A memorandum of understanding on the deployment of the Israeli Arrow 3 air defense system in Germany was signed in Berlin on Thursday, with the defense ministers of both countries describing the agreement as historic.
German Defense Minister Boris Pistorius said in a statement after the signing ceremony that his country cannot wait for a European system to be developed and that air defense “must be taken care of now.”
The Arrow 3 is an exoatmospheric missile defense system capable of shooting down ballistic missiles during the space flight phase of trajectory, but its range of up to 2,400 kilometers also makes it capable of shooting down satellites.
It was jointly developed by Israel Aerospace Industries (IAI) and Boeing and is reported to have a 99 percent interception rate.
However, Arrow 3 is not only protecting Germany, as it is being deployed as part of the so-called European Sky Shield Initiative (ESSI), which also serves European NATO partners. He added that the date of signing the letter of intent for the procurement is “historic without exaggeration.”
Israeli Defense Minister Yoav Gallant echoed similar sentiments, saying that “with two simple signatures, we have made history.”
He added that Germany has always stood up for Israel’s security and Israelis are proud that their country can now help Germany.
He noted that as a descendant of Holocaust survivors, this also means a lot to him personally. Considered the most effective Israeli missile defense system, the Arrow 3 costs roughly €4 billion, and its export is the largest in the history of the Israeli defense industry.
The Israeli-U.S.-developed system is expected to take two years to deploy. The German government is financing the investment from a €100 billion fund earmarked for developing the country’s defense capabilities.