Why is Germany going to spend €4 billion for nothing on Israel's Arrow 3 anti-missile system?

In March 2022, the German site Bild revealed that the country's authorities were interested in the Israeli IAI's Arrow 3 anti-ballistic missile system, as part of the rapid reinforcement of defensive capabilities enabled by the Zeitenwende, an exceptional envelope of 100 €bn dedicated to strengthening the Bundeswehr announced on February 27, 2022, 4 days after the start of the Russian offensive against Ukraine.

A few months later, at the end of August, the German Chancellor Olaf Scholz presented, on the occasion of the speech given in Prague, the European Skyshield initiative, bringing together 14 European nations, and aimed at creating a common anti-aircraft and anti-missile defense based on 3 weapon systems: the German Iris-T SLM, the American Patriot PAC-3 as well as the Arrow 3 Israeli.

Negotiations with the Israeli IAI, but also the American Boeing, which contributed significantly to the design of the Arrow 3, have been carried out with flying drums since, Berlin having revealed in mid-June 2023 the next payment of an advance of €560m on the €4.3bn € that will cost the acquisition of this system, presented as the ultimate anti-missile shield capable of protecting Germany from the Russian threat, but also the members of European Skyshield.

The Arrow 3 system was designed to contain the threat of Iranian MRBMs like the Shahab-3 pictured here, or the Ghadr-110.
The Arrow 3 system was designed to contain the threat of Iranian MRBMs like the Shahab-3 pictured here, or the Ghadr-110.

The performances and capabilities of the Arrow 3 anti-missile system

Designed to respond to the threat of Iranian medium-range and intermediate-range ballistic missiles, the Israeli system is capable of intercepting ballistic trajectory vectors in the exo-atmospheric domain, i.e. above 100 km altitude.

A specialist to counter Iranian MRBM and IRBM missiles

Its capabilities are in fact perfectly adapted to deal with the Iranian medium-range ballistic missiles MRBM (Medium Range Ballistic Missile) Ghadr-110 with a range of 2000 km with an apogee of 150 km, as well as to contain, in the descending phase, the intermediate range Shahab-5 missiles IRBM (Intermediate Range Ballistic Missile) with an announced range of 4000 km with an apogee at 400 km.

However, Russia has no ballistic system of this type to date. Indeed, constrained like the United States by the INF treaty which prohibited the design and implementation of missiles with a range of 500 to 5.500 km, Russian forces currently only have systems located at these two ends.

But useless against Russian SRBM and ICBM missiles

These are on the one hand intercontinental ballistic missiles ICBM (inter-Continental Ballistic Missile) such as the Yars or Sarmat, and SLBM missiles (Sea Launched Ballistic Missile) launched from submarines such as the Bulava, all having a range greater than 10.000 km and a trajectory impossible to contain by the Arrow 3, and on the other, short-range SRBM (Short-Range ballistic Missile) Iskander M missiles and its airborne version Kinzhal.

The Iskander-M system has a range of 500 km and a semi-ballistic trajectory allowing it to evolve at an altitude between 50 and 60 km too low for the Arrow 3

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