For a total of EUR 4 billion, the Federal Republic of Germany plans to purchase an Israeli missile defense system with Arrow 3 exoatmospheric interceptors. Germany is considering purchasing the system to defend against Russian intercontinental ballistic missiles (ICBMs) carrying nuclear, chemical, biological or conventional warheads. In order to finance the acquisition, the German federal government intends to ask the parliament for an advance payment of EUR 560 million as early as June 15. The delivery date is 2025, and the final agreement is anticipated to be completed by the end of 2023. The contract will be the biggest in Israel’s defense industry’s history.
Negotiations between Israel and Germany regarding the purchase of the Arrow 3 complex have been ongoing for at least a year. German Chancellor Olaf Scholz officially expressed an interest in purchasing the system during his meeting with former Israeli prime minister Naftali Bennett. Following the meeting, 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).
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 Israel Aerospace Industries (IAI) and Boeing, it is overseen by the Israeli Ministry of Defense’s “Homa” (Rampart) administration and the U.S. Missile Defense Agency.
Stark, a U.S.-based subsidiary of Israel Aerospace Industries, was chosen to manufacture canisters for the Arrow 3, and made the first delivery in September 2018. Arrow 3 also serve as an anti-satellite weapon, which would make Israel one of the world’s few countries capable of shooting down satellites.
The Arrow 3 patented exoatmospheric interception method includes a two-stage interceptor, like the Arrow 2, but purely based on hit-to-kill technology. Unlike most kill vehicles, which use liquid or gas propulsion, the new Israeli kill vehicle will be propelled by an ordinary rocket motor equipped with a thrust-vectoring nozzle. It provides exo-atmospheric interception of ballistic missiles (during the space-flight portion of their trajectory). 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).