Israel holding advanced talks with Germany on sale of Arrow 3

Export of long-range missile defense system requires Washington’s approval due to US involvement in its development

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

An image of Israel and the US's test launch of the Arrow 3 missile defense system on July 28, 2019. (Defense Ministry)
An image of Israel and the US's test launch of the Arrow 3 missile defense system on July 28, 2019. (Defense Ministry)

Israeli and German officials this week launched discussions on the potential sale of Israel’s Arrow 3 anti-ballistic missile system to the European nation.

“The advanced negotiations were launched this week in Germany, with the aim of drafting a detailed agreement for the delivery of the Israeli Arrow 3 system to the German Ministry of Defense,” the Israeli Defense Ministry said in a statement on Thursday.

Germany has sought to purchase the Arrow 3 system from Israel for at least a year now.

As the system was co-developed with the United States, the export process to Germany is contingent on the approval of Washington, the ministry noted.

“We look forward to a fruitful negotiation process in the weeks ahead of us,” said the ministry’s Missile Defense Organization head Moshe Patel.

Germany’s desire to purchase the Arrow 3 system also came up in a meeting last month between Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu and German Chancellor Olaf Scholz.

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 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.

It was developed in a joint project between the 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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