Defense industries present cutting edge interception technology, with two highly advanced defense systems to be implemented in IDF units
Over the past two years, the IDF Air Defense Formation has undergone significant changes in structure, organization, and more. During a special conference on missile defense held earlier this month, defense industry executives presented new highly advanced, high-tech systems to implemented at IDF units and improve security. These include the Magic Wand and the Arrow III missile, designed in response to the nation’s evolving threats.
Magic Wand: A multi-functional defense system
“This system will defend against numerous threats, ranging from missiles that target low-flying helicopters to any imaginable ballistic threat. From the atmosphere to the ground, from long range and across wide areas,” said Rafael’s chief administrator of the Magic Wand and Air Defense department, Col. (res.) Pini Youngman. The system, which was designed in collaboration with U.S. security officials, would provide defend against several types of missiles, both ballistic a short range cruise missiles.
“The purpose of the system is to be able to deal with everything. It is based on highly advanced, cutting edge interception technology. It can contact all other defense systems and can serve as a platform to operate additional interception systems,” explained Col. Youngman.
In addition, Col. Youngman introduced many characteristics of the new system “It is a highly accurate system that can operate in any weather conditions, it both analyzes and intercepts the threat, and knows how to target the missile in order to detonate its warhead,” said Col. Youngman, who added that the Magic Wand knows how to deal with multiple simultaneous attacks and select the most dangerous threat, even if there are different types of targets in the barrage. Furthermore, the system knows how to deal with airborne elements that should not be targeted, such as our own aircraft and missiles. Col. Youngman also noted that the system is very cost-effective relative to other similar systems, due to its low costs and easy maintenance.
“The Magic Wand’s area of protection is very wide. It is not a battery-based system, but rather located in a central area, with a few additional sites, which allow it to cover the entire country and allow for regional and even national defense,” said Col. Youngman. “The Magic Wand is the system that will function between the ranges protected by the Arrow missiles and those of the Iron Dome. It will be able to manage interceptions of all types.”
In practice, it is a mobile launcher platform, which carries 12 vertical launch missiles that cover a 360-degrees spectrum, with fast launches and a high reload rate, on a platform that can deploy anywhere, controlled remotely by a Ground Control System.
Arrow II and III: Ground breaking interceptive capabilities
The Arrow ballistic missile defense system was developed in Israel, with the support of American funding and in conjunction with the Boeing Company. It thwarts missile attacks by first identifying and locating an incoming missile, then performing calculations to find the optimal launch point, and finally launching a rocket that intercepts the missile before it can hit its target.
“We have heard a great deal about the transforming threats against Israel, so today the system addresses threats that our predecessors never even dreamt of,” said Col. (res.) Yitzhak Kaya, Israel Aircraft Industries’ chief administrator of the Arrow project. “Development continues, but the threat is also changing at an amazing pace. Our challenge is to always be one step ahead.”
“I use the analogy of the smart phone,” he continued. “Every year, a new version hits the market – and if it doesn’t have all of the newest details, it will be irrelevant. It is extremely important to be in the field with the necessary ability so as to respond to the changing threat.” He added that the Arrow is a very complex system that requires integration at different levels, necessitating many flight and ground tests.
Col. Kaya presented the Arrow III missile, currently under development, used to intercept long-range ballistic missiles at higher altitudes than the Arrow II. The missile is exo-atmospheric, which means it can intercept rocket attacks in outer space and thus enable Israeli missile interception technology better opportunities to target ballistic missiles while airborne.
“These threats can significantly improve our coping capabilities. Two of our operational needs include accuracy and financial limitations. The Arrow system can provide for both,” said Col. Kaya. “An additional specialty of the missile is its high-level targeting capabilities, which enable the launching of missiles to standby points in outer space, and once the target is clearly identified, the missile can intercept it and additional missiles are launched if necessary.”
Col. Kaya mentioned that the purpose of the new missile is “opening up the skies,” it can intercept faraway missiles, outside the atmosphere, and enables a larger number of interception capabilities in order to defend the State of Israel against threats.