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 missile.

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 Arrow’s defenses.

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.



Defense Minister 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 program.

“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 urgency.”

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 possible.



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.

David’s Sling 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.

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