Ar­row ATBM: Lethal Evo­lu­tion

Vayu Aerospace and Defence - - Aviation & Defence Inindia - Sayan Ma­jum­dar

Is­rael faces the grim prospect of po­ten­tial Tac­ti­cal Bal­lis­tic Mis­sile (TBM) strikes with Nu­clear, Bi­o­log­i­cal or Chem­i­cal (NBC) war­heads not only from its ad­ver­sary na­tions but also from ‘ sub- states’ ( read ter­ror­ist groups). To tackle such threats, the Is­raeli De­fence Force (IDF) de­ploys com­bi­na­tion of Bal­lis­tic Mis­sile De­fences (BMD) sys­tems with IAI/Boe­ing Ar­row 2 Anti-Tac­ti­cal Bal­lis­tic Mis­siles (ATBM) devel­oped by MLM Di­vi­sion of Is­rael Aerospace In­dus­tries (IAI) presently form­ing the cen­tre piece of Is­rael’s lay­ered sys­tem of strate­gic mis­sile de­fence called Homa. The first bat­tery at Pal­machim air­base, near Tel Aviv be­came op­er­a­tional in 2000 fol­lowed by one at Ein She­mer air­base to the south of Haifa in 2002. They are de­ployed in such a man­ner that cov­er­age of the sys­tems over­laps vi­tal mil­i­tary, com­mer­cial in­stal­la­tions and con­cen­trated civil­ian pop­u­la­tion. The sys­tem prac­ti­cally form­ing Na­tional Mis­sile De­fence ( NMD) in Is­raeli con­text, is stand alone yet in­te­grated with na­tional com­mand & con­trol, and has the ca­pa­bil­ity to pro­vide early warn­ing for it­self and of deal­ing with mul­ti­ple threats. In Is­rael, Ar­row 2 Block 4 and Ar­row 3 func­tion as the up­per-tier of the multi-tier com­bined air de­fence/ATBM net­work. The mid­dle tier com­prises of United States-ori­gin and Is­raeli Pa­triot PAC-2/PAC-3 and United States Navy ( USN) ship- borne AEGIS sys­tems in ad­di­tion to the IDF David’s Sling Weapon Sys­tem (DSWS) pro­vid­ing the mid-tier and lower tiers, de­fend­ing against tac­ti­cal mis­siles, long range rock­ets, cruise mis­siles and at­tack air­craft. The low-level is pro­tected by Rafael’s Iron Dome coun­ter­ing short-range rock­ets (C-RAM) and 155 mm ar­tillery shells.

The re­fined and leaner ( 1,300- kg) Ar­row 2, was first tested in 1995 be­ing de­rived from the Chetz (Ar­row) 1, a pro­ject ini­ti­ated by the United States Strate­gic De­fence Ini­tia­tive (SDI) to be devel­oped by IAI. The Ar­row 2 is meant to in­ter­cept tac­ti­cal bal­lis­tic mis­siles just as they be­gin re-en­ter­ing at­mos­phere af­ter reach­ing the high­est point in their flight tra­jec­tory.

In Fe­bru­ary 2003, IAI signed an agree­ment with Boe­ing to es­tab­lish the pro­duc­tion in­fra­struc­ture to man­u­fac­ture com­po­nents of the Ar­row mis­sile in the United States with Boe­ing re­spon­si­ble for the pro­duc­tion and co- or­di­na­tion of ap­prox­i­mately 50% of the mis­sile com­po­nents in United States while IAI un­der­took in­te­gra­tion and fi­nal as­sem­bly of the mis­sile in Is­rael. Un­der the Ar­row Sys­tem Im­prove­ment Pro­gramme (ASIP), be­ing car­ried out jointly by Is­rael and United States Bal­lis­tic Mis­sile De­fence Or­gan­i­sa­tion (BMDO), a real (as against sim­u­lated) Scud-B Short-Range Bal­lis­tic Mis­sile (SRBM) was suc­cess­fully in­ter­cepted and de­stroyed at an al­ti­tude of 40-km at Point Mugu naval test range in Cal­i­for­nia in July 2004. In De­cem­ber 2005, an Ar­row 2 Block 3 mis­sile suc­cess­fully in­ter­cepted a tar­get at an un­spec­i­fied but re­ported record low al­ti­tude. In Fe­bru­ary 2007, the sys­tem

suc­cess­fully in­ter­cepted and de­stroyed a Rafael Black Spar­row tar­get mis­sile, sim­u­lat­ing a bal­lis­tic mis­sile, at high al­ti­tude.

