Arrow 3: This missile defense system is under discussion for Germany

economy armament project

Germany’s missile defense is empty and the successor will not be operational until at least 2025

“Iron Dome is a proven and relatively inexpensive system”

The federal government is considering the establishment of an “Iron Dome”, a missile protection shield for Germany. Specifically, it is said to be the Israeli “Arrow 3” system. Dr Marcus Keupp, military economist at ETH Zurich, evaluates this possibility.

Within minutes, Russian Iskander missiles can reach cities in Germany. A defensive screen is practically non-existent. It should now be built. The American-Israeli Arrow 3 defense system is under discussion, which would mean a qualitative leap.

AAttacks on Ukrainian cities with rockets, cruise missiles and hypersonic weapons: Russian President Vladimir Putin shows what arsenal his army has at its disposal. It becomes clear what experts have been warning for a long time: Germany would not have full protection in the event of such a threat. It should probably change. In the future, Germany should also be able to fight long-range ballistic missiles, using the US-Israeli Arrow 3 defense system.

During a consultation between Chancellor Olaf Scholz (SPD) and Bundeswehr Inspector General Eberhard Zorn, a possible purchase of this defense system in connection with the € 100 billion special fund was recently discussed, reports “Bild am Sonntag” .

In a figurative sense we speak of an “iron dome”, that is an “iron dome”, over Germany. There is also an Israeli missile defense system with this name. But this is to defend against smaller, rather simple short-range missiles and not long-range missiles.

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Arrow 3, on the other hand, with a range of over 100 kilometers and an altitude of 100 kilometers, could even shoot down missiles with nuclear or conventional warheads that fall on Germany from space.

According to reports from “Bild am Sonntag”, the defense system would cost around two billion euros, could be operational as early as 2025 and also protect other areas of Europe such as the Baltic states or Poland. So far, Russian Iskander missiles could also reach German cities in minutes. However, experts agree that Germany’s full protection is hardly possible. Threat scenarios are too complex for that.

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When it comes to air defense and missile defense, experts speak of interception layers, i.e. the distance and height at which attackers are detected and destroyed. The range of threats and defense systems toolbox spans short, medium and long range systems.

Germany has been considering a new missile defense system for over 15 years. For years the Federal Ministry of Defense has negotiated, for example, the tactical air defense system (TLVS) for the “lower interception layer” for protection from helicopters, aircraft, drones, cruise missiles, short and medium range missiles. .

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The German branch of the European guided missile company MBDA has submitted several offers together with the US company Lockheed Martin. There have been repeated delays and the costs are said to have been eight billion euros. Germany also suspended procurement in 2020 due to high costs.

Shortly after the start of Russia’s war of aggression in Ukraine, MBDA Germany chief Thomas Gottschild explained in the WELT interview that the main thing now is to increase the number of Patriot air defense systems as quickly as possible and thus expand the capacity in a second pass. MBDA-Lockheed’s proposal for TLVS is to grow alongside US manufacturer Raytheon’s Patriot system.

The number of Patriot systems decreased from 36 to 12

The number of Patriot defense systems since the fall of the Berlin Wall has dropped from 36 to twelve. Rockets are meant to protect so-called high-value targets, such as nuclear power plants.

Behind the air and missile defense there are also the major economic interests of the armaments companies because billions are at stake. Depending on the type, a Patriot missile is said to cost between two and three million dollars.

An Arrow 3 system interceptor is worth $ 3 million and a smaller Iron Dome system interceptor approximately $ 35,000 to $ 50,000. With Diehl Group’s Iris-T interceptor missile in Nuremberg, Germany would also have a system for countering short- and medium-range threats that is cheaper than a Patriot missile.

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The Arrow 3 missile system, which Germany is now evaluating, is being developed by the Israeli arms group IAI together with the US company Boeing. Modern Green Pine radar is used to detect attackers.

According to the main speaker of the Defense Budget Committee, Andreas Schwarz (SPD), the radar systems could be installed in three locations in Germany for the missile protection shield. They could then send their data to the Uedem Air Operations Center in North Rhine-Westphalia, from where, in an emergency, rockets could be fired from launchers deployed throughout Germany. The protective umbrella could also cover Poland, Romania and / or the Baltic states. Neighboring countries would then have to purchase Arrow-3 missiles and the radar image would be provided by Germany.

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