Macron opposes German purchase of Arrow 3 missile defence system

By Arie Egozi

French President Emmanuel Macron wants European countries to seek greater independence in airspace defence, while Germany proceeds with its plan to purchase the Israeli combat-proven Arrow 3 air defence system.

Israeli sources say that Macron’s statement is surprising, as the Arrow-3 and other Israeli-made air defence systems are “on the shelf” and can be deployed almost immediately.

“The threat from Russia is real and imminent, and the solution is to deploy combat-proven systems. It’s a question of immediate danger to Europe,” one of the sources said.

Plans for enhanced European air defence capabilities, supported by Germany, have received strong criticism from France. The 17 European countries involved in the so-called European Sky Shield initiative, initiated at the end of last year, include the UK but not France. The initiative aims to integrate into NATO’s systems for air and missile defence.

The Israeli Arrow 3 system is expected to be a component of the German-led proposal, which will also enhance the current capabilities of the US Patriot missile.

As reported by Defence industry Europe, German legislators agreed last week to pay a portion of the approximately 4 billion Euros price tag for Israel’s Arrow 3 air defence system. An initial payment of 560 million euros was approved by the budget committee in the lower chamber of the German parliament.

Designed to intercept missiles above the Earth’s atmosphere, the long-range Arrow 3 system is effective enough to provide cover for nearby European Union member states.

The Arrow 3 air defence system is one of the most advanced of its kind, employed to intercept exo-atmospheric ballistic missiles. The Israel Missile Defence Organization (IMDO) in the Israel Ministry of Defence Directorate for Defence R&D and the United States Missile Defence Agency (MDA) jointly developed the system.

Israel Aerospace Industries (IAI) is the primary contractor for the integration and development of the system, working with additional Israeli and American defence industries.

The system is jointly developed and produced with the United States. As such, the deal required U.S. approval.

Israeli sources said that while official approval has not been granted yet, Washington has signaled to Germany that it can move forward with the deal.

In January 2022, Israel successfully tested an upgraded version of the Arrow 3. The tests were conducted jointly by the Israel Missile Defence Organization (IMDO), its US counterpart the Missile Defence Agency (MDA), and the Israeli armed forces. According to the official announcement, operational radars detected the target and transferred data to the battle management control, which analyzed the data and established a defence plan. After the defence plan was established, two Arrow 3 interceptors were launched toward the target and completed the mission. The targets depicting some of these emerging threats in the test were developed by Israeli firm Rafael and were launched by the Israeli Air Force F-15 over the Mediterranean.




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