Defense Ministry begins installing David’s Sling missile defense

Ahead of full deployment, air force to get major components of system over the next few weeks

Stuart Winer is a breaking news editor at The Times of Israel.

A test of the David's Sling missile defense system (Defense Ministry)
A test of the David's Sling missile defense system (Defense Ministry)

The Defense Ministry said Tuesday it had started delivering the David’s Sling missile defense system to the Israel Air Force ahead of the full deployment of the weapon, which is designed to protect Israel from medium-range rockets.

“After a series of concluding trials of the David’s Sling aerial defense system, Israel’s Missile Defense Organization at the Defense Ministry, together with the US Missile Defense Agency, began delivering major components of the system to the Israeli Air Force,” the ministry said in a statement.

“David’s Sling will allow Israel to more effectively defend against the wide range of current and future threats to its civilians,” the ministry added.

The David’s Sling system, also known as Magic Wand, completed a final set of major tests in December 2015 and was declared operational.

It will take several weeks for all of the components to be delivered beginning with the radar, interception and command and control systems.

“In the near future, the process of testing all of the system components and the final declaration by the Air Force that the system is ready for use will occur,” the statement continued.

The tests at the end of last year examined capabilities and performance of the entire David’s Sling weapon system.

During the tests, multiple simulated targets were intercepted by the system’s Stunner interceptor missiles in realistic, real-time engagements. Those targets included ballistic missiles, which are fired with a set trajectory, as well as more maneuverable aircraft.

The David’s Sling System is the middle tier of Israel’s multi-layer defense layer. The lowest layer is the Iron Dome system, capable of intercepting short-range missiles. David’s Sling is intended to engage missiles with a range of 70-250 kilometers; and the Arrow-2 (operational) and Arrow-3 (under development) are intended to engage long-range missiles.

David’s Sling was manufactured primarily by Israeli company Rafael, with the US-based Raytheon Missile Systems as a subcontractor.

The system’s radar was manufactured by Israeli company Elta, a subsidiary of the Israel Aerospace Industries. The Battle Management Center was developed by Elisra, a subsidiary of Israeli company Elbit.

Judah Ari Gross and Times of Israel staff contributed to this report.

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