A mid-range missile defense system, intended to close a large gap in Israel’s aerial defense readiness, successfully completed an intercept test Wednesday, the Defense Ministry announced.
The David’s Sling, jointly developed by the Israel Missile Defense Organization and the US Missile Defense Agency, can address rocket and mid-range ballistic missile threats, as well as drones and incoming aircraft, and would fill a gap between the existing short-range Iron Dome system and the Arrow 2, a long-range ballistic missile defense system.
This is the second successful test for the system.
At 7:30 a.m., a target missile was launched, and then detected and tracked by Elta’s Israeli-made radar. The target information was conveyed to the command-and-control center and a Stunner missile, a highly maneuverable projectile jointly developed by Rafael Advanced Defense Systems and Raytheon Missile Systems, destroyed the target.
The Defense Ministry called the successful test “a major milestone” in the development of the system and added in a statement that this “provides confidence in future Israeli capabilities to defeat the developing ballistic missile threat.”
Israel’s enemy to the north, Hezbollah, is believed to possess upwards of 70,000 rockets and missiles, many of them falling within the 70-300 kilometer (45-190 mile) range that the David Sling system is meant to cover.
The Defense Ministry could not confirm a 2014 target date for the operational readiness of the system, reiterating only that the test was one milestone on the path to readiness.
The chief engineer of the Arrow system and former head of the Israel Missile Defense Organization in the Defense Ministry, Uzi Rubin, told The Times of Israel that even if he knew when it was due out he wouldn’t say, but confirmed that further tests “would check the outer reaches of the envelope.”