Reuters reported over the weekend that Germany’s plans to buy Israel’s Arrow-3 long-range missile defense system for around $4.3 billion were finally moving forward.
However, The Jerusalem Post has learned that the next step in this process – German lawmakers’ release of advance payments of up to €560 million next week– is still only “most likely” and not yet a done deal.
What is causing delays?
Though the US approved the deal in principle back in March, it still has not given its final signature – and this, along with questions raised by the German parliament in March on the deal, could still delay either the next step or later steps in the process.
These delays may have pushed back the originally-planned visit of German Air Force Chief Lt.-Gen. Ingo Gerhartz, who was supposed to visit Israel in April.
On March 6, the Post reported that Germany might approve the purchase as early as mid-March.
Since then, however, the list of questions issued by the German Parliament delayed the final approval, even as many of the preparations for effectuating the sale, presuming it goes through, will be able to continue in parallel.
Last year, 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, 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 military to press forward on the approval to purchase Arrow 3 from Israel, and then later from the US.
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 this 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.
Sources have insisted on staying anonymous due to the volatile nature of the issue.
If all goes as planned, Germany will take physical possession of new Arrow 3 batteries near the end of 2025.