Despite objections from the United States and concerns raised by European nations, Iran has been expanding the scope of its missile program, particularly its ballistic missiles. Tehran insists that its program is purely defencive in nature and intended to serve as a deterrent.
In response, Israel is adapting its multi-layered missile defence system and introducing an additional layer known as Arrow 4. The Arrow-4 interceptor is equipped with winglets designed for atmospheric interceptions. Although there has been no official explanation regarding this capability, anonymous experts have stated that Israel needs to plan its missile defence capabilities for future threats. While there is currently no hypersonic missile threat to Israel, the development of such advanced interceptors should account for the potential emergence of such missiles in the Middle East.
The Israeli Ministry of Defense (MOD) states that Arrow-4 will be an advanced interceptor missile with enhanced capabilities, addressing a wide range of evolving threats in the region. It is intended to replace the Arrow-2 interceptors over the coming decades. Vice Adm. John Hill, director of the Missile Defense Agency (MDA), emphasizes that Arrow-4 is a cooperative program between MDA and IMDO, highlighting the United States’ commitment to supporting Israel in upgrading its national missile defence capabilities.
The Arrow Weapon System forms a crucial component of Israel’s multi-layered missile defence array, encompassing advanced radar systems developed by IAI subsidiary Elta, a BMC system developed by Elbit Systems, and a Launch Array comprising interceptors produced by MLM (a subsidiary of IAI). Defence industries Rafael and Tomer are also involved in the development and production of the Arrow interceptor. Arrow-2 has been operational since 2000, providing endo-exoatmospheric defence, while Arrow-3, an exoatmospheric missile defence system, became operational in 2017 as the upper layer of Israel’s multi-tier missile defence array. Both interceptors have undergone upgrades in recent years and demonstrated excellent capabilities through successful tests conducted in Israel and Alaska, USA.
Iran has developed a range of long-range ballistic missiles, some fueled by liquid propellants and others powered by solid propellants.