David's Sling air defense system to deploy for trial period

The new defense system, built to intercept short-range to medium-range rockets and missiles, has three times the coverage range of the Iron Dome.

November 30, 2014 10:59
2 minute read.
David's Sling

The David's Sling air defense system intercepts target during flight test. (photo credit: THE MISSILE DEFENSE AGENCY (MDA))

The David’s Sling air defense system will soon be deployed for a trial period, before becoming operational, the IDF said.

David’s Sling can intercept short-range to medium-range rockets and missiles, including Hezbollah’s Katyusha rockets. Its range of coverage is three times that of the Iron Dome anti-rocket defense system.

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The system will be deployed in various areas around Israel for a trial period, the IDF added.

After that, David’s Sling will also be set up to intercept hostile aircraft and missiles with longer ranges. Eventually, it should be able to intercept incoming cruise missiles as well.

St.-Sgt. Maj. Yishai Rosenberg, head of the David’s Sling branch at the air force’s Equipment Squadron, said the most important aspect of David’s Sling is its integration into the existing layers of air defenses.

“It should be allowed to work with other interception systems,” Rosenberg said.

David’s Sling will also be linked up to the Home Front Command’s command and control systems, which provide civilian projectile alerts and information to air defense systems.

David’s Sling will also have its own independent interception management center, from where orders will go out on future interceptions of aerial threats.

David’s Sling interceptor missiles can broadcast sensory information in real time.

Before becoming fully operational, David’s Sling must undergo two further trials, which examine its ability to shoot down missiles.

The IAF will soon begin the first training program for technicians from the Air Defense Command who will eventually be assigned to David’s Sling.

In November 2013, the Defense Ministry and the US Missile Defense Agency held a successful test of David’s Sling, in which a ballistic missile was shot down and destroyed.

Yair Ramati, of the Defense Ministry’s Administration for the Development of Weapons and Technological Infrastructure, said at the time that the trial was a “very complex procedure,” adding that David’s Sling is slated to become a defensive “workhorse” against large, powerful rockets and missiles that threaten Israel’s major cities.

Ramati said that radar systems act as the system’s eyes, the command and control center are its brain, and the interceptors are its arms.

“What’s special about it is that it knows how to intercept from a low altitude to a fairly high altitude in the atmosphere, covering a wide range of territory which unfortunately I can’t cite,” Ramati stated.

After a ballistic missile was fired, a David’s Sling MMR (multi-mission radar) identified it and passed along its trajectory to the fire management system, which calculated a defensive interception.

An interceptor was then fired, striking and destroying the target successfully.

David’s Sling is being developed by Rafael Advanced Defense Systems in cooperation with the American Raytheon company, while its MMR radar was built by Elta, a subsidiary of Israel Aerospace Industries, and its command and control center was designed by Elisra, a subsidiary of Elbit Systems.

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