Landmark missile defense agreement between Israel, Germany receives US approval


The United States has granted its endorsement for a historic missile defense accord between Israel and Germany, as confirmed by the Israeli Ministry of Defense. This groundbreaking deal involves the sale of Israel’s Arrow 3 missile defense system to Germany for a total value of $3.5 billion.

According to an official statement issued by the Israeli Ministry of Defense on Thursday, high-ranking officials from both the Israeli and German defense ministries are set to solidify the agreement through the signing of a letter of commitment. This step will be accompanied by an initial payment of $600 million.

The Arrow 3 missile defense system, jointly developed by the United States and Israel, boasts exceptional long-range interception capabilities and operates at elevated altitudes beyond the Earth’s atmosphere. Regarded as a top-of-the-line interceptor, this system has garnered acclaim for its innovative design and efficacy.

Israeli Defense Minister Yoav Gallant expressed his enthusiasm for the deal, referring to it as the largest in Israel’s history. He further highlighted that this accord will significantly contribute to Israel’s military strength and economic advancement.

Marie-Agnes Strack-Zimmermann, Chairwoman of the German Bundestag’s Defense Committee, welcomed the US approval of the agreement. She conveyed her relief and emphasized that the Arrow 3 missile defense system is slated to become operational by the close of 2025, effectively becoming an integral part of a comprehensive European air defense system.

One notable aspect of the Arrow 3 system is its capability to operate in the stratosphere, at altitudes as high as 100 kilometers (60 miles). This remarkable feature sets it apart as the first anti-ballistic system with such capability. Strack-Zimmermann underscored that this system’s implementation would enhance the security of not only Germany but also neighboring countries against potential airborne threats.

The approval for this acquisition was previously granted by the Bundestag’s Budget and Defense committees in June. The collaboration between Israel Aerospace Industries and Boeing Co has resulted in the creation of the Arrow 3 system, which fills a crucial gap in higher-layer air defense protection.

Given the shortage of ground-based air defense systems exposed by the conflict in Ukraine, the Arrow 3 system assumes greater significance. While existing systems like Raytheon’s Patriot units and the IRIS-T provide medium-layer defense, the Arrow 3 system’s unique design targets the higher layer of defense, intercepting ballistic missiles beyond the Earth’s atmosphere.

The Arrow 3 system employs a detachable warhead that intercepts the target, effectively neutralizing ballistic missiles outside the planet’s atmosphere. This design ensures the safe disposal of non-conventional warheads.

Anticipated in November, the signing ceremony between Israel and Germany for the Arrow 3 missile defense system sale marks a pivotal step toward bolstering regional security and strengthening bilateral ties.

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