Israel has tested a new missile defense system developed in partnership with the United States. The system, which met all its objectives in recently conducted live interception tests, is expected to be deployed in 2016, U.S. and Israeli officials announced Wednesday.
The system, dubbed “David's Sling,” successfully hit targets simulating longer-range missiles that could be fired at Israel from Syria and by Iran-allied Hezbollah guerrillas in Lebanon, Reuters reported, citing defense sources, who said more recent tests were held last week and on Tuesday.
“We believe that next year it (David's Sling) is going to be operational,” Moshe Yaalon, Israel's defense minister, told visiting U.S. House of Representatives Speaker John Boehner, while appreciating the U.S. funding in developing the system, Reuters reported.
David's Sling, which is developed and manufactured jointly by Israel's state-owned Rafael Advanced Defense Systems and U.S. defense contractor Raytheon Co., can shoot down rockets with ranges between 63 miles and 125 miles, and aircraft or low-flying cruise missiles.
“This system, which will be part of a multi-layered defense system, will in the near future work with existing components to defend Israel against the threat of missiles, and deal more efficiently with threats,” Sputnik quoted Israel’s defense ministry as saying.
According to the ministry, David's Sling will fill the operational gap between the Iron Dome short-range rocket interceptor and the Arrow ballistic missile interceptor that are already being used by the Israeli military, Sputnik reported.
“This ... is a major milestone in the development of the David's Sling weapon and provides confidence in future Israeli capabilities to defend against the developing threat,” Rick Lehner, spokesman for the U.S. Missile Defense Agency, which carried out the tests along with the Israel Missile Defense Organization, told Reuters.