The time-dependent ion current density was measured in a hot refractory anode vacuum arc (HRAVA) sustained between a consumed water-cooled cylindrical Cu cathode and non-consumed cylindrical W anodes with thickness d 5, 10, 15, 20, or 30 mm separated by an h 10 mm gap. Arc currents of I 130, 150, 175, and 200 A were applied for a period of 90 s. Ion current density J i extracted from the plasma was measured using a probe located at varying distances from the electrode axis. The active surface of the probe was oriented to be either perpendicular or parallel to the radially expanding plasma to measure the directed or random component of J i, respectively. J i started at arc ignition and grew slowly, passed through a peak, and reached a final steady state level. This level increased with arc current and decreased with probe distance. The time to reach the steady state decreased when d was decreased from 30 to 5 mm, for I 200 A from 48 to 12 s and for I 150 A from 69 to 20 s, and weakly depended on probe orientation. J i to the perpendicular probe significantly exceeded that for the parallel orientation.