IAF upgrading Patriot missile defense system

Upgrades will include the installation of new software as well as hardware changes to the radar system that accompanies the system.

July 10, 2011 03:46
2 minute read.
Patriot anti-missile system in Haifa in 2006

Patriot anti-missile system 311. (photo credit: REUTERS)


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The air force has approved a set of upgrades for its Patriot missile defense system that will boost its interception capabilities, IAF sources say.

The upgrades will include the installation of new software as well as hardware changes to the radar system that accompanies the system, which Israel first received from the United States ahead of the First Gulf War in 1991.

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The upgrades will enable the IAF to one day receive PAC-3 missiles, a more advanced version of the interceptor currently used by Israel that is already in service in the United States.

The PAC-3 is believed to be capable of intercepting most of Syria's missiles. It is an improved version of the PAC-2 in terms of coverage and lethality.

The PAC-3 has an interceptor missile that uses a hit-to-kill system rather than an exploding warhead used by the PAC-2. The PAC-3 missile is also smaller, so using it 16 missile could be fired from Israel’s current launchers instead of just four PAC- 2 interceptors.

“The upgrades will see improvements in the system’s ability to detect and intercept missiles that could not have intercepted before,” an IAF source said.


The Patriot serves as Israel’s defense system against medium-range missiles, while the Iron Dome anti-rocket system is used against short-range ones and the Arrow-2 is designed to intercept long-range ballistic missiles.

The IAF plans to replace the Patriot with the David’s Sling, a missile system under development by Rafael Advanced Defense Systems and the Massachusetts-based Raytheon Company to defend against Iranian missiles such as the M600, Zelzal, Fajr and Fateh 110 that Hezbollah in Lebanon has, as well as against other missiles with ranges between 70 and 300 kilometers.

The IAF plans to establish a battalion that will operate the David’s Sling in the near future, so it will be ready to receive the missile defense system in 2012 when it is expected to become operational.

David’s Sling uses an interceptor called Stunner, fitted into a launcher that can hold 16 missiles. It works together with an advanced phased-array radar made by Israel Aerospace Industries.

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