The Israeli Air Force has received its first batch of operational Arrow-3 interceptors, according to the Israeli Ministry of Defense.

The Israel Missile Defense Organization, which has been developing the Arrow-3 with the U.S. Missile Defense Agency, transferred the interceptors to the air force during a Jan. 18 ceremony, the ministry said in a statement.

Arrow 3 transfer---IMDO photo
The Israeli Air Force received its first operational Arrow-3 interceptors on Jan. 18, 2017. Photo Credit: Israel Missile Defense Organization

The Arrow-3 is designed to defend Israel against long-range ballistic missiles, especially those that could be fired by Iran. It completed its first intercept of a target missile during a December 2015 test in Israel.

The Arrow-3 is intended to intercept missiles at longer ranges and higher altitudes than the older Arrow-2 interceptor, which Israel will continue to deploy to provide a layered defense.

The Arrow-3 “expands the defense envelope provided to the State of Israel,” the ministry said. “The combined interception capabilities of the Arrow-2 and Arrow-3 will significantly reduce the possibilities of ballistic missiles impacting” the Jewish state.

Israel Aerospace Industries (IAI) is the prime contractor for the overall Arrow Weapon System, which achieved its initial operational capability in 2000 and includes interceptors and launchers, a radar and a battle management center. Boeing [BA] is partnered with IAI to co-develop and co-produce the Arrow-3 interceptor.