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The Arrow System
Concept and Data

IAI Press Release

Policy Paper No. 32, From the books:
 

Ballistic Missiles
The Threat and
the Response

Arieh Stav (ed.),
ACPR Publishers and
Yediot Aharonot (Hebrew), 1998
ACPR Publishers and
Brassey's (UK) Ltd. (English),
1999

The Threat of Ballistic Missiles in the
Middle East:
Active Defense and
Counter-Measures
,

Arieh Stav (ed.),
Sussex Academic Press and
ACPR Publishers, 2004

Summary

The Arrow, which is designed to destroy the attacking missile at the stage where it is close to the target, is apparently the most advanced project in the world of its kind. This is mainly because of the series of failures of the THAAD project, which has cost the American taxpayer 3.2 billion dollars since the beginning of the development of the missile and until its fifth consecutive failure in May 1998. The last trial of the Arrow (14.9.98), in which the integrated action of all the systems (fire control radar, control and command system, launch control system) was tested, was crowned by success. It should, however, be stated that in the test, interception was not made of an attacking missile but a simulator was employed, which simulated a ballistic missile according to pre-fed data.

The development of the Arrow project places Israel, therefore, in the foreground of world technology in this sensitive and extremely important field.

It was consequently expected that in the collection of articles, published in a book, dealing with the issue of defense against ballistic missiles, the Arrow project would take an important place.

The editorial board therefore approached Israel Aircraft Industries in order that one of its experts would write the article. The condition imposed was that the article would not be a "press release" or a public relations exercise, but as detailed an article as possible, within the limitations of secrecy, which would reply to the valid criticism directed at the conceptual and operational aspects of the project.

Repeated requests were unanswered. Attempts to approach the former Arrow project manager (Yair Ha'Ramati) resulted only in a series of phone conversations, which, while intrinsically interesting, were no more than that.

We approached Prof. Moshe Arens, who was kind enough to contact the managing director of IAI, Dr. Moshe Keret on our behalf. Dr. Keret appointed a group of experts, headed by the project manager, Dr. Dan Peretz. The group met with the undersigned to discuss the matter. The members of the committee had received two issues of Nativ which contained 12 of the 15 articles and research studies that were to be published in the book.

During the meeting I emphasized once more, to the members of the group, the importance of replying to the criticism of the project. A few days after the meeting, I was informed by the spokesman of the managing director's office that IAI could not provide the desired article without approval of the BMDO in the Pentagon, and this may take time. Consequently, if I have no objection, it would be preferable that the article be written directly by someone from the BMDO. I did not object. As a result, I was informed that a senior representative of the Arrow project administration in the Pentagon would contact me to obtain details and to coordinate the timetable for writing the article. The senior representative did, in fact, get in touch with me and I gave him, for the umpteenth time, what he requested. This person promised to deal with the matter. A week later, he phoned and regretfully informed me that they were not prepared to cooperate because of reasons of classification and secrecy and due to a busy timetable.

However, he suggested that we make use of the overt publications of the BMDO as they appear in the authority's website on the Internet.

At this stage, we gave up, since the accumulative delay had already come to three months and the British publisher of the book had begun to show signs of impatience.

The following article contains, therefore, the minimum possible information available, based on overt sources, such as the publications of the BMDO, Janes', an IAI press release and a number of extracts from the article written by Dan Raviv, one of the initiators of the Arrow project. (The article was sent to the editorial board but not published since it did not meet the basic criteria given above, i.e., referring to the conceptual and operational criticism directed against the project).

A.S.

For the complete text of this article in Hebrew, click here.