In historic first, Israel intercepts ballistic missile launched from Yemen by Iran-backed Houthi rebels
In what appears to be a first in military history, on October 30th Israel intercepted a ballistic missile, in space, fired at Israel from Yemen.
From Breaking Defense: In first, Israel’s Arrow air defense system intercepts ballistic missile near Red Sea: IDF:
Israel’s Arrow air defense system for the first time intercepted a ballistic missile today, in an attempted strike believed to have been launched from Yemen.
The Israeli Defense Forces said the interception was the first operational use of the Arrow system since Hamas’s Oct. 7 attack, and that it “thwarted an aerial threat in the area of the Red Sea.” The IDF later said the missile was fired toward Israel but was intercepted before it could reach its target.
“All aerial threats were intercepted outside of Israeli territory. No infiltrations were identified into Israeli territory,” the IDF said.
Though the IDF did not say who responsible for the missile, the Houthi armed group reportedly claimed responsibility, and Israel’s Ministry of Foreign Affairs has accused the Houthis of a similar attack last week. An Oct. 28 would-be strike using drones and missiles, attributed to the Houthis, was intercepted by fire from a US naval ship.
For the first time in history: Israel was the first in the world to intercept an enemy missile in space.
Israel's Arrow (Hetz) missile defense system shot down a ballistic missile beyond the Earth's atmosphere that was launched by the pro-Iranian Houthis from Yemen towards…
— Israel War Room (@IsraelWarRoom) November 5, 2023
🚨 JUST IN: Israel Shoots Down Ballistic Missile in Space, Marking Historic First
– Israel deployed its Arrow missile-defense system to intercept a ballistic missile outside Earth's atmosphere in a landmark combat event.
— Mario Nawfal (@MarioNawfal) November 6, 2023
Using a hypersonic interceptor, Israel was able to shoot down a ballistic missile 𝐨𝐮𝐭𝐬𝐢𝐝𝐞 𝐨𝐟 𝐄𝐚𝐫𝐭𝐡’𝐬 𝐚𝐭𝐦𝐨𝐬𝐩𝐡𝐞𝐫𝐞.
𝑻𝒉𝒊𝒔 𝒊𝒔 𝒕𝒉𝒆 𝒇𝒊𝒓𝒔𝒕 𝒄𝒐𝒎𝒃𝒂𝒕 to 𝒕𝒂𝒌𝒆 𝒑𝒍𝒂𝒄𝒆 𝒊𝒏 𝒐𝒖𝒕𝒆𝒓 𝒔𝒑𝒂𝒄𝒆!
Israel used the Arrow 2 missile defense… pic.twitter.com/4NUZ0cbCYG
— Marina Medvin 🇺🇸 (@MarinaMedvin) November 5, 2023
Although the Iron Dome seems to get all the press, the Arrow missile defense system is Israel’s top tier of missile defense:
Though today marks Arrow’s first operational intercept of a ballistic missile, its first operational use came 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.
Israel Aerospace Industries, the lead Israeli contractor on the Arrow, praised the IDF for the successful interception.
“The Arrow is an advanced air defense system created and designed to intercept ballistic missiles outside of the Earth’s atmosphere,” IAI said. It noted that the system was developed by Israel and the Missile Defense Agency in the US.
“The Arrow system […] demonstrated today that Israel possesses the most advanced technology for defense against ballistic missiles at various ranges,” CEO and President of the IAI, Boaz Levy, said.
🔴A cruise missile launched from the southeast toward Israeli airspace was successfully intercepted by F-35i fighter jets.
🔴On the same day, the IAF’s Arrow Aerial Defense System intercepted a surface-to-surface missile in the Red Sea area. pic.twitter.com/jZn0wcqwUX
— Israel Defense Forces (@IDF) November 2, 2023
For a great video explaining the Arrow’s “exoatmospheric” capabilities, with superb graphics, check this out:
Although the Houthis are about 1,000 miles away from Israel, and seemingly out of the picture, that is apparently not the case:
The Houthis in Yemen are more than a 1,000 miles from Israel, but the group has shown it is capable of long-range strikes.
On October 29 the pro-Iranian Al-Mayadeen media reported that the Houthi leadership had threatened Israel due to operations in Gaza and also viewed the current conflict in the region as one in which the US and Israel were working together.
Israel’s IDF spokesperson Rear Admiral Daniel Hagari, referring to the Houthi threat, said on the evening of October 31 that Israel knows how to protect itself and protect its interests. He said that despite the threats, Israel was concentrated on the conflict against Hamas and would not be distracted by the incident, but could act in the future at a time and place of its choosing.
U.S. Navy ships in the Mediterranean might also provide Israel with some missile defense capability, but due to positioning it is speculated that they might not be as effective as the Arrow system, as the Jerusalem Post reported:
While the US naval forces in the region might also be able to shoot down ballistic missiles targeting Israel, that ability might depend on the trajectory of the missile, whereas the Arrow shield is positioned in a different way and has more versatile capabilities to shoot down ballistic missiles.
This is a positive development for Israel:
So the good news…is that Israel can now present to Iran and the rest of the region that it has a fully operational missile defense against ballistic missiles.
In 2022, then-US CENTCOM chief Gen. Kenneth McKenzie said that Iran had over 3,000 ballistic missiles, not counting its increasing number of cruise missiles.
Only a portion of these can reach Israel, but the point is that since the 1990s, the Islamic Republic has had weapons that could reach Israel, and while Jerusalem hoped that its Arrow missile shield would hold up, it had never been fully tested….
[T]here is nothing like actually shooting down a high-quality ballistic missile threat with all of the real stress of an operational situation.
And Israel managed to do this despite juggling threats on multiple other fronts: the South, the North, and ongoing in the West Bank.
From this perspective, the Arrow’s success is a new message to Tehran that neither it nor its proxies can easily harm Israel, even with their most sophisticated long-range weapons.
This boosts the Jewish state at a critical time when there are still questions about whether it can topple Hamas if it must compete with other regional distractions.
We will keep you updated on this important military development.DONATE
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