The US and Israel have begun developing the Arrow 4, a new generation of ballistic missile defense. Israel has Arrow 2 and an Arrow 3 systems that are part of the country’s multi-layered missile defense, which also includes the Iron Dome anti-rocket system.
In 2016, the Obama administration signed a military aid agreement with Israel, known as the Memorandum of Understanding (MOU). Under this MOU, the US will provide $38 billion in military aid to Israel from the 2019 fiscal year to the 2029 fiscal year.
Out of the $38 billion, $5 billion is allocated for missile defense systems, like the Arrow 4. For the 2021 fiscal year, the Trump administration requested $500 million in grants for Israel’s missile defense.
Israel’s Defense Ministry announced the new Arrow 4 project on Thursday. “The defense establishment is working round the clock to shield Israel’s skies from ballistic threats,” said Israeli Defense Minister Benny Gantz. “It will bring a technological and operational leap to the future battlefield.”
Israeli media is interpreting the announcement as a message to Iran. While tensions are high between Israel and Iran, and Tehran has a sophisticated ballistic missile program, the US and Israel working together on these systems is nothing new.
Israel’s Defense Ministry said the primary contractor for the Arrow 4 is Israel Aerospace Industries. Boeing and Elbit Systems, another Israeli company, will also be involved in the project.