Israel will deploy a fourth battery of the Iron Dome counter-rocket defense
system in the coming months and will take delivery of the new David’s Sling
missile defense system over the coming year, head of the Israel Air Force’s Air
Defense Division Brig.-Gen. Doron Gavish said Wednesday.
spoke to The Jerusalem Post ahead of the division’s largest-ever draft of
soldiers needed to fill the ranks of its increasing number of units and
“A new recruit who joins the Air Defense Division is
enlisting into a division that plays a strategic role in defending the country,”
The IAF currently operates three Iron Dome batteries which
have successfully intercepted dozens of rockets over the past year fired from
the Gaza Strip.
“The numbers will continue to grow and another battery
will become operational in the beginning of the year,” he said.
Defense Division has undergone a transformation over the past two years. Under
Gavish’s leadership, the division changed its name from the “Anti-Aircraft
Forces” to the “Air Defense Division,” and received a new insignia aimed at
underlying how its role has shifted from traditional air defense to include
Soldiers in the division are split over a number of
missions, including traditional air defense – the division has downed 100 enemy
aircraft throughout Israel’s wars – as well as preventing 9/11-style aerial
terror attacks and missile defense. Its soldiers operate the Arrow ballistic
missile defense system, the Patriot and the Iron Dome.
Some of the
soldiers drafted this week will become part of the division’s new battalion
which will operate the David’s Sling defense system, designed to intercept
medium-range missiles and rockets.
David’s Sling is also designed to
defend against cruise missiles, such as those under development in Iran to carry
Gavish said that components of the system will
be delivered to the IAF over the coming year but that it would not be declared
operational until 2013.
Yossi Druker, head of Rafael’s Air-to-Air
Directorate, said that Israel will hold its first interception test of the
David’s Sling by April. He said that Rafael and the Defense Ministry recently
concluded a series of successful navigation and flight tests of the
“We proved that we have the ability to control the missile and
maneuver it to where it needs to go,” he said.