David’s Sling, Joint U.S.-Israel Missile Defense System, Ready for 2016 Deployment

The David’s Sling mid-range missile interceptor, jointly developed by American and Israeli defense contractors, has completed its final test and is prepared to be deployed next year, The Times of Israel reported on Monday.

In the final test of the series, an interceptor missile was successfully launched, performed all flight phases, and engaged the target, said a representative from Rafael Industries, which helped develop the missile system. […]

The various parts of the David’s Sling system, including the Multi-Mission Radar to detect targets and the Battle Management Center, which calculates defense plans, worked as they should, the official said.

David’s Sling, also known as Magic Wand, will be handed over to the Israeli Air Force and undergo additional exercises before full deployment. As a medium-range missile interceptor, it is slated to replace the Patriot missiles currently used by Israel. It will join the Iron Dome defense system, which is used to defend against short-range missiles and rockets. The Arrow-2, which is operational, and Arrow-3, which is under development, are designed to protect Israel from long-range missiles.

Israel’s Rafael Industries is the system’s prime contractor, while the U.S. defense giant Raytheon is a sub-contractor. Rafael also developed the David Sling’s interceptor missile, called Stunner, with Raytheon’s support. The system’s Multi-Mission Radar is manufactured by Elta, which is a subsidiary of Israel Aerospace Industries, while the Battle Management Center was developed by Elisra, a subsidiary of the Israeli electronics giant Elbit.

Defense News reported:

Hundreds of Israeli and American industry developers, program officials and uniformed operators from Israel’s Air Defense Force participated in Monday’s tests, which put the system through several operational scenarios against multiple targets representing “representative and relevant threats,” said Shlomo Hess, Rafael program manager.

“Today, all these unique technologies that comprise the David’s Sling Weapon System became operational,” said Hess.

“It’s very rare to achieve all the goals in such a complex test series … against long-range targets with heavy warheads capable of sustaining very big collateral damage. We are all in a very high level of excitement,” he said.

The David’s Sling system is designed to be effective against Hezbollah’s “increasingly accurate” arsenal, which includes Syrian 302 mm rockets and Iranian Fatah-110 rockets. It was also designed to intercept Scud-B ballistic missiles, which can carry one-ton warheads.

Israeli Defense Minister Moshe Ya’alon credited his country’s “rare-quality capabilities,” as well as U.S.-Israeli cooperation on both the governmental and industrial level, including generous funding from Washington, for the successful development of the project.

A recording of the tests is embedded below.