The US and Israel have approved the sale of Arrow 3 interceptor for longer-range threats, and the sides are set to discuss further details, the Jerusalem Post newspaper reported on Tuesday, citing senior German air force official Ingo Gerhartz.
The purchase of the air defense system “starts with the approval of Israel and the United States and they gave us the approval,” Gerhartz told the newspaper.
“They gave us the approval that we can cooperate on it. But, we still have to talk about the details,” the official was quoted as saying.
Additionally, Germany is interested in buying the Iron Dome system because it is used for repelling short-range threats, the newspaper added.
“And for higher interceptors, we have the Patriot weapons system that we will modernize. If it means [threats at a range of ] 15,000km and then it is exoatmospheric we don’t have anything and that is why I had a close look at the Arrow 3 and we are really interested in the system,” the official said.
Earlier, as The EurAsian Times reported, German Chancellor Olaf Scholz and Inspector General of the Bundeswehr Eberhard Zorn had discussed the possibility to acquire the Arrow 3 missile defense system from Israel.
Such a purchase would cost Germany 2 billion euros and the anti-ballistic missile system would enter into service in 2025, according to Bild Newspaper. The defense system could cover Poland, Romania and the Baltics, thanks to the strong radars.
The Israeli Defense Ministry announced in January that it had conducted successful flight tests of the Arrow 3 missile defense system, designed to intercept ballistic missiles outside of the Earth’s atmosphere, together with the US.
The Arrow Missile Family
Israel has always been at the vanguard of producing the most powerful air defense systems in the world in view of constant threats from its belligerent neighbors.
Israeli companies have developed one of the most compelling air defense systems – ‘Iron Dome’, to protect the nation from missile and rocket artillery attacks. The tiny country has also equipped itself with a multi-layered BMD (Ballistic Missile Defense) shield comprising Arrow 2, Arrow 3, Barak-8, Iron Dome, and laser-based Iron Beam.
The Arrow 2 and 3 missiles, which form the Israeli defense shield’s top layer, were both jointly developed by Israel Aerospace Industries (IAI) and Boeing. They are part of the Arrow Weapon System (AWS), the world’s first operational, national, stand-alone Anti Tactical Ballistic Missiles (ATBM) defense system.
Both missiles are designed to operate in the atmosphere, as well as in outer space – endo and exo-atmospheric capabilities. The development of Arrow 2 was prompted by Gulf War-era threats.
Its production began in 2000, while the production of the Arrow 3 only began in 2016. Arrow 3 was used to intercept a surface-to-air missile fired from Syria in March 2017.
In line with their decades-long history of cooperation in developing the AWS, the US and Israel, in February 2021, announced they would jointly move forward with the design and development of the next-generation Arrow 4 air defense system.
In July, IAI and Lockheed-Martin inked a memorandum to cooperate on developing the Arrow 4 missile. This projectile is intended to replace the Arrow 2 in handling lower-flying short- and medium-range ballistic missile targets.
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