Yair Lapid  Olaf Scholz
Yair Lapid, Israel's prime minister, left, and Olaf Scholz, Germany's chancellor, during a news conference at the Chancellery in Berlin, Germany, on Monday, Sept. 12, 2022. Image Credit: Bloomberg

Berlin: Germany is in talks to buy the Arrow 3 missile defence system from Israel as part of Berlin’s efforts to strengthen its armed forces after Russia’s attack of Ukraine, Israeli Prime Minister Yair Lapid said on a visit to the German capital on Monday.

Germany has ramped up its military spending after Russia sent troops into Ukraine in February, while shipping aid and heavy weapons to Kyiv as part of an international response.

“Israel ... will play a part in building Germany’s new defence force, mainly in the field of air defence,” Lapid told reporters, speaking alongside German Chancellor Olaf Scholz.

“... it has to do with our total commitment to the safety of Germany, to the safety of Europe, to the ability of liberal democracies to defend themselves,” he added.

Lapid described their talks as leading to a “future possible deal” but declined to outline the cost. Scholz said Germany would strengthen its defences by buying more air defence systems in the future and called the Arrow 3 system a “high-performance offer” but also declined to go into specifics.

Arrow 3 interceptors are designed to fly beyond the earth’s atmosphere, where their warheads detach to become “kamikaze” satellites, or “kill vehicles” that track and slam into the targets. Such high-altitude shoot-downs are meant to safely destroy incoming nuclear, biological or chemical missiles.

One German government source told Reuters: “Yes, there is the plan to buy Arrow 3, but nothing is signed.” The two leaders also discussed the stuttering efforts to revive a 2015 nuclear agreement with Iran, with Scholz urging Tehran to not turn down proposals made by Europe.

Lapid was also due to visit the site of the 1942 Wannsee Conference that laid out the “final solution” - the plan by Nazi Germany to exterminate the Jews - later on Monday.