Israel inks largest defense deal in its history

“Only 80 years since the end of the Second World War, yet Israel and Germany join hands today, in building a safer future, for both nations,” Gallant said.

By JNS and World Israel News Staff

Israeli Defense Minister Yoav Gallant on Thursday in Berlin signed an agreement to provide Israel’s Arrow 3 missile defense system to Germany. At an estimated value of $3.5 billion, the deal is the largest of its kind in Israel’s history.

The first missile battery, including radar, launch and interception management systems, is to be supplied to the Germans by Israel Aerospace Industries (IAI) by the fourth quarter of 2025.

Germany is the first foreign purchaser of the system.

At the onset of a celebratory ceremony, held at the German Ministry of Defense in Berlin and hosted by Minister of Defense Boris Pistorius, the ministers signed a joint declaration expressing their shared commitment to strengthening defense ties between their countries.

This was followed by a brief signing ceremony during which the Director General of the Israel Ministry of Defense Eyal Zamir, and the Director-General of the Federal Office of Bundeswehr Equipment, Annette Lehnigk-Emden, signed the letter of commitment necessary to proceed with the Arrow-3 agreement.

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The letter discusses a commitment that amounts to $600 million, and will enable the parties to begin working on the project immediately.

“The “Arrow-3 for Germany” is the biggest agreement signed to date, and we are committed, to a timely and effective delivery. This agreement is tangible evidence that Israel and Germany are true partners,” Gallant said in a statement.

“Just as it [Arrow-3] guards Israel’s skies and saves lives, now it will also defend Germany and its citizens, and may integrate smoothly, with NATO systems.”

“The Iranian fingerprint is everywhere – from the 100,000 missiles provided by Iran to Hezbollah in Lebanon, to the weapons used for terror attacks against Israelis, and the missile attacks on our Gulf neighbors,” he added.

“The Iranian UAVs used to kill innocent civilians around the world serve as a preview for what the world will see if the missile embargo will expire next month. Iran will have a free pass to spread advanced missiles around the world.”

Arrow 3 is the upper-tier layer of Israel’s missile defense program, designed to intercept ballistic missiles during the exoatmospheric portion of their trajectory, at altitudes above 100 kilometers (62 miles). It became operational in Israel on Jan. 18, 2017.

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In June, German lawmakers approved advanced payments of up to €560 million ($606 million) for the system.

The primary contractor for the integration and development of the system is IAI, working with additional Israeli and American defense firms.

German Chancellor Olaf Scholz made an initial request for the system in a meeting with then-Prime Minister Naftali Bennett in March 2022, with Israel working behind the scenes since to persuade Washington to allow the sale.

The system, among the most advanced of its kind, was jointly developed by the Israeli Missile Defense Organization and the U.S. Missile Defense Agency, and therefore required American approval to sell to a third party.

The U.S. gave the green light on Aug. 17.

The European Leadership Network (ELNET), an NGO working to strengthen ties between Israel and E.U. countries, said on Thursday that it welcomed the historic signing of the purchase agreement, which it said “brings Europe closer to Israel in the fight against similar challenges and the protection of citizens.”

ELNET was a “direct partner” in the effort, organizing a visit by a delegation of representatives of the Bundestag’s security committee in the winter of 2022 who “were impressed for the first time by the Arrow 3 system,” according to the group.

In August, Germany’s ambassador to Israel, Steffen Seibert, told JNS that Arrow 3 “will add a very substantial element to our military relationship. It will also make it more of a two-way street, a development that began already with the German use of Israeli drone systems to protect our soldiers in foreign missions.”

Seibert said while the system will first and foremost protect Germany, ultimately the idea is “to integrate the system into European air defense, so Arrow 3 will also protect neighboring European countries.”