The low-profile capability of “David’s Sling”

When Israeli officials talk about the “David’s Sling” long-range rocket interceptor system, its capability to intercept cruise missiles is somewhat downplayed.

The system is being developed by Rafael in co-operation with Raytheon to serve as another layer in Israel’s multi-tiered defence system against rockets and ballistic missiles.

In November 2012, Rafael and the Israeli Missile Defence Organisation performed a successful test of David’s Sling.

Preparations for the test came during Operation Pillar of Defence in Gaza, in which “Iron Dome”, the lower layer of Israel’s defence against rockets and ballistic missiles, achieved more than 90% successful intercepts.

Representatives of the US Missile Defense Agency were present during the test – the USA is partially funding the development of David’s Sling and Raytheon is a subcontractor to Rafael.

During the test, the Elta radar operated in “shadow” mode while the target was detected by other sensors. IThe Elta radar will be used as the main sensor during future tests.

All official announcements about the system include a statement such as this: “The system is also designed to intercept cruise missiles.” One might think an engineer in the development team took a private initiative, and added an extra capability”.

Even the explanation is vague and based on the fact “threats are changing”. However, this is the reason for the extra capability. You don’t have to be a member of the intelligence community to know cruise missiles are eyed by many terror organisations, which view this type as a way to hit population centres while overcoming “conventional” defences. But Middle Eastern countries are also trying to obtain cruise missiles from their allies, namely China and Russia.

So this explains the “hidden” capability of David’s Sling. When threats are constantly changing, everything possible must be carried out to be ready to meet that threat head on.

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