Patriot anti-missile system 311.
(photo credit: REUTERS)
The air force has approved a set of upgrades for its Patriot missile defense
system that will boost its interception capabilities, IAF sources
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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
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-
“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
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.
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.