The David's Sling interceptor launches. (MOD)
David's Sling missile defense system

With looming threats from Hezbollah and Iran, Israel tested David’s Sling, a new anti-missile defense system, with great success. 

Israel’s Ministry of Defense announced Wednesday that its latest missile interceptor system, known as David’s Sling, will likely become operational in the near future, having passed a series of tests.

David’s Sling was created to intercept short- and medium-range missiles and rockets, joining the Iron Dome and other systems in providing another layer of protection against ballistic projectiles.

Once it withstands a final set of tests, the system will be declared operational in the coming months and will be turned over to the Israel Air Force (IAF), which will be entrusted with its operation.

The latest trial, the fourth in a row of such tests, was conducted out of a base in central Israel. It tested several potential scenarios that Israel is expected to face in case of an actual conflict.

The David’s Sling radar identified a target that was launched from afar by an F-16 fighter. The radar relayed the information to the fire control center. An interceptor was launched and destroyed its target as planned.

Yair Ramati, head of the HOMA directorate at the Defense Ministry’s Administration for the Development of Weapons and Technological Infrastructure, told Israel’s Ynet that the “system is intended in its first edition to intercept – with one look – the core threats from Lebanon.”

Ramati emphasized the close US-Israel cooperation on the project. “The trials were attended by the American representatives who are full partners in the project. We have even asked for an increase in the aid budget for next year in all matters related to stocking the interceptor missiles, parts of which are manufactured here, with other parts made in a factory in the USA,” he said. Israel’s Rafael Advanced Defense Systems Ltd. is developing the system in cooperation with the American Raytheon.

Double the Range of Iron Dome

He stressed that David’s Sling was effective for up to double the range of the Iron Dome missile defense system. “Using David’s Sling, we can protect wide swaths of the State of Israel, regardless of where the Iron Dome batteries are deployed, allowing it to keep defending from the threat of [short-range] rockets as part of a synchronized system.”

David’s Sling, unlike the Iron Dome system, is capable of intercepting missiles far from their intended targets rather than over the cities where they were fired.

The intercepting system is considered revolutionary in comparison with others. One official involved in its development said that its capabilities were “science fiction up until now.” David’s Sling’s defensive capabilities will include the ability to intercept Iranian missiles, which have become a growing threat in the past months.

“The success of the test consists of an important milestone in Israel’s operational capabilities to defend itself against pending threats in the region,” the Ministry of Defense stated.

By: Aryeh Savir
Staff Writer, United with Israel

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