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US greenlights “Landmark” Arrow 3 Missile Defense Deal between Israel and Germany

In a significant move, the United States has granted approval for Israel to sell its advanced Arrow 3 hypersonic missile defense system to Germany. The landmark deal, valued at $3.5 billion, represents the largest military agreement between the two countries and marks a historic step in international defense collaboration.

The Arrow 3 system, jointly developed by Israel and the United States, is designed to intercept and neutralize ballistic missiles in the Earth’s upper atmosphere. Israel’s defense ministry announced that the US State Department had officially given the green light for Germany to acquire the Arrow 3 system.

The agreement will see the Israeli Ministry of Defense, the German Federal Ministry of Defense, and Israel Aerospace Industries (IAI) come together to finalize the deal. A preliminary payment of $600 million will be made, with senior officials from both nations set to sign a letter of commitment.

Highlighting the system’s capabilities, the Israeli defense ministry emphasized the Arrow 3’s exceptional long-range interception abilities, functioning at high altitudes above the atmosphere. The system utilizes a hit-to-kill approach, ensuring effective interception of incoming threats.

Israeli Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu hailed the deal as a historic turning point, underlining the significance of providing Germany with defense tools in light of the past. German Defense Minister Boris Pistorius welcomed the agreement, recognizing the importance of Arrow 3 in safeguarding Germany from potential ballistic missile attacks.

The Arrow 3 system is capable of intercepting ballistic missiles fired from distances of up to 2,400 kilometers (1,490 miles), according to Israel Aerospace Industries. The system’s mobility allows for adaptation to changing threat scenarios, enabling Germany to tailor its defense strategy according to its specific requirements.

Moshe Patel, director of the Israel Missile Defense Organization, explained that Germany’s interest in the Arrow 3 system extended beyond national defense. He noted that other European nations were closely observing the deal, hinting at broader interest in the system’s capabilities.

The agreement solidifies Israel’s position on the global stage as a significant player in the realm of defense technology. IAI president Boaz Levy highlighted the system’s flexibility, making it adaptable to various threat environments.

The final contract is anticipated to be signed by the end of 2023, pending approval from the parliaments of both Germany and Israel. Germany expects the delivery of the Arrow 3 system to take place in the final quarter of 2025.

The decision by Germany to acquire the Arrow 3 system aligns with a broader European effort to enhance NATO’s air defenses in response to escalating regional security challenges. As more European nations join initiatives like the European Sky Shield, the collaboration between Israel, the United States, and Germany sets a precedent for strengthening collective defense mechanisms on a global scale.

Arrow 3: Advanced Exoatmospheric Hypersonic Anti-Ballistic Missile
The Arrow 3, also known as Hetz 3, stands as a pioneering exoatmospheric hypersonic anti-ballistic missile system that showcases the culmination of collaborative efforts between Israel and the United States. Jointly funded, developed, and produced by Israel Aerospace Industries (IAI) and Boeing, the Arrow 3 represents a significant advancement in missile defense technology, offering exceptional capabilities to intercept and neutralize ballistic missiles during their space-flight trajectory.

Specifications Overview:

  • Type: Exoatmospheric hypersonic anti-ballistic missile
  • Place of Origin: Israel
  • Designer: Israel Aerospace Industries
  • Manufacturer: Israel Aerospace Industries, Boeing
  • Operational Range: Up to 2,400 km
  • Flight Ceiling: Above 100 km
  • Maximum Speed: Hypersonic
  • Guidance System: Inertial Navigation System (INS) gimbaled seeker
  • Steering System: Thrust vectoring
  • Launch Platform: Rapid launch fortified underground silos

Development and capabilities
The Arrow 3 system utilizes a two-stage engine configuration and leverages advanced hit-to-kill technology. Propelled by an ordinary rocket motor equipped with a thrust-vectoring nozzle, it achieves its high-speed intercept capability. The missile is equipped with a gimbaled seeker for comprehensive hemispheric coverage, allowing for precise course adjustments relative to the target’s flight path. The system’s agility and divert capability reduce the dependency on detection and tracking systems.

With an exoatmospheric interception range of over 100 km and a speed classified as hypersonic, Arrow 3 is designed to intercept and neutralize ballistic missiles carrying various payloads, including weapons of mass destruction. Its versatility extends to ship-based deployment, enhancing its operational flexibility.

Operational use and potential applications
Arrow 3 holds the potential to serve as a formidable anti-satellite weapon, highlighting its multifaceted capabilities beyond traditional missile defense. The system’s mobility and advanced intercept technology enable effective defense against a variety of threats, making it an indispensable asset in safeguarding national security.

Production, deployment, and exports
Stark, a subsidiary of Israel Aerospace Industries based in the U.S., has been entrusted with manufacturing components for the Arrow 3 system. Deployment of the system includes strategic locations equipped with launchers capable of intercepting salvos of ballistic missiles within seconds.

Internationally, Arrow 3’s significance is underscored by its export potential. Notably, Germany has embarked on a landmark defense agreement to acquire the Arrow 3 system, marking the most substantial defense purchase in Israel’s history. This partnership demonstrates the system’s appeal in countering emerging security challenges, solidifying its position as a cutting-edge solution for missile defense.

In a rapidly evolving global security landscape, the Arrow 3 system exemplifies the collaborative prowess of Israel and the United States, ushering in a new era of advanced missile defense technology.

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