In Alaska last month, the U.S. and Israel successfully tested the Arrow 3 missile, designed to knock high-altitude missiles out of the sky. Developed jointly by the two countries, this sophisticated weapon is used by the IDF, together with the Iron Dome and other systems, to protect the civilian population from an entire range of rockets, missiles, and mortar shells. Jacob Nagel and Jonathan Schanzer write:
The [Arrow 3] provides Israel with the ability to defend against long-range, advanced Iranian missiles like the Shahab 3. It allows for exo-atmospheric interception high in space, offering Israel ample time to defend itself. Unlike other missile-defense systems, the Arrow 3 also gives Israel the capability and flexibility to deal with nuclear warheads, and to do so with impressive interception rates.
American and Israeli coordination in missile defense has been important for both sides. The joint development of the Arrow 3 underscores this. Other Israeli missile-defense technology has proved to be very valuable to Washington. The U.S. Army recently signed an agreement to acquire two Iron Dome batteries for testing and possible broader acquisition. In the coming weeks, the Marines are going to test the system, as well. . . . Lasers are likely to be an important part of the next frontier in missile defense.
Missile defense will continue to be one of the largest expenses in Israel’s military budget. This is because of the spike in missile and rocket threats posed by Iranian proxies. The terrorist groups specifically aim to target Israel’s civilian population. This challenge will continue to prompt continued Israeli innovation.
Of course, America does not face the same threats that Israel does on its borders. But some of Israel’s missile-defense solutions can help augment or improve the systems deployed in the United States. Moreover, such cooperation sends a clear message to common foes, like Iran.