Israel’s Arrow air defence system intercepted a ballistic missile on 31 October for the first time ever, in an attempted strike that is believed to have been launched from Yemen.
The Israeli Defense Forces (IDF) confirmed that the interception was the first operational use of the Arrow system since Hamas’s 7 October terror attack and that it “thwarted an aerial threat in the area of the Red Sea.”
“The missile was fired towards Israel, but it was intercepted before it could reach its target. The IDF stated that “all aerial threats were intercepted outside of Israeli territory. No infiltrations were identified into Israeli territory.”
Although the IDF has not yet identified the responsible party, the Houthi armed group is believed to have claimed responsibility for the missile. In addition, Israel’s Ministry of Foreign Affairs has accused the Houthis of a similar attack last week. An attempted strike using drones and missiles, which was attributed to the Houthis, was intercepted by fire from a US naval ship on 28 October.
Since Hamas’s attack on Israel on 7 October, other groups backed by Iran have sporadically joined in the fighting, including attempted strikes from the Houthis in Yemen and deadly skirmishes between Lebanese Hezbollah and Israeli forces along Israel’s northern border.
The day before the 28 October interceptions by the USS Carney, Israeli aircraft managed to intercept other threats near the Red Sea using aircraft, the IDF said.
Although today marks Arrow’s first operational intercept of a ballistic missile, its first operational use was back in 2017 when it intercepted a surface-to-air missile fired from Syria.
The Arrow program provides Israel with the upper tier of its multi-layered air defense system, together with David’s Sling and Iron Dome. The current Arrow system, called Arrow 3, was recently sold to Germany as Berlin sought a solution to threats in the wake of the conflict in Ukraine. Israel announced that it was working on an Arrow 4 system to build on the success of Arrow 3 in 2021.