The complex, as conceived by the German military, should become the central part of the initiative of German Chancellor Olaf Scholz to create a pan-European air and missile defense system.
Scholz first presented his idea in a speech at the end of August at the Charles University in Prague. He invited NATO allies to support his plan in any way they could. The impetus for the initiative, according to General Mullner, was the deployment of Russian Iskander operational-tactical missiles in the Kaliningrad region, just 530 kilometers from Berlin.
Müllner explained that the gap in Germany's defenses was due to the fact that “10 to 12 years ago nobody thought about going to war with an equal opponent. The planners at the Department of Defense were focused on conflicts like Afghanistan and never considered going to war against an enemy with significant air capability. But now a completely new situation has developed, and the protection of our own airspace has become an obvious value. ”
However, not only Russian missiles and powerful aircraft prompted the German chancellor to create a unified missile defense and air defense system. Some European countries have been building their own air defense systems for several years now. And Berlin intends to stand at the head of the European process - the habit of considering itself the "locomotive" of Western Europe has worked.
Poland will receive the first firing module of the short-range air defense system based on the MBDA missile (CAMM) with a range of more than 25 kilometers at the end of September, and the second at the end of the year.
Latvia and Estonia signed an agreement of intent in June on the joint purchase of an air defense system, but have not yet decided which one.
In September, Tallinn and Warsaw signed an agreement on the joint purchase of PIORUN short-range man-portable air defense systems developed in Poland.
Finland has abandoned Rafael's previously chosen Israeli David's Sling and IAI's Barak MX systems and intends to make a final decision in 2023.
The Netherlands wants to purchase 96 GEM-T missiles for the American Patriot air defense system, which has been in service with the Dutch military since 1987. In late July, it was announced that the US State Department had approved a proposed sale worth about $1.2 billion.
For the time being, the Czech Republic is satisfied with the Swedish JAS-39 Gripen fighters as air defense systems, including the airspace of Slovakia. The Czechs will probably fly over the former Soviet republic until the end of 2023, when Slovakia receives American F-16 fighters.
Why exactly the Israeli Arrow-3 ballistic missile interceptors attracted the attention of Berlin is difficult to say. Perhaps a reluctance to become too dependent on American supplies played a role. It is possible that this is another gesture of reconciliation with the Jews, whom Germany mercilessly exterminated during the war years.
In any case, in choosing the Israeli system, we are not talking about a strong qualitative and price gain. For about two billion euros, the Germans will get a good system for intercepting ballistic missiles outside the atmosphere, but not the best.
Arrow-3 was created by Israel Aircraft Industries and the American concern Boeing. The collaboration began in 2012. Last December, the final tests were held, which were recognized as successful - two missiles were hit by two targets that imitated Iranian and Syrian missiles.
Unlike the Arrow-1 and Arrow-2 complexes, the new system uses a kinetic destruction warhead. The second stage of the rocket allows Arrow-3 to fly twice as far as its predecessor Arrow-2. A seven-meter rocket is capable of hitting targets at an altitude of up to 100 kilometers. The defeat is carried out by a direct hit. The new anti-missile system differs from previous versions in greater maneuverability. To do this, the developers equipped it with a thrust vectoring engine.
The Arrow-3 complex includes an advanced Super Green Pine radar (“Great Green Pine”) with an active phased antenna array. It was created by the Israeli company Elta Electronic Industries. The radar significantly increased the likelihood of early detection and destruction of enemy missiles. According to the characteristics declared by the company, the radar is capable of simultaneously detecting a large number of air targets at a distance of up to 900 kilometers and under any weather conditions.
It was planned that the Arrow-3 complex would go into service with Israel in 2015, but the tests continued for several more years. In Israel, the Arrow-3 complex is considered as the third component of the country's multilayer air defense system. It will replace the Arrow-2 missiles and will have to complement the Iron Dome ("Iron Dome") and "David's Sling".