David's Sling defense system 370.
(photo credit: Defense Ministry)
Israel and the US in recent days successfully tested the David’s Sling defense
system, designed to stop medium-range rockets and cruise missiles, bringing the
country a step closer to having an active defense shield against Hezbollah’s
arsenal of projectiles.
In the test, a David’s Sling battery stationed in
southern Israel fired a two-stage interceptor missile and stopped an incoming
The David’s Sling is a missile defense system currently under
development by Rafael in Israel and Raytheon in the US and is designed to fill
the gap between Iron Dome’s short-range protection and the Arrow 2 long-range
ballistic missile defense program. It is also capable of acting as a back-up to
the Arrow 2, by intercepting incoming threats that manage to slip through the
The system would defend against Iranian missiles such
as the M600, the Zelzal, Fajr and Fateh 110 deployed heavily in Hezbollah hands
in Lebanon as well as other missiles with a range between 70 and 300 kilometers.
It is slated to become operational in 2014.
It is being jointly developed
by the Defense Ministry, the US Missile Defense Agency, Rafael Advanced Defense
Systems and the American defense contractor, Raytheon.
Ehud Barak congratulated those involved in the test, adding that David’s Sling
would form a significant part of Israel’s multi-layered missile defense
“The major success of Iron Dome batteries in Operation Pillar of
Defense clarifies beyond all doubt the huge importance of missile defense
programs. The State of Israel is a world leader in this field, thanks to its
Israeli defense industries and their people,” Barak added.
A source in
Israel’s defense industries said David’s Sling was originally scheduled for live
trials in 2013, and that this was brought forward “given the general sense of
The missile threat to Israel varies, but the IDF estimates
there are about 200,000 rockets and missiles pointed in its direction from Iran,
Syria, Hezbollah and Hamas.
Israel is currently concerned with the
possibility of an attack from Syria. One scenario under consideration is that
Syrian President Bashar Assad will try to divert attention away from his brutal
onslaught against his own people by sparking a confrontation with Israel. In
such an event, the firing of Scud missiles at Israel is considered
David’s Sling uses the Stunner interceptor, fitted into a
launcher that can hold 16 missiles. It works together with an advanced
phased-array radar made by Israel Aerospace Industries. The system can also be
formatted to defend Israel’s skies against enemy aircraft.
will operate within Israel’s multi-tiered missile defense system, protecting the
country from medium-range threats. The Iron Dome system aims to intercept
short-range missiles and rockets, while the country’s Arrow and eventually Arrow
3 seek to intercept long-range missiles and ICBMs.Yaakov Katz and Reuters
contributed to this report.