Israel’s Ministry of Defense announced that Israel will sign a landmark $3.5 billion defense agreement with Germany – Israel’s largest defense deal ever.
The U.S. State Department notified Israel’s defense establishment on Thursday that the U.S. government had approved its request for Germany to procure the Arrow-3 missile defense system from Israel.
Israeli Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu said the deal goes way beyond the sale of the exceptional system.
“Today is an historic day. Israel has signed the largest security deal in its history. However, it is not just a security deal; Israel is selling the sophisticated Arrow-3 missile to Germany,” Netanyahu said in a statement.
“Seventy-five years ago, the Jewish People had been ground into ash on the soil of Nazi Germany. Seventy-five years later, the state of the Jews is giving Germany, a different Germany, the tools to defend itself,” he said. “What Israeli pride; what a historic turnaround.”
Israel has had close economic and military ties with Western European countries for a long time. But this deal could draw the attention of Russia. Israel has maintained working relations with Russia throughout the war in Ukraine and has declined to send arms to Kyiv for fear of antagonizing Russia.
The Arrow-3 Missile defense system is designed to intercept exo-atmospheric ballistic missiles. It is said to have exceptional, long-range interception capabilities and operates at high altitudes above the atmosphere.
Considered the top interceptor of its kind, the system employs a hit-to-kill approach for intercepting incoming threats, Israel’s Defense Ministry says.
The Arrow 3 system is co-developed and co-produced by the Israel Missile Defense Organization (IMDO) and the United States Missile Defense Agency (MDA). The industrial team is led by Israel Aerospace Industries (IAI).
Germany launched a joint European air defense system, called the European Sky Shield Initiative, with 17 other nations last year after Russia invaded Ukraine.
German Defense Minister Boris Pistorius welcomed the U.S. approval allowing the deal to go ahead.
“This procurement plan is essential for us in order to be able to protect Germany from ballistic missile attacks in the future,” he said in a statement posted by his ministry on the social platform X, formerly known as Twitter. The project also constitutes a signal of our special German-Israeli relations.”