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Berlin hopes for agreement on joint air defense in mid-October, defense minister says

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BERLIN — Germany aims to strike a deal with other NATO partners about the establishment of a joint missile defense at a meeting in mid-October, Defence Minister Christine Lambrecht told Reuters.

“At the next NATO ministers’ meeting, we hope to reach agreement regarding a joint air defense,” she said in an interview conducted on Wednesday and published on Friday.

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NATO defense ministers will next meet in Brussels Oct. 13-14.

Lambrecht said she could not give details on the partners involved as the talks were not completed yet.

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She confirmed, however, that she sees Israel’s Arrow 3 missile defense system, built by Israel Aerospace Industries (IAI), as a good candidate.

“We already talked with Israel and the United States, and it is no secret that Arrow 3 certainly is a system that could fill the gap in our capabilities,” Lambrecht said, adding negotiations were not completed yet.

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.

U.S. defense giant Lockheed Martin produces a rival system called THAAD.

In April, Germany’s Chief of Defence Eberhard Zorn said Berlin was considering buying a missile defense system from Israel or the United States to defend against threats such as Russian Iskander missiles deployed to Kaliningrad that can reach almost all of western Europe. (Reporting by Sabine Siebold and Sarah Marsh; Editing by Toby Chopra)

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