to engage longer-range threats. Flight tests of the AWS in the U.S. would consist of intercept flight tests at the Naval Air Warfare Center Weapons Division Point Mugu Sea Range against various short- and long-range threat representative target missiles launched from the surrounding test range open ocean area. As of 2007 two series, or caravans, of tests are planned in the U.S. over a period of five years.

Caravan 1, completed in FY 2004, consisted of two flight tests necessary to the baseline AWS, including performance of critical subsystem and element level components, against current threat-representative target missiles at realistic ranges. The primary objectives of Caravan 1 were to perform baseline flight tests against current threats at full range, and provide data to evaluate critical performance parameters.

Caravan 2 would consist of two flight tests of the enhanced AWS at Point Mugu against a threat-representative target at approximately full range. To the extent they are available, U.S. theater missile defense (TMD) elements or components would be used in interoperability testing and in data collection. The first flight test is planned to be an engagement of a Long Range Air-Launched Target configuration. The second flight test is planned to be a simultaneous engagement of an LRALT configuration and a Herabased configuration at the maximum possible range allowed by test range constraints.

Arrow Deployment

Israel planned to defend itself against short- and medium-range ballistic missile attacks with two Arrow 2 batteries located at only two strategic sites. According to its original 1986 schedule, the Arrow system was supposed to enter operational service in 1995. By 2000 Israel was reported to have deployed several batteries of Arrow-2 anti-missile missiles. According to some [probably erroneous] reports, these were along the Israeli- Lebanese borders.

An interface has been developed and delivered in Israel for AWS interoperability with US TMD systems based on a common JTIDS/Link-16 communications architecture and message protocol. The BMDO-developed Theater Missile Defense System Exerciser (TMDSE) will conduct interactive simulation exercises to test, assess, and validate the JTIDS-based interoperability between the AWS and US TMD systems. Once the TMDSE experiments were completed in FY01, the AWS was certified as fully interoperable with any deployed US TMD systems.

The first Arrow Weapon System (AWS) battery was deployed in Israel in early 2000. The first battery of the Arrow missiles is deployed in the center of the country, with the newly developed missile defense system entering operation on 12 March 2000. According to some reports, the first Arrow battery was operational at the Palmachim base [some reports suggest that the first battery was in the southern Negev desert at the Dimona nuclear facility].

Israel built a second state-of-the-art anti-missile battery in the center of the country to fend off missile attacks. A second battery is to be placed at Ein Shemer east of Hadera, but was delayed by strong opposition from residents who claim its radar would be hazardous to their health. The new battery, about six miles from the central town of Hadera, was officially "for training purposes" as of mid-2002, but the sources said it already had operational capability. By late 2002 Israel was trying to make the second battery operational before any American attack on Iraq. The Arrow missile launchers from the second battery could be linked to the Green Pine radar of the Palmachim battery to improve its effectiveness.

Israel had originally planned to deploy two Arrow 2 batteries but has since sought and won promises of funding for a third battery. The US Congress approved the funding of $81.6 million toward the cost of a third batteries. Each battery reportedly costs about $170m.

The joint US-Israeli project, which includes missiles, interceptor launcher batteries, the Green Pine radar and the Citron Tree fire-control system, cost $1.3 billion to develop. The final bill is expected to be double the billion dollars spent by 2001. This cost could be reduced if the Arrow 2 is sold to other countries which have expressed interest - such as Great Britain, Turkey, Japan and reportedly India.

The Green Pine radar used by the Arrow 2 was sold to India with US approval, and was deployed in India in 2001. In early 2002 American officials sought to stop Israel from selling the Arrow 2 interceptor missile to India, arguing that the sale would violate the Missile Technology Control Regime. Although the Arrow 2 interceptor could possibly achieve a range of 300 km, it is designed for intercepts at shorter ranges, and it is unclear whether it could carry a 500-kg payload to the 300-km range specified in the MTCR.

Arrow-2 Test Launch
February 20, 1996 (43K)

Arrow-2 Test Launch
August 20, 1996 (37K)


  • FY01 PEDS - 0603875C International Cooperative Programs
  • FY00 PEDS - 0603875C International Cooperative Programs
  • FY98 PEDS - 225996B Israeli Co-Operative Projects
  • FY98 PEDS - 2259OBAQ Israeli Co-Operative Projects
  • FY97 PEDS - 2259 Israeli Cooperative Projects
  • U.S. - Israeli Arrow Deployability Project

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