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Germany to procure Arrow, IRIS-T air-defence systems

The Bundestag's budget committee on 14 June approved the procurement of the Arrow Weapon System and Arrow 3 missiles for the Bundeswehr. (IAI)

The budget committee of the Bundestag, Germany's parliament, on 14 June approved the procurement of six IRIS-T SLM (Surface Launched Medium Range) ground-based air defence (GBAD) systems and the Arrow Weapon System (AWS), including missiles.

Germany plans to sign a letter of commitment with the Israeli government by the end of 2023 on the procurement of the AWS and Arrow 3 missiles, with a planned initial operational capability by the fourth quarter of 2025, the German Ministry of Defence (MoD) said on its website on 15 June. This will require the Israeli government to make advance payments and commission the building of production capacity “in a timely manner”, speeding up the procurement process by six months, according to the German MoD.

The Arrow procurement is aimed at filling Germany's capability gap in territorial missile defence of its population and critical infrastructure. It will strengthen NATO air-defence capabilities, according to the German MoD, which noted that the AWS consists of a command-and-control post, radar systems, launchers, and missiles and is capable of detecting and intercepting ballistic missiles and destroying them outside the Earth's atmosphere with a hit-to-kill capability.

The German MoD said IRIS-T is combat proven in Ukraine, where it is used to defend the civilian population and infrastructure from Russian air attacks. The Bundeswehr is training Ukrainian military personnel on the system in Germany.

The Bundestag budget committee approved spending up to EUR950 million (over USD1 billion) of the EUR100 billion Zeitenwende special fund approved after the Russian invasion of Ukraine on IRIS-T, including missiles, qualification, and certification, with deliveries of the system beginning in 2024.

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