Israel said on 18 February 2021 it was developing with the United States a new ballistic missile defense interceptor, the Arrow-4, another layer in a defensive system built with an eye toward Iran. “The development of Arrow-4 together with our American partners will result in a technological and operational leap forward, preparing us for the future battlefield and evolving threats in the Middle East and beyond,” Defense Minister Benny Gantz said. MDA Director, Vice Adm. John Hill said that “Arrow-4 is a cooperative program between the MDA and IMDO that illustrates U.S. commitment to assisting the government of Israel in upgrading its national missile defense capability to defend the State of Israel from emerging threats.”
The Israel Missile Defense Organization (IMDO), in the Directorate of Defense R&D (MAFAT) of the Israel Ministry of Defense, and the U.S. Missile Defense Agency (MDA), have commenced the development of the Arrow-4 system. Arrow-4 will be the next generation of endo-exoatmospheric interceptors in the Arrow weapon system, which today consists of Arrow-2 and Arrow-3 interceptors. Arrow-4 will be an advanced, innovative interceptor missile with enhanced capabilities. It will address a wide range of evolving threats in the region and will replace the Arrow-2 interceptors over the next decades. Its development is led by the IMDO and the U.S. MDA, with IAI as the prime contractor for the development and production of the system and its interceptors.
The Arrow Weapon System is a major part of Israel's multi-layered defense array. This array is based on four layers: Iron Dome Defense System, David's Sling Weapon System, Arrow-2 and the Arrow-3 Weapon Systems. MDA is requested $500 million for Israeli programs in FY 2021. This funding level remains consistent with the Memorandum of Understanding that the United States and Israel signed in 2016. This budget continues MDA’s longstanding support of U.S.- Israeli Cooperative Programs, to include the co-development and co-production of the David’s Sling Weapon System to the Arrow Weapon System. The Department continues to support co-production efforts for the Iron Dome program to provide critical defense against short-range rockets and artillery.
Since 1986, the United States and the State of Israel have cooperated on missile defense. Currently, Missile Defense Agency (MDA) has three major projects with Israel to develop and improve their indigenous capability to defend against short and medium range ballistic missiles. These include Upper Tier Interceptors (MD20), the Arrow Weapon System (MD26) and the Short-Range Ballistic Missile Defense, also known as the David's Sling Weapon System (MD34). Within these projects MDA develops and produces weapon systems, conducts tests, and exercises interoperability between U.S. Ballistic Missile Defense System (BMDS) and the Israeli Missile Defense Architecture. The United States and State of Israel entered into a Memorandum of Understanding (MOU) on September 2016, in which `Such funding, should over a ten year period beginning in FY 2019 and ending in FY 2028, be provided at a level of $500 million per year.'
: Israeli Systems Architecture and Integration conducts studies to assess Israel's future 2025 Missile Defense Architecture. This identifies the preferred missile defense architecture and reference threat for 10-15 year future epoch and interoperability special studies on regional threats and growth path options. In August 2017 Barbara Opall-Rome reported that Israel’s Defense Ministry and industry had begun early work on a new missile-intercepting system to defend against much more sophisticated, future threats from Iran. "In interviews here, defense and industry sources assess the specter of massive salvo strikes, sub-munition warheads and multiple reentry vehicles, or MRV, as the next major technological challenges that Israel’s integrated, multitiered national defense network may have to contend with a decade down the road."
Israel‘s Arrow-2 and Arrow-3 interceptors are already operational as part of a multilayered system to destroy incoming missiles in the atmosphere and in space. Israeli leaders have described Iran’s ballistic missile program as a threat to Israel and the world. Iran says its missile development is defensive and aimed at deterring attack. The Defense Ministry said Israel Aerospace Industries would serve as the prime contractor for the Arrow-4. Boeing and Israel‘s Elbit Systems are also part of the Arrow defense project.
The DoD U.S. Israeli Cooperative Program Office jointly manages the Arrow Program with Israel Ministry of Defense (IMoD) to ensure that all systems are delivered with quality on time, on budget, and meet the needs of the warfighter. The program funding is equitably funded between the U.S. and Israel with Israel providing matching contributions. However, a portion of the Israeli cost share comes from non-financial contributions such as previously completed work prior to joint program initiation. Contracts are awarded by IMoD or MDA dependent on what is most advantageous to the Joint Governments. In regard to AWS, IMoD contracts on behalf of U.S. government with Israel Aerospace Industries (IAI). IAI subcontracts with Israeli and U.S. companies. For the Israeli Test Bed, the Missile Defense Agency (MDA) contracts directly with Elbit Systems, Ltd. while IMoD provides an equitable share of the funding to the U.S. Finally, MDA provides funding and contracts directly with WALES, Ltd for the Israeli System Architecture and Integration program.
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