Israel’s ‘David’s Sling’ air defense system passed its final round of testing Monday and is on course for deployment in 2016, the Defense Ministry announced.
The system is being jointly developed and produced by Israeli state-owned Rafael Advanced Defense Systems Ltd and top U.S. weapons manufacturer Raytheon Co.
David’s Sling was put through its paces in a test field in southern Israel in advance of delivery to the Air Force by April 2016. The IAF is to receive two batteries in the first stage of deployment, although a total of four are to be delivered to the military. The system can be deployed in both mobile and permanent environments, which allows for flexible maneuvers in accordance with military requirements, similar to that of the Iron Dome.
Likewise, David’s Sling can operate independently or integrated with the Iron Dome and Arrow air defense systems, based on Israel’s security needs at time of deployment.
The system, also known as the “Magic Wand,” is designed to shoot down medium-range rockets fired at Israel, with ranges of 100 km to 200 km (63 to 125 miles). The anti-missile system can also shoot down hostile aircraft and low-flying cruise missiles when necessary.
Although the Defense Ministry gave no specific details about the targets that were identified and shot down on Monday, officials said that in general, the system can identify and intercept missiles capable of bearing a warhead carrying hundreds of kilograms of explosives.
David’s Sling is intended to fill the operational gap between the currently operating Iron Dome short-range rocket interceptor and the longest-range Arrow ballistic missile interceptor. Both are already deployed.
“This series of tests completes the first chapter in development and will allow us to bring the system to the Air Force soon,” a senior Defense Ministry weapons development specialist said.
The head of the project from Israeli defense firm Rafael, Shlomo S., added, “This feels like a dream come true, as the goals and targets we had were achieved in full, and that is a rare thing in the development of systems of this kind.”
Hana Levi Julian