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Germany in talks with Israel for Arrow 3 missile defense system buy

Arrow 3 for Germany
Illustration: Israel Aerospace Industries file photo of an Arrow 3 interceptor

Germany is discussing a possible purchase of the Israeli-developed Arrow 3 missile defense systems, the heads of the two states confirmed following a meeting on Monday.

While neither German Chancellor Olaf Scholz nor Israel’s Prime Minister Yair Lapid provided much information, they both hinted that talks are taking place.

Speaking to reporters, Scholz noted that, nudged by the Russian aggression, Germany set aside a special fund that would include 100 billion euros for investments in the security of Germany.

“We would also like to work together with Israel, for example in the field of air defense, where Israel has a very powerful offer with the Arrow 3 system,” Scholz said.

“Israel, for its part, will play a role in building Germany’s new defense capabilities, especially in air defense,” Lapid added.

“Some might say that the military partnership between Germany and Israel is an irony of history, but I think that reflects the fact that we have learned the necessary lessons from the past. Words alone cannot stop evil. Liberal democracies must be willing and able to defend themselves. Sometimes you have to defend freedom by force.”

The Arrow weapon system, jointly developed by Israel’s Missile Defense Organization (IMDO) and the US Missile Defense Agency, is a central part of Israel’s multi-layered defense array. The defense array is based on four layers: Iron Dome defense system, David’s Sling weapon system, the AWS Arrow-2 and Arrow-3 interceptors.

As the uppermost layer of Israel’s air defense, Arrow 3 is designed to intercept ballistic missiles outside of the earth’s atmosphere.

A video released by the US Missile Defense Agency illustrates how the Arrow 3 is envisioned to engage tactical ballistic missiles over the Earth’s atmosphere.

Israel is also developing Arrow 4, a new interceptor missile that will address a wide range of evolving threats and eventually replace the Arrow 2 interceptors over the coming decades.

This is not the first time a possible German purchase of the Arrow 3 is coming into spotlight. In April this year, Jerusalem Post reported that Israel had approved Germany’s purchase of the missile defense system.

The report also quoted the German Air Force chief, Lt.-Gen. Ingo Gerhartz who said Germany received approval from the US and Israel for the procurement.

“The Iron Dome is used for short-range threats, and we have quite a capable industry back home, and we will procure systems for that. And for higher interceptors, we have the Patriot weapons system that we will modernize. [But] if it means [threats at a range of ] 15,000 km. [9,320 miles] and then it is exo-atmospheric, we don’t have anything, and that is why I had a close look at the Arrow 3 and we are really interested in the system,” Jerusalem Post quoted Gerhartz as saying.

While both Scholz and Lapid confirmed talks are underway, neither of them provided a possible cost estimate for such a purchase.