Israel’s advanced Arrow anti-missile system failed to intercept a Soviet-made S-200 missile launched by Syria during the last exchange of fire between the two countries, Israeli sources revealed on April 22.
Earlier, Israel’s Defense Minister Benny Gantz acknowledged that the army’s multi-tiered air-defense network had failed to stop the Syrian missile. An investigation was also launched in Tel Aviv.
The Syrian Arab Air Defense Forces fired the missile at Israeli warplanes preparing to launch airstrikes on the outskirts of the Syrian capital, Damascus, early on April 22. The missile missed its target but went on to land nearly 40 km away from the Dimona nuclear reactor in southern Israel.
According to Israeli media, the Arrow system was activated to intercept the S-200 missile. However, it failed to stop the stray Syrian missile.
The Arrow 2 and 3 anti-missile systems were jointly developed and produced by Israel and the US. The project is run by IAI and Boeing directly under the control of the Israeli Defense Ministry and the US Missile Defense Agency.
In March of 2017, the Arrow system scored its first operational success when it intercepted a Syrian S-200 missile fired at an Israeli warplane. Back then, a senior Israeli officer said that the S-200 missile “behaved like a ballistic threat” with “an altitude, range and ballistic trajectory” that mimicked the Scud-class missiles the Arrow 2 interceptor was designed to kill.
The claims made by Israel back then were not verified by any independent source. The new incident rises some doubts about these claims.
The missile incident was a major blow to Israel’s multi-tiered air-defense network, which costed billions and more than 20 years of development.