from the January 2016 issue

David's Sling Passes Test Successfully

The system will form a middle layer in Israel's missile defense, between Arrow and Iron Dome.

Israel's Ministry of Defense announced that it had carried out a successful test of "David's Sling" interception system from a test site in the south of Israel. The announcement states, "The success of the trial is the final milestone in the development of the system before it is delivered to the Israel Air Force and declared operational during 2016."

The test is the last in a series of tests to check the capabilities and performance of the system (known in Hebrew as "Sharvit Kesamim" or "Magic Wand"), which will become part of the multi-layered defense array being developed by the Ministry of Defense. The ministry says that this system will make it possible to deal much more effectively with the threats to Israel, together with the existing components of the defense array against missiles.

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The official statement stated, "In the trials, the system's capabilities were examined in several scenarios, simulating the threats that the system is planned to counter. Target missiles were fired that were detected by the MMR radar. The radar transferred the data to the fire management center, which ran the defense programs against them. David's Sling interceptors were launched successfully, executed all the stages of flight and destroyed the targets as planned."

The trials were carried out by the Homa Administration (also known as the Israel Missile Defense Organization) in Mafat (the Administration for the Development of Weapons and Technological Infrastructure), part of the Ministry of Defense, together with the Missile Defense Agency of the US Department of Defense. The system is produced by Rafael, the main contractor, Israel Aerospace Industries unit Elta, and Elbit Systems Ltd. (Nasdaq: ESLT; TASE: ESLT) unit Elisra.

"The David's Sling system is intended to provide an additional defensive layer against short- and medium-range missiles and rockets, particularly against precision threats, and also to add interception opportunities to the Arrow system, thus bolstering the defensive array against missile and rocket threats," the Ministry of Defense statement says.

The multi-layer defensive array includes the Arrow 3 system that is due to become operational within a few years and that is designed to deal in space with ballistic missiles carrying nuclear or chemical warheads that might be launched from Iran. A lower layer is the Arrow 2 system, that will counter ballistic missiles within the atmosphere.

The third layer is the Iron Dome system, which deals with short-range rockets. The David's Sling system will operate between these layers. "The system will carry out three missions: interception of long-range, precision rockets; back-up for the Arrow system in its lower layer; and interception of cruise missiles," explained Colonel Zvika Haimovich, commander of the IAF Aerial Defense Division. An initial unit of 85 personnel has been formed for the David's Sling battalion.

Elisra's Golden Almond system is the Lower Tier Ballistic Missile and Rocket Defense and the Fire Control Center (FCC) of the David's Sling system. It provides defense against ballistic targets and short-range missiles with David's Sling Weapon System and coordination with the Iron Dome system. The system calculates the course of the threat, builds an operational picture while identifying the type of target, provides assessments of the level of threat and coordinates the interception, thanks to its connection to intelligence and defense systems and to various sensors.

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"So David triumphed over the Philistine with a sling and a stone; without a sword in his hand he struck down the Philistine and killed him." (I Samuel 17:50)

David's Sling Weapons System Stunner Missile intercepts target during inaugural flight test.

David's Sling, a new air defense system developed under the auspices of the IDF, has passed its final round of tests and is slated for deployment in 2016, said the Defense Ministry

The new system is designed to catch longer-range rockets that are not targeted by the Iron Dome, which shoots down short-range missiles, or by the Arrow, which intercepts ballistic missiles. David's Sling will have the ability to target rockets with ranges of 100 to 200 km (63 to 125 miles), aircraft, guided projectiles, low-flying cruise missiles, and drones.

The final test took place morning in a test field in southern Israel, and David's Sling passed all markers. The system will be delivered to the Israel Air Force (IAF) within the next four months. A core unit of the IAF, which is being trained on how to operate the system, took part in the recenty held test.

"In trials, the system's capabilities were tested in a number of scenarios that simulate the threats it was designed to deal with," said officials at the Defense Ministry, and David's Sling destroyed the targets as intended.

Between the three systems, the IAF supports a network of interceptors guided by radar which can shoot down anything from shorter-range, low-flying rockets sent from Hezbollah and Hamas to longer-range ballistic Shehab and Scud missiles fired from Iran and Syria.

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Initially, the IDF will deploy four David's Sling batteries, sending two to the IAF in the first stage. The system is versatile in how it operates: David's Sling can be installed in a permanent location, like the Arrow defense system, or moved around to wherever it is needed, like the Iron Dome system. It can work together with the other two systems, or independently of them. According to the Defense Ministry, the system will be capable of identifying and intercepting missiles carrying warheads of up to hundreds of kilograms of explosives.

Reprinted from the Israel High-Tech & Investment Report January 2016

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