Hetz ('Arrow' in Hebrew) is a type of an anti-ballistic missile that is developed by the IAI (Israeli Aircraft Industries). The development of the Hetz missile is part of the Homa (Wall, in Hebrew), a shield project designed to counter the acquisition of missiles capable of striking Israeli cities by hostile states such as Iran, Iraq and Syria. Intercepting missiles at very high altitudes is important for the prevention of possible contamination resulting from the use of chemical warheads in the attacking missile. According to Western intelligence reports, Syria is capable of launching chemical warheads against Israel.
The 2.2 billion dollar project was launched in 1988 with US funding and co-operation. The American SDI program is paying 80% of the initial $200 million cost of the project. The missile was due to become operational in 1995 but was behind schedule. Israel has tested the Hetz missile in 9 attempts. In the last test, the Hetz missile destroyed a Sparrow missile simulating a ballistic Scud over the Mediterranean Sea, more than 100 kilometers away.
For an attack missile to be destroyed by this defense missile, a direct hit is not needed. The Hetz can destroy an attack missile in a range of up to 50 meters.
There are currently two Hetz
Project time line:
- 1988 - Project is launched.
- August 1996 - A successful test of the Hetz-2 missile was completed. During this test the Hetz II missile destroyed a target missile that was an Hetz-1, modified so that its radar cross section and warhead matched that of a Scud missile. The target missile was launched from a barge in the Mediterranean Sea about four minutes before the launching of the Hetz-2 missile from an Israeli air force base on the coast of Israel about ten kilometers away. Israel's Green Pine fire control radar participated in this test and was apparently able to track the target missile.
- October 16th 2000 -
The first Hetz missile battery becomes operational, and the IAF becomes the world's first airforce to operate missiles especially designed to shoot down short and medium range ballistic missiles.