Germany, in the rearmament phase since the Russian invasion of Ukraine, approved on Thursday the purchase of the Arrow-3 anti-missile defense system from Israel, a “historic” agreement which should also contribute to securing the European skies.
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The Arrow system, expected to be delivered in 2025, will “prepare German air defense for the future,” German Defense Minister Boris Pistorius said at the signing of the trade deal in Berlin with his Israeli counterpart Yoav Gallant.
“It is, without exaggeration, a historic day for our two nations,” said Mr. Pistorius.
Israel had presented this contract, worth an estimated $3.5 billion, as “the largest ever signed” by Israel, of which the defense industry is a flagship sector.
This agreement is “moving for every Jew”, coming “only 80 years after the end of the Second World War” and the “tragedy of the Holocaust”, declared Mr. Gallant for his part.
The Arrow system is developed and manufactured by Israel Aerospace Industries (IAI) in collaboration with American aircraft manufacturer Boeing.
Arrow-3, the upper level of this anti-missile system, is intended to intercept missiles above the atmosphere with a range of up to 2,400 km.
This weapon thus has a range significantly greater than that of the American Patriot air defense system and the IRIS-T system used until now in Germany.
Berlin plans to add the Arrow device to these two systems to form its European anti-missile shield project, launched by Olaf Scholz after the start of the Russian invasion in Ukraine.
This initiative has so far brought together 19 countries but not Poland, Italy or France, the latter advocating another strategic and industrial approach based on European equipment.
With Arrow-3, “Israel makes a very important contribution to our security in Germany, to our security in Europe, to the security of our airspace”, which is important “in the current threat situation”, insisted Mr. Pistorius .
Since the beginning of 2022, Germany has embarked on a historic turning point after several decades of underinvestment in its defense, committing a fund of 100 billion euros to the German army.
Once this fund is exhausted, budgetary efforts will have to continue if Berlin wants to devote 2% of its GDP to defense, like the great NATO powers.