Second David's Sling missile fell in Syria without hitting target

Israel to boost missile defense spending by NIS 30 billion over next 10 years

July 25, 2018 07:55
2 minute read.
Second David's Sling missile fell in Syria without hitting target

The launching system is seen on an inactive version of Israel's air defense system, David's Sling, jointly developed with the United States, at a media event during a joint exercise between the two counties in Hatzor air base near Tel Aviv February 25, 2016. (photo credit: REUTERS/AMIR COHEN)


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A second David’s Sling interceptor missile landed in Syria without hitting its target, a SS-21 Tochka tactical ballistic missile, it was cleared for release on Tuesday.

Two of the half-ton surface-to-surface missiles were launched by the Syrian Arab Army Monday as part of its offensive against rebels along the border with Israel’s strategic Golan Heights.

The decision to intercept them was made by a lieutenant colonel when it was believed that their trajectory would see them fall south of the Sea of the Galilee in northern Israel.

When the system determined that neither would hit Israeli territory, one of the interceptor missiles was ordered to self-destruct over Israel’s southern Golan Heights. The second David’s Sling interceptor missile meanwhile fell inside Syria without intercepting the second SS-21.

The IDF estimates that one SS-21 missile fell inside Syria one kilometer from the border with Israel after its final impact point changed while the missile was mid-flight.

The Russian made SS-21 Tochka tactical ballistic missile, which has a range of approximately 160 km., has been extensively used in Syria’s seven-year civil war. Last year Moscow delivered 50 of the short-range ballistic missiles to the port of Tartus.

The David’s Sling, also known as “Magic Wand,” became operational last April and is designed to intercept tactical ballistic missiles and medium- to long-range rockets, as well as cruise missiles fired at ranges between 40 to 300 km.

It was the first operational use of the system.

David’s Sling is a joint Israeli-US project, with Israel’s Rafael Advanced Defense Systems collaborating with American defense contractor Raytheon, which also produces the Patriot missile system. Other components of the system were developed by Elta – a subdivision of Israel Aerospace Industries (IAI) – which developed the system’s radar, and the Elisra subdivision of Elbit Systems, which developed the command and control mechanisms.

Israel’s air defenses also include the Iron Dome, designed to shoot down short-range rockets, and the Arrow system, which intercepts ballistic missiles beyond the Earth’s atmosphere.

On Tuesday it was reported that Israel’s security cabinet is set to approve a NIS 30 billion plan to improve the country’s missile defense system over the next decade.

According to Ynet News, the plan would see an increase of the IDF’s missile arsenal as well as developing and purchasing advanced defensive measures and protection for the home front.

The plan would see NIS 3 billion allocated per year on missile defenses between 2019 and 2028. The funding would reportedly come equally from the existing defense budget and the Finance Ministry.

According to the Ynet report, secret discussions regarding the plan have been held in recent months by Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu, Finance Minister Moshe Kahlon, Defense Minister Avigdor Liberman, IDF Chief of Staff Gadi Eisenkot, the heads of the National Security Council, and other senior defense establishment officials.

A senior Defense Ministry official, however, called the report a “gimmick” in anticipation of the next elections.

“No serious discussion has yet occurred,” the official said. “There is no agreement. No serious discussions have yet taken place,” he added, and those discussions which have taken place have been limited to the issue in principle. The official noted NIS 8.3 billion has been slashed from defense spending.

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