An Ar­row bat­tery is typ­i­cally equipped with four or eight launch trail­ers, each with six launch tubes and ready-to-fire mis­siles, a truck-mounted Hazel­nut Tree Launch Con­trol Cen­tre (LCC), a truck-mounted com­mu­ni­ca­tions cen­tre, a trailer mounted Elisra Citron Tree Fire Con­trol Cen­tre (FCC) and the units of a mo­bile Green Pine early warn­ing radar sys­tem. There are mi­crowave and ra­dio data and voice com­mu­ni­ca­tions (Link-16) be­tween the LCC and the radar com­mand & con­trol cen­tre with the launch sys­tem de­ploy­able up to 300 km from the site se­lected for the radar com­mand & con­trol cen­tre of­fer­ing un­par­al­leled pro­tec­tion and flex­i­bil­ity to the Ar­row Weapon Sys­tem (AWS).

The two- stage Ar­row 2 ATBM is equipped with solid pro­pel­lant booster and sus­tainer rocket mo­tors. The Ar­row 2 is launched ver­ti­cally, sep­a­rately or in salvos, giv­ing 360-de­grees cov­er­age to each bat­tery. The Green Pine L-band, phased ar­ray, dualmode (de­tec­tion and fire con­trol) radar de­ter­mines the in­ter­cept point and thereby up-link­ing very ac­cu­rate data to the Ar­row 2 guid­ing the in­ter­cept­ing mis­sile to within 4 m of the tar­get. The mis­sile uses an ini­tial burn to carry out a ver­ti­cal hot launch from the con­tainer and a sec­ondary burn to sus­tain the mis­sile›s tra­jec­tory to­wards the tar­get at a max­i­mum speed of Mach 9, or 2.5 km per se­cond. Thrust Vec­tor Con­trol (TVC) is used in the boost and sus­tained phases of flight. At the ig­ni­tion of the se­cond stage sus­tainer mo­tor, the first stage as­sem­bly sep­a­rates. The Kill Ve­hi­cle (KV) sec­tion of the mis­sile, con­tain­ing the war­head, fus­ing and the ter­mi­nal Elec­troOp­ti­cal (EO) seeker is equipped with four aero­dy­nam­i­cally con­trolled mov­ing fins to give low al­ti­tude in­ter­cep­tion ca­pa­bil­ity. The dual mode mis­sile seeker has a pas­sive in­frared seeker ( Raytheon- devel­oped in­dium an­ti­monite fo­cal plane ar­ray) for the ac­qui­si­tion and track­ing of TBM and an ac­tive radar seeker used to home on air breath­ing tar­gets at low al­ti­tudes. Af­ter the Ar­row 2 is brought to the best en­gage­ment point on the TBM, its EO sen­sor ac­quires the tar­get to al­low very near pass and then ac­ti­vates the Rafael Ad­vanced De­fense Sys­tem devel­oped high ex­plo­sive di­rected blast frag­men­ta­tion war­head which is ca­pa­ble of de­stroy­ing the tar­get within a 50 m ra­dius or suf­fi­ciently de­flect­ing it beyond the con­fines of de­fended ter­ri­tory. The cur­rent Ar­row 2 Block 4 ver­sion with im­proved tar­get iden­ti­fi­ca­tion and dis­crim­i­na­tion ca­pa­bil­ity re­mains an ex­tremely lethal in­ter­cep­tor.

