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Israel says US approves record-breaking Arrow missile defense deal to Germany

By Benjamin Brown

(CNN) — The US has approved Israel’s request to sell the Arrow-3 missile system to Germany, the Israeli defense ministry said Thursday, in what will become Israel’s largest ever defense deal.

The approval paves the way for Israel and Germany to sign a landmark $3.5 billion defense agreement, according to the Israeli defense ministry.

Israeli officials had been informed of the approval by the US Department of State on Thursday, according to a spokesperson for Israel’s Ministry of Defense.

Israel and the United States have been jointly developing the multi-billion-dollar Arrow missile defense system since 1986.

The Arrow 3 system is designed to intercept exo-atmospheric ballistic missiles, enabling interceptions at high altitudes above the atmosphere.

Senior Israeli and German officials will sign a letter of commitment worth $600 million to enable immediate work on the project, the Israeli ministry spokesperson said. A full contract will be signed once the agreement has been approved by both countries’ respective parliaments.

Defense Minister Yoav Gallant called the US approval “an expression of confidence in the excellent capabilities of Israel’s defense industries” and a reflection of US-Israeli “powerful defense ties.”

Gallant added that the decision would “contribute to Israel’s force buildup and economy” and that Germany acquiring Israeli defense systems was “meaningful to every Jewish person.”

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