Senior German politicians are visiting Israel this week for concrete discussions on the possible procurement of Israeli missile defense systems, the Deutsche Presse-Agentur (DPA) reports. Earlier today German newspaper "Bild am Sonntag" had reported that following Russia's invasion of Ukraine, the German government was considering buying Israel's Iron Dome system for defense against short-range rockets, and also its Arrow 3 system for defense against ballistic missiles.
The DPA said that a delegation was arriving in Israel today and would remain until Thursday. The delegation includes Marie-Agnes Strack-Zimmermann, of the centrist Free Democratic Party (FDP) who serves as chair of the Bundestag (German parliament) defense committee. She told the DPA, "Due to the threats and weapons systems that the Russians possess, we must examine options for defending Germany. The Israelis have working systems so it is logical not only to examine the various scenarios but also to procure them immediately. Everything must happen quickly but we must discuss this in a serious way."
Another member of the delegation visiting Israel is Andreas Schwarz, of German Chancellor Olaf Scholz's Social Democratic Party, who speaks for the party on defense matters, and also sits on the Bundestag defense committee. He told, "Bild am Sonntag," "We must defend ourselves better against the Russian threat. For that, we need a protective umbrella for all of Germany. The Israeli Arrow 3 system is a good solution." According to the report Scholz had already discussed the matter at a meeting with General Eberhard Zorn, Inspector General of the German Armed Forces.
Israel's Arrow 3 is still under development in Israel, but has demonstrated its capabilities in a series of successful trials. According to estimates in Germany, procurement of the system - if that proves possible from the point of view of the US and Israel, which are developing it - will cost at least two billion euros. The Germans estimate that it could be operational by 2025.
"Bild am Sonntag," sources estimated that the system's powerful "Green Pine" radar would be deployed at three locations in Germany, from where data would be sent to the NATO Air Forces Combined Air Operations Center in Uedem in the west of the country. Missile interceptor launchers would be stationed at various places around Germany.
The defense sources who spoke to the newspaper said that the radar was so strong that it could also detect missile launches at Romania, Poland, and the Baltic countries. These countries would be able to buy interceptors independently, with Germany supplying the radar picture. "We could 'spread' the use of the system over neighboring countries," Schwarz said, "and Germany would thereby play a central role in European security."
Published by Globes, Israel business news - en.globes.co.il - on March 27, 2022.
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