IAS Gyan

Daily News Analysis


15th November, 2023 Security


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  • Amid the United Nations' infructuous attempts to invoke a ceasefire to the ongoing Israel-Hamas war in the Gaza Strip, Israel confirmed that it used its sophisticated Arrow 3 missile interceptor against Iran-backed Houthi rebels.
  • Israel has used this missile for the first time since its deployment.


  • The Arrow 3 or Hetz 3 is an exoatmospheric hypersonic anti-ballistic missile, jointly funded, developed and produced by Israel and the United States.
  • Undertaken by Israel Aerospace Industries and Boeing, it is overseen by the Israeli Ministry of Defense's "Homa" administration and the U.S. Missile Defense Agency.

Purpose and Development

  • Defensive Capabilities: The Arrow 3 missile is designed as an anti-ballistic missile defense system primarily to intercept long-range missiles.
  • Development: Jointly developed by Israel Aerospace Industries (IAI) and Boeing, in collaboration with the U.S. Missile Defense Agency.

Key Features

  • Long-Range Interception: Designed to intercept threats at high altitudes and longer ranges compared to its predecessor, Arrow 2.
  • Exoatmospheric Intercept: Capability to intercept incoming missiles outside the Earth's atmosphere.
  • Hit-to-Kill Technology: Utilizes kinetic energy to destroy incoming threats, rather than relying on explosive warheads.

Technical Specifications

  • Range: Capable of intercepting threats at ranges of more than 1,500 kilometers.
  • Altitude: Able to engage targets at altitudes that reach beyond the Earth's atmosphere, typically above 100 km.
  • High Speed: Travel speeds estimated at Mach 9 (9 times the speed of sound) or greater.
  • Precision Guidance: Equipped with advanced sensors and tracking systems for accurate target acquisition and interception.

Interception Capabilities

  • Multiple Targets: Ability to engage multiple incoming threats simultaneously.
  • Effectiveness: Considered highly effective against a wide array of ballistic missiles, including intermediate-range and intercontinental ballistic missiles (ICBMs).

Operational Aspects

  • Layered Defense: Forms an essential part of Israel's multilayered missile defense system alongside systems like Iron Dome and David's Sling.
  • Cooperation: Operates in conjunction with other missile defense systems to provide a comprehensive shield against various missile threats.
  • Threat Response: Deployed to counter potential missile threats from adversaries, enhancing Israel's national security posture.
  • Regional Impact: The Arrow 3 system also contributes to regional stability by deterring potential missile attacks.

Significance and Challenges

  • Deterrence: Acts as a deterrence against adversaries possessing long-range missile capabilities.
  • National Security: Critical in safeguarding Israel against potential missile attacks, enhancing overall national security.
  • Technological Complexity: Developing and maintaining cutting-edge missile defense technology involves significant technical challenges and requires continuous advancements.
  • Cost and Investment: The development and operation of such advanced defense systems entail substantial financial investment and ongoing expenditure.


The Arrow 3 missile system represents a critical component of Israel's missile defense strategy, offering advanced capabilities for intercepting long-range ballistic missile threats. Its deployment signifies a commitment to enhancing national security and regional stability, albeit amid continuous technological advancements and challenges inherent in the field of missile defense.


Q. Which of the following statements about the Arrow 3 missile system is/are correct?

  1. The Arrow 3 missile intercepts long-range ballistic missiles at high altitudes outside the Earth's atmosphere.
  2. It is developed solely by Israel Aerospace Industries (IAI) without any international collaboration.
  3. The Arrow 3 system is primarily designed to intercept short-range missiles within the Earth's atmosphere.


A.      Only 1

B.      Only 2

C.      Only 3

D.      Both 1 and 3

Answer: A