David's Sling successfully intercepts missile for first time
Israeli, U.S. missile defense agencies complete successful test of the David's Sling system by intercepting medium-range missile • David's Sling to provide Israel with additional layer of protection against ballistic missiles, Defense Ministry says.
Lilach Shoval and Israel Hayom Staff
The David's Sling anti-missile system fires its Stunner missile to intercept an incoming rocket.
Photo credit: Defense Ministry
Following the success of Iron Dome in protecting the public from rocket attacks, Israel's Missile Defense Organization and the U.S. Missile Defense Agency completed a successful test of the David's Sling system (also known as Magic Wand) by intercepting a medium-range missile, the Defense Ministry said in a statement on Sunday.
The initial round of development testing of the David's Sling system has concluded and it is estimated that the system will be operationally ready in 2014.
The David's Sling system is designed to provide Israel with an additional layer of protection against medium- and long-range ballistic missiles, the Defense Ministry statement said, "resulting in an improvement in the State of Israel’s defense architecture against missile threats."
David's Sling joins the Iron Dome anti-missile defense system, which proved its effectiveness in intercepting missiles during the last round of escalation in the south, as well as the Arrow 2 missile defense program and the Arrow 3 system which is currently under development.
The interception test was conducted recently at an experimental range in the Negev, in cooperation with the U.S., which has provided most of the funding for the program.
The test was conducted by Rafael Advanced Defense Systems in conjunction with Raytheon, an American defense contractor, and more tests are expected in the near future.
A senior official at the Defense Ministry said on Sunday, "During the experiment, a missile imitating a relevant threat to Israel was intercepted using the help of a system of sensors. The interceptor missile was launched and hit the bull's eye. Success [in this experiment] enables further development of the project. The system has a remarkable ability to intercept short and longer-range rockets, and in the future may be able to intercept other means of threat."
According to the official, the David's Sling is not like the Iron Dome in that the latter requires several batteries to defend the whole country, whereas one David's Sling installation provides nationwide protection.
The radar system which it uses is similar to the new radar system used by the Iron Dome, but the cost of each David's Sling interceptor missile is higher than that of the Iron Dome interceptor missiles.
Defense Minister Ehud Barak also issued a statement on Sunday in which he praised defense industry employees involved in the development of the David's Sling, and said that advancing the project would add a significant layer of protection to Israel's multilayered defense program.
According to Barak, "The great success of the Iron Dome makes clear, beyond any doubt, the immense importance of missile defense systems. Israel is a world leader in this field thanks to defense industry employees."