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Arrow missile

The Arrow Interceptor is the first missile that was specifically designed and built to intercept and destroy ballistic missiles on a national level. It is the only anti-ballistic missile system able to intercept its targets so high in the stratosphere. The Arrow ABM system was designed and constructed in Israel with financial support by the United States in a multi-billion dollar development program (said to be $2,000,000,000 USD to date). The system was designed and constructed after the massive failure of the anti-aircraft Patriot missile system to properly intercept and destroy the Scud missiles fired by Iraq during the first Gulf War in 1991.

The ABM system is meant to intercept Medium- and Short-range ballistic missiles and was designed with an eye towards the advanced missile programs of Iraq and Iran. The system is built around the Arrow missiles and the Green Pine radar target tracking system. In actual use, the system would be aided by American satellites that can detect and report the flare as missiles are launched. The first operational system was deployed in central Israel, at the Palmachim Airbase on the Mediterranean coast, on March 14, 2000. The latest missile is known as the Arrow II and is still being evaluated for improvement.

Unlike the automated Patriot system, the Arrow system is controlled by an officer who can evaluate the trajectory and decide if one of the advanced Arrow missiles should be launched. There are 6 missile tubes in each launcher and each can be launched to a separate target. Confirmation of this and other abilities was demonstrated in a recent test-- the 10th for the Arrow interceptor and the 5th for the complete system-- as 4 of 6 missiles were launched at virtual targets during joint U.S.-Israeli exercises. The system is designed to handle up to 14 simultaneous intercepts.

The system has a high success rate and Israel plans to deploy the system at several locations to provide complete protection for the state. Procedures are reportedly in place to launch a second Arrow Interceptor should the first miss and to then launch one of the latest Patriot missiles should both fail.

Israel is in negotiations with India to sell the system to them, but the US arms control regime has blocked the sale of the actual missiles, though the Green Pine system has already apparently been sold to India and installed. Discussions have also take place between Israel and Turkey, with which Israel has a strategic defense partnership, but the outcome is unknown. There has also been talk of using the Arrow as part of a multi-tier ABM system by the US.

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