Israel’s Defense Ministry has begun talks to sell an advanced missile defense system to Germany. Although Israel has long had close economic and military ties with western European countries, the latest deals could draw the attention of Russia. The Associated Press reported that the announcement came two weeks after Israel said it was selling another missile defense system to NATO’s newest member, Finland. Israel has repeatedly rebuffed requests to sell arms to Ukraine for fear of antagonizing Russia. Germany has chosen the Israeli defense system over its rival, the US-manufactured Terminal High Altitude Area Defense (THAAD) by Lockheed Martin Corp.
Germany has previously expressed interest in the “Arrow 3,” a system designed to intercept long-range missiles outside the atmosphere and been pushing to coordinate a European air defense system with some 15 countries. Israeli Defense Minister Benny Gantz contacted the US administration to ask for its approval of the sale. However, the request was rejected, even after several attempts. US approval is mandatory, considering US taxpayers have covered 80 percent of the project’s budget, investing up to $2.2 billion in research and development efforts towards Israel Aerospace Industries (IAI).
Israel and Germany’s Defense Ministries and Israel Aerospace Industries, have launched discussions regarding the drafting of an agreement for the procurement of the Arrow-3 system. pic.twitter.com/nEUeJ5e63M
— Israel Aerospace Industries (@ILAerospaceIAI) April 20, 2023
The Arrow 3 or Hetz 3 is an exoatmospheric hypersonic anti-ballistic missile, jointly funded, developed and produced by Israel and the United States. Undertaken by IAI and Boeing, it is overseen by the Israeli Ministry of Defense’s “Homa” administration and the U.S. Missile Defense Agency. It provides exo-atmospheric interception of ballistic missiles, including intercontinental ballistic missiles (ICBMs) carrying nuclear, chemical, biological or conventional warheads. With divert motor capability, its kill vehicle can switch directions dramatically, allowing it to pivot to see approaching satellites. The missile’s reported flight range is up to 2,400 km (1,500 mi).
The Arrow 3 may serve as an anti-satellite weapon, which would make Israel one of the world’s few countries capable of shooting down satellites. The new component will also require the integration of longer range detection, tracking and discrimination capability, beyond what the “Green Pine” and “Super Green Pine” radars employed with the Arrow 2 are providing. Among the advanced sensors considered for Israel’s future multi-tier system, are airborne electro-optical sensors deployed on high flying unmanned aerial vehicles and future enhanced “Green Pine” radars, as well as the AN/TPY-2 radar already deployed in Israel, and operated by U.S. forces. The multibillion-dollar development program of the Arrow is a joint development between Israel and the United States.