Germany, Britain, Slovakia, Norway, Latvia, Hungary, Bulgaria, Belgium, Czechia, Finland, Lithuania, the Netherlands, Romania, and Slovenia on Thursday signed a letter of intent indicating their plan to jointly purchase Israel’s Arrow3 defensive system, as well the US-made Patriot system, Reuters reported.
The Arrow 3 interceptor is part of the Israel Aerospace Industries (IAI) Arrow Weapon System, the world’s first operational stand-alone Anti Tactical Ballistic Missiles defense system. Based on the uniquely effective Arrow 2 and Arrow 3 interceptors, the Arrow modular air defense system detects, tracks, intercepts, and destroys incoming TBMs carrying a range of warheads and over a large footprint, thereby protecting strategic assets and population centers.
According to the IAI, the innovative Arrow 3 interceptor is designed to intercept and destroy the newest, longer-range threats, especially those carrying weapons of mass destruction.
According to Reuters, the signing ceremony took place at NATO’s headquarters in Brussels.
Deutsche Welle reported last March that Israel’s successful record of shooting down thousands of Hamas rockets during the Gaza clashes of May 2021 “heightened the allure of missile defense” as Russia was launching missile volleys indiscriminately at Ukraine’s civilian centers. Chancellor Olaf Scholz confirmed at the time that “we have to be prepared for everything, seeing that we have a neighbor that is prepared to use violence to carry out its interests.”
Many more missiles have been launched by Putin’s failing army since March, and when Prime Minister Yair Lapid visited Berlin in mid-September, he and Scholz discussed a €2.5 billion purchase of Israeli-made anti-missile defense systems, according to a report in Maariv.
According to Maariv columnist Ben Caspit, “in September 2022, Lapid was introduced to a new Germany, which is under the deep influence of the dramatic changes taking place throughout Europe. He entered Sholtz’s office with the Iranian card in his hand and met a country leader completely immersed in the war in Ukraine, preoccupied and anxious about its horrifying consequences for the European reality and the entire world order. This is exactly how Berlin and other European capitals see what is happening in the world after February 24––the day of Russia’s invasion of Ukraine.
“Lapid met a head of state who sees Russia’s conduct not only as a threat to the high European standard of living but to the entire institution of Western democracy. One day in the winter of 2022, the complacent Europeans woke up to the reality of war in Ukraine, and realized that the familiar and good world has collapsed, and a new and challenging reality must be acknowledged.”
The Arrow 3 can intercept ballistic missiles, especially those carrying weapons of mass destruction, at altitudes of over 60 miles, and greater ranges. It can also be ship-based.
Arrow 3 is faster than the Arrow 2 and slightly smaller, weighing nearly half, but the IAI is trying to market both weapons as complementing each other in field operations, using the same launch system. Each Arrow 3 unit costs between $2 and $3 million.
A battery of Arrow missiles can intercept more than five ballistic missiles within 30 seconds. Arrow 3 can be launched into an area of space before it is known where the target missile is going. When the target and its course are identified, the Arrow interceptor is redirected using its thrust-vectoring nozzle to close the gap and conduct a “body-to-body” interception.
According to Prof. Yitzhak Ben Yisrael, former director of the Israeli Administration for the Development of Weapons and Technological Infrastructure and currently the chairman of the Israeli Space Agency, the Arrow 3 can also be used to attack satellites.
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