Germany gets green light to purchase Israel’s Arrow 3 missile defense system

Israel’s most advanced defense system may be sold to another country for the first time.

By David Hellerman, World Israel News

Germany obtained Israeli and U.S. approval to purchase the Arrow-3 missile defense, the Jerusalem Post reported on Wednesday. The authorization means Israel’s most advanced defense system may be sold to another country for the first time.

Developed with the U.S., the Arrow missile defense system is capable of intercepting intercontinental ballistic missiles in outer space. It is said have a range of 2,400 km (1,490 miles).

The head of the German Air Force, Lt.-Gen. Ingo Gerhartz, explained Berlin’s interest in the Arrow-3 to the Post.

“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,” Gerhartz said.

“[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.”

The Israeli-US agreement to develop the Arrow system requires mutual consent before the system can be transferred to a third country. According to the Post, the system is co-managed by the Israel Missile Defense Organization (IMDO) in the Directorate of Defense R&D of the Israel Defense Ministry along with the US Missile Defense Agency.

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A State Department official told The Post that “The United States strongly supports Germany’s efforts to defend itself from missile threats. This is doubly so given the Russian Federation’s premeditated, unprovoked and unjustified further invasion of Ukraine.”

Defense Ministry and Israeli Aerospace Industries officials did not comment.

According to a Haaretz report ahead of the approval, “the export version is expected to exclude classified components, allowing Israel to retain its qualitative military edge without sharing its secrets.”

The Post cited a report in Germany’s Bild am Sonntag, the procurement of the system, which is still under development, will cost at least $2.18 billion and would be operational by 2025.

It added that the Green Pine radar system would be set up in three locations in Germany and send data to NATO’s Air Force Combined Air Operations Center in Uedem, Germany.

In the wake of Russia’s invasion of Ukraine in February, Germany boosted its defense spending to $112.7 billion. That put Berlin in line with a NATO demand that its defense budget be two percent of Germany’s gross domestic product (GDP).

The Arrow is the most technologically complex part of Israel’s three-tiered missile defense system. Iron Dome protects Israel from short-range threats such as rockets and missiles fired from the Gaza Strip. David’s Sling counters medium-range threats such as cruise missiles and drones.