The ELTA Elec­tron­ics sub­sidiary of IAI devel­oped the EL/ M- 2080 Green Pine Early Warn­ing & Fire Con­trol (EW & FC) radar for the Ar­row sys­tem. The Green Pine radar has a proven track record demon­strated in over twenty suc­cess­ful bal­lis­tic mis­sile in­ter­cepts. The radar in­cludes the trailer mounted an­tenna ar­ray, the power gen­er­a­tor, a cool­ing sys­tem and a con­trol cen­tre. Devel­oped from the ELTA Mu­sic phased ar­ray radar, Green Pine is an dual mode, elec­tron­i­cally scanned, solid state, phased-ar­ray radar op­er­at­ing at L-band in the range 500 MHz to 1,000 MHz, weighs 60 tonnes and com­prises of 2,000 trans­mit-re­ceive mod­ules. Green Pine is said to be ca­pa­ble of track­ing bal­lis­tic mis­siles from a range of up to 500 km and is able to track tar­gets up to speeds over 3 km/s while in­ter­cept of the at­tack­ing mis­sile may oc­cur 90 km away at an al­ti­tude of 10 to 50km. The long range of Green Pine radar sys­tem en­sures that a se­cond shot can be taken at the in­com­ing bal­lis­tic mis­sile if the first shot fails to se­cure the “kill”. The bal­lis­tic mis­siles are again in­ter­cepted at a much higher al­ti­tude (exo-at­mo­spheric or endo- at­mo­spheric) to pre­vent them from dis­in­te­grat­ing as they ap­proach lower al­ti­tude, thus fak­ing mul­ti­ple tar­gets on radar screens. Is­rael also re­ceives data from the United States De­fence Space Pro­gramme (DSP) early warn­ing satel­lites and Boe­ing RC-135S Co­bra Ball in­tel­li­gence air­craft ca­pa­ble of pick­ing up rapid move­ment or a rocket launch flash.

In­ter­est­ingly, In­dia had placed an or­der and re­ceived its first Green Pine EW & FC radar in 2001 and has since been in­te­grated with the coun­try’s in­dige­nous mis­sile de­fence

sys­tem as the Sword­fish radar sys­tem. The Su­per Green Pine also op­er­ated by In­dia, has a track­ing range of 800 to 900 km.

Tadi­ran Elec­tron­ics Lim­ited Golden Citron Tree Bat­tle Man­age­ment/ Fire Con­trol Cen­tre ( BM/ FCC) ca­pa­ble of con­duct­ing mul­ti­ple, si­mul­ta­ne­ous ( up to 14) in­ter­cep­tions and in­cludes ten bat­tle sta­tions. Launches are con­trolled by Hazel­nut Tree launcher con­trol cen­tre. Citron Tree, which is trailer mounted, down­loads the radar data along with data from other sources and uses pow­er­ful sig­nal pro­cess­ing tools to man­age the threat in­ter­cep­tions along with man-in-the-loop in­ter­ven­tion ca­pa­bil­ity at ev­ery stage.

Mean­while, the United States and Is­rael have devel­oped the up­per-tier com­po­nent (in­clud­ing an exo-at­mo­spheric in­ter­cep­tor) to the Is­raeli Mis­sile De­fence ar­chi­tec­ture, com­monly known as Ar­row 3, based on an ar­chi­tec­ture def­i­ni­tion study con­ducted in 2006-2007, de­ter­min­ing the need for the up­per-tier com­po­nent to be in­te­grated into Is­rael›s Bal­lis­tic Mis­sile De­fence sys­tem in ad­di­tion to the Ar­row 2 Block 4 ATBM, which was de­clared op­er­a­tional on 18 Jan­uary 2017. The KV of two-stage Ar­row 3 is pro­pelled by rocket mo­tor and equipped with flex­i­ble noz­zles to of­fer ex­cep­tion­ally large di­vert ca­pa­bil­ity, while the gim­balled seeker ob­tains sub­stan­tial hemi­spheric cov­er­age to fa­cil­i­tate exo- at­mo­spheric in­ter­cep­tion. By mea­sur­ing the seeker’s line of sight rel­a­tive to the ve­hi­cle’s mo­tion, the KV would em­ploy ‘pro­por­tional nav­i­ga­tion’ de­flect­ing the KV to di­vert its course and align ex­actly at tar­get’s fight path, hence achiev­ing an ac­cu­rate Hit-to-Kill (HTK) even at very high clos­ing speeds and over long dis­tances. The Ar­row 3 in ad­di­tion is re­ported to be a for­mi­da­ble Anti-Satel­lite (ASAT) weapon.

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