Israel adds ‘David’s Sling’ to the artillery

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Israel plans to deploy its new medium-range missile interceptor David’s Sling by mid-2016 after the US-backed system passed final trials, defence officials said on Monday.

David’s Sling is designed to shoot down rockets held by Israeli antagonists with ranges of 100 to 200 km (63-125 miles), as well as cruise missiles and drones.

David’s Sling, along with the Iron Dome short-range rocket interceptor and the Arrow ballistic missile interceptor, both already operational, will form a multi-level shield that the Israelis are developing with Washington’s help as a bulwark against Iran and its allies on the Israeli border.

The three systems incorporate a network of radar-guided interceptors designed to shoot down everything from the low-flying, Katyusha-style rockets of Hezbollah and Palestinian guerrillas to the ballistic Shehab and Scud missiles of Iran and Syria.

A Defence Ministry statement said on Monday that David’s Sling had passed a fourth set of field trials constituting “the final milestone before declaring delivery of an operational system to the Israeli Air Force in 2016″.

One official told Reuters the plan was to have a small number of David’s Sling launcher sites operating by mid-2016, a deployment that would eventually be doubled.

Also known as Magic Wand, David’s Sling is being manufactured jointly by Israel’s state-owned Rafael Advanced Defence Systems Ltd and US firm Raytheon Co. Israel’s Elbit Systems Ltd. provided command and control technologies.