Name: David's Sling (קלע דוד)
Developers: Rafael Advanced Defense Systems; Raytheon
Overview: David's Sling was developed as a flexible, multipurpose weapon system capable of engaging aircraft, cruise missiles, ballistic and guided missiles. Its Stunner interceptor missile is designed for land-based, maritime and airborne applications and is fitted with a dual-band imaging infrared and radio-frequency seeker, as well as a multi-pulse rocket motor enabling all-weather operation. David's Sling was designed to target incoming missiles during their terminal phase, unlike the Iron Dome which intercepts missiles at their highest trajectory. Its primary role will be to intercept medium- and long-range ballistic and guided rockets, such as the Iranian Fajr-5 and BM-25 as well as the Syrian M-600 and Yakhont supersonic cruise missile. It will bridge the Iron Dome (short range interceptor) with the Arrow Theatre (long range interceptor). The use of US parts in Israeli Missile Defense Systems is contingent on being provided a veto over the export of the missile systems. In May 2014 the United States used this veto to prevent the Israeli military from selling the David Sling to Poland. The US spending bill for FY 2015 provides $3.7 billion in military aid to Israel, including $268 million designated for David's Sling and the Arrow defense systems. In December 2014 Ari Sacher, of Rafael's Air Superiority Systems Division stated in an interview with the Jerusalem Post that the new projectiles that they are testing for the David's Sling system will be able to intercept projectiles from well beyond Israel's borders. Sacher said that the missile system “has an interception range which ensures intercept before a threat enters Israeli territory.”
The U.S. Missile Defense Agency and the IDF carried out a successful test of the David's Sling system in April 2015, stating that “Next year it's going to be operational.” Israel Defense Minister Moshe Ya'alon held a press conference with U.S. House Speaker John Boehner during which he praised the work of the engineers and individuals involved and called the successful test a “major milestone.”
Israel's Defense Ministry and the Pentagon's Missile Defense Agency completed the last phase of trials for the David's Sling system on December 21, 2015. Agency leaders said David's Sling performed up to standards in a number of tests, calling the system “efficient, fast, and deadly.” The David's Sling system is capable of destroying heavy long-range rockets, short-range ballistic missiles and mortars, and enemy aircraft. This was the fourth and final test of the system.
The Israeli Air Force began to take delivery of the David's Sling missile system in early March 2016. Delivery of the system will be a gradual and phased process according to the Defense Ministry, with phase one including delivery of the system's multimission radar, Stunner interceptor missiles, and battle management center.
David's Sling missiles cost about $1 million each, compared to Iron Dome missiles which run closer to $70,000.
Developers: Raytheon; Hughes; RCA
Overview: The Patriot missile system was first used in Israel during the Gulf War when Saddam Hussein fired Scud missiles at Israel and it had a 40% claimed success rate in shooting down incoming missiles. The Israeli government, however, with dissatisfied with the performance and has worked to update the system and will now be phasing it out for the David's Sling. The upgraded versions, PAC-2 and -3, provide a more reliable and lethal capability to defeat advanced threats - including aircraft, tactical ballistic missiles, cruise missiles, and UAVs - in almost all operational combat environments. The newest Israeli version is set to replace the four-missile stationary launcher with a 16-missile launcher, which will make it better equiped to contend with a prolonged barrage of missiles. In 2006, Israel stationed a Patriot battery in Haifa to protect from Hezbollah rockets. Another was placed in the north during 2012. In August 2013, the Israeli Air Force planned to place a Patriot battery in the Galilee to protect from threats out of Syria. Israel purchased four Patriot missile batteries from Germany in May 2015.
Sources: IDF Spokesperson;
Wikipedia (Patriot, Arrow, David's Sling, Iron Dome);
Department of Defense;
Defense Industry Daily;
CIA Proliferation Report;
Cohen, Gill. “Defense Minister Ya'alon: Israel recieved 4 Patriot missile batteries from Germany,” Haaretz (May 10, 2015);
Opall-Rome, Barbara. “US, Israel Start Delivering David’s Sling System to Israel Air Force,” DefenseNews (March 2, 2016);
Shimoni Stoil, Rebecca. “US House okays funding boost for Israel’s missile defense,” Times of Israel (June 17, 2016)