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Israel deploys Arrow 3 exoatmospheric missile defense system for first time

Israel deploys Arrow 3 exoatmospheric missile defense system for first time Arrow 3 (Photo: Getty Images)
Author: Daria Shekina

The Israel Defense Forces (IDF) likely successfully used the exoatmospheric missile defense system Arrow 3 for the first time during a missile attack from Yemen, according to military portal Defense Express.

According to the material, the Arrow 3 exoatmospheric missile defense system intercepted a ballistic missile launched by Houthi rebels from Yemen. This marks the first real combat use of the world's most advanced missile defense system in actual combat conditions.

Additionally, it is the first combat use of the Arrow 3 system itself. Before this day, the Israel Defense Forces (IDF) had used the previous version of the missile defense system in combat only once in 2017, intercepting an anti-aircraft missile from the S-200 air defense system fired at an Israeli F-16.

The probable target of the Houthi rocket was the southernmost Israeli city of Eilat. Therefore, the rocket launched from Yemen had to cover a distance of approximately 1700 km. Although the IDF did not specify the type of rocket intercepted, Defense Express suggests it was likely a ballistic missile. The Houthis are known to possess one such missile - the Toufan, which is essentially an Iranian medium-range ballistic missile, Ghadr.

The Arrow 3, which is used today, was developed in close cooperation with the United States. The missile defense system operates on the principle of exoatmospheric kinetic interception at a range of up to 2400 km. Depending on the version, the Arrow 3's standard radar can identify enemy targets at ranges of up to 500 or up to 900 km.

What led to this

On October 7, Hamas militants invaded Israel. They kidnapped and killed civilians.

In addition, other groups, including Hezbollah and the Houthis, expressed their support for Hamas and have repeatedly attacked Israeli territory.

Recently, the Houthis attempted to target the U.S. Navy's USS Carney with missiles off the coast of Yemen.