How the Israeli Arrow system made Houthi ballistic missiles useless?

The Israeli Arrow system intercepted another ballistic missile launched by Houthi rebels from Yemen towards the southern city of Israel, Eilat. The interception took place over the airspace of the Red Sea, even before the missile entered Israeli airspace.

Israel’s defense ministry released a video showing the launch of missiles by the Arrow system. It’s the sixth interception of Houthi ballistic missiles during the Israel-Hamas war. The first interception by Arrow was reported on October 31, 2023.

The Iran-backed Houthi group has frequently been launching missiles and drones at Israel since October 19, 2023, showcasing its support for Hamas.

While the Iron Dome has been protecting Israel’s mainland against short-range rocket attacks for more than a decade, Israel began using its Arrow anti ballistic missile system, particularly the latest Arrow 3 missile, to counter long-range threats posed by the Houthis, intercepting several medium range ballistic missiles outside the atmosphere.

What is the Arrow system?

The Arrow anti-ballistic missile system is a family of missile defence systems developed by Israel in collaboration with the United States. The system is capable of intercepting short to medium-range ballistic missiles with a range of up to 2,400 km.

While the Iron Dome is effective against short range, low-speed rockets like the Qassam and the David’s Sling system is designed for tactical ballistic missiles, the Arrow system is an upper tier defence against more advanced and longer range threats.

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Although there is no official information about its range, some reports suggest that while Arrow 2 can engage targets within a 90 km range at an altitude of 50 km, the new Arrow 3 missile may have an extended range, potentially capable of engaging threats within a 150 km range and at altitudes exceeding 100 km.

The Arrow 3 is an exoatmospheric interceptor with advanced hit-to-kill technology to ensure a high probability of interception. The interceptor receive mid-course updates from the ELM 2080 Green Pine radar, which has a range of around 900 km. It uses a dual-mode seeker comprising passive infrared and active radar seekers for terminal guidance.

In ballistic missile interception, the Arrow 3 is more effective than other terminal phase defence systems such as the American MIM-104 Patriot and the Russian S-400.The Arrow 3 is similar to the Indian Prithvi Defence Vehicle (PDV) and the Chinese HQ-19 system’s exoatmospheric interceptors, as all three are designed to intercept medium-range ballistic missiles in outer space.

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Houthis’ Burkan missiles

While there is no confirmation about which types of missiles the Houthis have been launching at Israel, they possess many types of ballistic missiles including the Burkan missiles with a range of more than 1000 km.

In 2022, the US-made THAAD system in Saudi Arabia shot down two Burkan 2H missiles fired by the Houthis. It is more likely that the Houthis launched the same missiles at Israel as no other missiles in their arsenal possess the range to reach Israel.


While the Houthis launched several ballistic missiles at Israel, not a single strike has been reported on Israel, suggesting a 100 percent success rate by the Arrow system. It is well known that the Iron Dome demonstrated above 90 percent success rate in the last 13 years. Therefore, we can conclude that the Arrow anti-ballistic missile system is effectively protecting Israel from longer-range ballistic missile threats with a success rate similar to that of the Iron Dome.

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About Vinay Sadham


The writer is a defence enthusiast and content creator with over 8 years of experience. He runs a YouTube channel called Telugu Defence News. He can be contacted at [email protected]