AP / September 28, 2023
BERLIN – Germany and Israel on Thursday signed an agreement for Berlin to buy the sophisticated Arrow 3 missile defense system, designed to intercept long-range ballistic missiles. The development is the latest step in Berlin’s bid to strengthen its air defenses following Russia’s invasion of Ukraine.
Germany aims to integrate the system into wider NATO air defense efforts. Last year, Berlin launched the European Sky Shield Initiative, which now includes 19 countries.
Israel secured U.S. approval in August for the $3.5 billion deal, which was needed because the system was jointly developed with the United States.
German Defense Minister Boris Pistorius and his Israeli counterpart Yoav Gallant signed a memorandum of understanding in Berlin on Thursday for the purchase of Arrow 3.
“It is, without exaggerating, a historic day for both our countries,” Pistorius told reporters, describing Arrow as “one of the best systems, if not the best.”
“We see from the daily Russian attacks on Ukraine how important air defense is in general,” he added. “Air defense is essential, and particularly for us here in the center of Europe.”
Germany plans to start using Arrow in late 2025, with the system then being built up step by step.
Gallant said that “with two simple signatures today, we made history” and that Israel is “committed to a timely and effective delivery.”
“This is a moving event for every Jew,” he added, pointing to Israel’s partnership with Germany decades after the Holocaust and to German contributions to Israel’s security.
“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.
Germany, Israel sign ‘historic’ $3.5bn missile shield deal
Al-Jazeera / September 28, 2023
Israel’s Defence minister hails ‘joining hands’ with Germany ‘in building a safer future’ just 80 years after the Holocaust.
Germany has signed a deal to acquire the Israeli-made Arrow 3 hypersonic missile system that will become a key part of Europe’s defence against air attack.
The signing of the deal in Berlin on Thursday was a “historic day” for both countries, German Defence Minister Boris Pistorius said at a news conference alongside his Israeli counterpart Yoav Gallant.
Worth about $3.5bn (3.3 billion euros), the sale is the biggest ever deal for Israel’s military industry.
The Arrow 3 system would make “German air defence ready for the future”, Pistorius said.
Germany has led a push to bolster NATO’s air defences in Europe after Russia’s full-scale invasion of Ukraine last year, urging allies to buy deterrence systems together.
“We can see with the daily Russian attacks on Ukraine how important anti-air defence is,” Pistorius said.
The signing of the deal was a “moving event for every Jew”, looking back at the events of the Holocaust, Gallant said.
“Only 80 years since the end of the second world war yet Israel and Germany join hands today in building a safer future,” he said.
The long-range Arrow 3 system, designed to shoot down missiles above the Earth’s atmosphere, is powerful enough to offer protective cover for neighbouring European Union states.
The system was developed and produced by Israel and the United States and the sale had to be approved by Washington before it could be finalized.
The system was first deployed at an Israeli air force base in 2017 and has been used to protect Israel against attacks from Iran and Syria.
Arrow 3 is a “mobile system” that can be deployed depending on the threats faced, according to manufacturer Israel Aerospace Industries.
A landmark fund
The money for the deal comes from a landmark 100-billion-euro ($105bn) fund unveiled by German Chancellor Olaf Scholz to bolster the country’s defences in the wake of Russia’s invasion of Ukraine.
More than a dozen European countries have so far signed up to Germany’s common air defence project, the European Sky Shield Initiative.
The Sky Shield project would involve joint procurement for short-, medium- and long-range systems, including the German-made IRIS-T, the American Patriot system and Arrow 3.
Some of Germany’s neighbours have however so far declined to sign up to the pact, including France and Poland.
Officials in Paris have argued instead for an air defence system using European equipment.
Berlin has said it expects the Arrow 3 system to be delivered in the final quarter of 2025.