Israel confirmed the “landmark” sale of the Arrow 3 hypersonic missile defense system to Germany on Thursday, in the country’s single biggest military deal worth $3.5 billion.
The Arrow 3 system — an interceptor designed to down ballistic missiles above the Earth’s atmosphere — is jointly developed and produced by the Israel and the United States.
The latter’s approval was sought and given for the deal to proceed.
Israel’s defence ministry said in a statement the U.S. State Department had notified it of the Pentagon’s approval for Germany to procure the Arrow 3 system.
“The Israeli Ministry of Defence, German Federal Ministry of Defence, and Israel Aerospace Industries will sign the landmark $3.5 billion defence agreement, marking Israel’s largest ever defence deal,” it said, AFP reports.
The ministry added senior officials from the Israeli and German defence ministries would sign a letter of commitment to the deal with a preliminary payment of $600 million.
“With its exceptional long-range interception capabilities, operating at high altitudes above the atmosphere, (the Arrow 3) stands as the top interceptor of its kind,” it said. “The system employs a hit-to-kill approach for intercepting incoming threats.”
Israeli Defence Minister Yoav Gallant, quoted in the statement, called the agreement “the largest in Israel’s history.”
The Arrow system was developed and produced by Israeli Aerospace Industries (IAI) in partnership with Boeing with an input of some U.S. finance.
The Arrow 3 can intercept ballistic missiles fired from a distance of up to 1,490 miles, according to IAI.
The system was first deployed in an Israeli air force base in 2017 and has been used to protect Israel against attacks from Iran and Syria.