Published 16:49 IST, April 15th 2024

Video: Exoatmospheric Intercept Unveiled Amid Escalating Iran-Israel Tensions

Exoatmospheric missiles, also referred to as anti-ballistic missiles (ABMs), function outside Earth's atmosphere to neutralize incoming ballistic

Reported by: Isha Bhandari
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Video: Exoatmospheric Intercept Unveiled Amid Escalating Iran-Israel Tensions | Image: Republic

As tensions soar between Iran and Israel, a video circulating on social media has captured what appears to be a groundbreaking exoatmospheric intercept by Israel. The intercepted missile, purportedly launched by Iran, was neutralized outside Earth's atmosphere, hinting at the implementation of an exoatmospheric kill vehicle by Israel. This development comes amidst Iran's launch of hundreds of drones and ballistic missiles towards Israel, marking the first direct attack on the Jewish state in retaliation to the April 1 strike on an Iranian diplomatic building in Damascus, Syria.

President Joe Biden revealed that US forces assisted Israel in thwarting "nearly all" of the incoming drones and missiles from Iran, underscoring the gravity of the situation. Biden pledged to rally allies to formulate a unified response to Tehran's aggression.


Deployment of sophisticated multi-layered air defense system 

Israel's stance against the anticipated attack from Iran saw the deployment of a sophisticated multi-layered air defense system, including the Iron Dome, The Arrow, and David’s Sling, all of which were activated in response.

The video showcasing a potential exoatmospheric intercept is speculated to involve The Arrow, a collaborative effort between Israel and the US designed to intercept long-range missiles, akin to those launched by Iran. The Arrow, operating beyond the atmosphere, has previously been utilized to intercept long-range missiles from Houthi militants in Yemen.


Watch the viral video showing an exoatmospheric missile, fired by Iran

While awaiting official confirmation, the possibility of an exoatmospheric intercept represents a significant technological leap for both the Israeli Defence Forces (IDF) and the US, highlighting their joint efforts in developing advanced defense systems. 

Understanding Exoatmospheric Missiles

Exoatmospheric missiles, also referred to as anti-ballistic missiles (ABMs), function outside Earth's atmosphere to intercept and neutralize incoming ballistic missiles during various phases of their trajectory. 


These missiles confront distinct challenges compared to those operating within the atmosphere, necessitating advanced sensor and guidance systems.

Operational Mechanism

The Exoatmospheric Kill Vehicle (EKV), employed in such interceptions, employs a three-stage solid rocket booster to propel itself beyond Earth's atmosphere at near-hypersonic speeds. 


Upon entering space, the vehicle activates its array of sensors and onboard computer to identify and track incoming threats with precision.

Equipped with a rocket motor for intricate manoeuvring in space, the anti-ballistic missile homes in on its target with exceptional accuracy. 


The culmination of its mission involves a high-speed collision with the incoming threat, obviating the need for conventional warheads and enhancing its speed, agility, and accuracy.

16:49 IST, April 15th 2024