Israel has successfully used its Arrow-3 system to intercept an enemy missile, marking the first operational use of the weapon since its deployment in 2017. The missile was identified and intercepted above the Red Sea, countering an attack claimed by Houthi militants in Yemen. The Arrow-3 system is a joint development effort with the US and is part of Israel's multi-layered air-defense network. It works in conjunction with other systems such as the Iron Dome, David's Sling, and US-made Patriot batteries to defend Israel's skies.
The Arrow-3 system is the top layer of Israel's defense array and is designed to engage targets in space, while the older Arrow-2 system intercepts targets in the upper atmosphere. Both systems use two-stage solid-fueled interceptors and consist of a launcher, radar, and battle management system. Together, they provide comprehensive protection against missiles, rockets, artillery, and drones.
Israel's air-defense network is facing tests from multiple directions, with militants from Lebanon, Yemen, and Gaza firing missiles and rockets. Since October 7, around 9,500 projectiles have been launched at Israel, with approximately 2,000 intercepted and the rest either failing to reach their targets or making it through. The IDF stated that all the aerial defense systems are working simultaneously, providing protection in every layer and ensuring the optimal defense of the Israeli home front.
In response to increasing threats from the Houthi militants, Israeli forces have relocated several ships capable of launching missiles to the Red Sea. It is unclear if any new defensive measures have been taken following the operational use of the Arrow-3 system.
In a separate incident, the Houthi militants shot down an American MQ-9 Reaper drone off the coast of Yemen. This is the second time in recent years that the group has targeted a US drone. US forces have previously intercepted missiles and drones believed to be heading towards Israel.
Overall, Israel's successful use of the Arrow-3 system demonstrates the effectiveness of its air-defense network in countering missile threats. The joint development effort with the US and the integration of multiple systems have enhanced Israel's defense capacity and provided comprehensive protection against attacks from various directions.