Germany advancing planned purchase of Israel’s Arrow 3 for $4.3 billion — report

German lawmakers asked to release advance payments to secure deal with Israel for long-range missile defense system

Emanuel (Mannie) Fabian is The Times of Israel's military correspondent

Israel and the United States carry out a successful test of their advanced Arrow 3 missile defense system on January 22, 2019. (Missile Defense Organization/Defense Ministry)
Israel and the United States carry out a successful test of their advanced Arrow 3 missile defense system on January 22, 2019. (Missile Defense Organization/Defense Ministry)

Germany is advancing plans to purchase Israel’s Arrow 3 anti-ballistic missile system for some 4 billion euros ($4.3 billion), the Reuters news agency reported Saturday.

According to the report, citing German finance ministry procurement documents, German lawmakers will be asked to release advance payments of up to 560 million euros ($600 million) next week in order to secure a government-to-government deal with Israel of the Arrow 3 system at the end of the year.

The Arrow 3 is currently Israel’s most advanced long-range missile defense system, meant to intercept ballistic missiles while they are still outside of the Earth’s atmosphere, taking out projectiles and their nuclear, biological, chemical or conventional warheads closer to their launch sites.

Germany has sought to purchase the Arrow 3 system from Israel for more than a year now. It came up in a meeting in April between Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu and German Chancellor Olaf Scholz.

Should the deal fail, Germany would lose all or part of its advance payments, Reuters reported, citing the government documents. The money would be used to compensate Israel.

In April, Israeli and German officials launched “advanced” discussions on the sale of the Arrow 3 system.

The Arrow 3 missile defense system, which was delivered to the Israeli Air Force on January 18, 2017. (Defense Ministry)

Israel’s Defense Ministry said that as the system was co-developed with the United States, the export process to Germany was contingent on the approval of Washington.

Germany has been seeking to bolster defenses amid Russia’s invasion of Ukraine.

Last year, Andreas Schwarz of Scholz’s SPD party, who sits on the parliamentary budget committee, said: “We must better protect ourselves against the Russian threat. To do that, we need quickly an anti-missile shield for Germany.”

“The Israeli Arrow 3 system is a good solution,” he told Bild daily at the time.

The Arrow 3 was developed in a joint project between Israel’s Defense Ministry’s Missile Defense Organization and the American Missile Defense Agency. Work is underway on the development of a yet more advanced system, the Arrow 4.

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