Germany may approve purchase of Israel's Arrow 3 next week – sources

US's recent approval is necessary, but the deal was not finalized.

 Israel's Arrow 3 interceptor.  (photo credit: DEFENSE MINISTRY)
Israel's Arrow 3 interceptor.
(photo credit: DEFENSE MINISTRY)

Germany may approve purchasing Israel’s Arrow 3 missile defense system as early as next week, the Jerusalem Post has learned.

Over the weekend, it was reported, and the Post has confirmed, that the US approved the sale, one of several preconditions for the sale to go through, but not the final step.

In 2022, Germany’s attitude toward defense issues underwent a sea change following Russia’s invasion of Ukraine and Berlin’s recognition that if Moscow turned its military sights on Western Europe, that current defenses would be highly inadequate.

Currently, Germany possesses only the US Patriot missile defense system, which has had mixed results in the field, and is not viewed as necessarily adaptable to all of the many air defense threats countries face in 2023.

This led the German government and the German military to press forward to get approval to purchase the Arrow 3 from Israel, and then later from the US.

 GERMAN BUNDESTAG Defense Committee members visit the Arrow 3 battery. (credit: ELENT) GERMAN BUNDESTAG Defense Committee members visit the Arrow 3 battery. (credit: ELENT)

However, Germany's parliamentary committee which supervises defense issues is meeting next week and must sign off on the deal for it to go forward.

A shift in views

All of German society has seen a shift in views to being more willing to spend on defense following Russia’s invasion of Ukraine, but that does not mean that every item sought is guaranteed to be approved in a country where defense spending has been very low since World War II.

Although there are high hopes now from multiple countries and within elements of Germany that the parliamentary committee will approve the purchase, many are holding their breath until the approval is given.

The issue was sensitive enough that sources insisted on staying anonymous.

Besides the Arrow 3 missile defense system, which is designed to shoot down longer range ballistic missile threats, Germany has also purchased the IRIS-T missile defense system to shoot down shorter-range threats.  

The IRIS-T has been used by Ukraine to shoot down cruise missiles and can also defend against other threats.

Besides the missile defense issue, German Air Force Spokesman Lt. Col. Matthias Boehnke has told the Post that Israel will be delivering Heron drones to Berlin in September or October 2023.

This follows two to three years in which German air force personnel have been at the Israeli Air Force base at Tel Nof training with Heron drone simulators.

Germany has also joined Israel and others in purchasing Lockheed Martin’s F-35 aircraft, with an expected delivery date of 2026, to replace its ageing Tornado class aircraft fleet.

In addition, Boehnke said that German Air Force Chief Lt. Gen. Ingo Gerhartz would travel to the Jewish state for Israeli Independence Day in April along with a joint Israeli-German air force flyover of the Knesset as occurred in 2021.