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US Okays sale of Israel’s Arrow anti-missile system to Germany

Israel said the United States has given the green light for the sale of the Israeli Arrow 3 missile defence system to Germany, clearing the way for a landmark defence deal.

According to the Israeli Defence Ministry, the $3.5 billion agreement will be the country’s largest ever defence deal.

The Israeli government was notified by the US Department of State on Thursday “that the US government has approved Israel’s request for Germany to procure the Arrow 3 missile defence system from Israel,” a Defence Ministry spokesperson said in a statement.

Israel’s ambassador to Berlin, Ron Prosor, spoke of “a historic day.

“For the first time, an Israeli system will protect the skies of Germany and Europe as a whole,” he posted on X, formerly known as Twitter.

German Defence Minister Boris Pistorius welcomed the US decision, saying “the project also represents a sign of our special German-Israeli relations.”

The procurement project was essential to protect Germany from ballistic missile attacks in the future, he said.

“In addition, we are making a contribution within the framework of the NATO alliance. We want to integrate the system into NATO air defence.”

The US approval was seen as the last major hurdle to the historic deal between Germany and Israel. Negotiations on the sale of the Arrow 3 defence system, which was jointly developed by Israel and the US, began following Russia’s war against Ukraine.

The agreement now needs to be signed by the Defence Ministries of the two countries and Israel Aerospace Industries, the country’s major aerospace and aviation manufacturer, the statement said.

This is expected to happen in the next few days or weeks, and the ceremony is planned to take place in Germany, said Mosche Patel, who is responsible for missile defence at the Israeli Defence Ministry.

A completely new infrastructure with new personnel will be built for the defence system that will be delivered to Germany, Patel said.

Initial operational capability of the system is planned by 2025, with full operational capability by 2030, he said, adding that the Israeli Air Force will be involved in the process.

Israeli Defence Minister Yoel Galant spoke of a “significant decision, which will contribute to Israel’s force build-up and economy.

“It is also particularly significant for every Jewish person that Germany is buying an Israeli defence system,” he said.

The chair of the German parliament’s Defence Committee, Marie-Agnes Strack-Zimmermann, said she is “very relieved” about the US decision to greenlight the deal.

“What makes it special is that it is the first anti-ballistic system that can also be used in the stratosphere, i.e. at an altitude of 100 kilometres,” Strack-Zimmermann told dpa on Thursday.

The German parliament’s Budget and Defence Committees had voted in favour of the purchase in June.

The money for the purchase is to come from the €100 billion ($108.7 billion) special defence fund passed by Germany shortly after Russia invaded Ukraine in February 2022 to address urgent shortcomings in its military.

Arrow 3 is a top tier weapon of Israel’s multi-stage missile defence system and can destroy attacking weapons at an altitude of more than 100 kilometres. The system consists of a command post, radars, launchers and the missiles.

On Germany’s initiative, it is set to become part of the European defence system.

However, the move is not viewed positively everywhere in Europe.

France’s President Emmanuel Macron recently issued an urgent warning to European partners against simply procuring what is currently available.

In order to prevent useless systems from being bought by non-European manufacturers, a European strategy debate is needed first, he said.

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According to Macron, it must also be considered that any decision in favour of a non-European system would have a negative impact on European industry and could affect Europe’s strategic sovereignty.

There are numerous European solutions in all key segments of air defence, he said.

The procurement of Arrow 3 does not meet any of the goals set for allies in the NATO Defence Planning Process, German academic Lydia Wachs recently said in an analysis for the German Institute for International and Security Affairs.

The only Russian system that resembles a medium-range ballistic missile is the Kinschal missile. In Ukraine, however, it has been proven that it can also be intercepted by existing Patriot defence systems.



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