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.
|Join the GlobalSecurity.org mailing list|