Israel's "David's Sling" air defence system is scheduled to undergo its first intercept tests in early 2012, with the design capable of intercepting air threats including cruise missiles.

Yosi Druker, director of Rafael's air-to-air and air defence directorate, said tests already conducted using the "Stunner" interceptor developed for the system have been successful.

Rafael is developing the David's Sling weapon system to protect populated areas in Israel against attack by medium-range rockets.

"We expect to gain operational status in early 2013," Druker said.

Once in use, David's Sling will form part of a multi-layered defence system that Israel is building to defend itself.

Rafael's Iron Dome system has already been used to intercept short-range rockets, while Israel's top-end equipment is the Israel Aerospace Industries-developed Arrow 2 and future Arrow 3 ballistic missile interceptors.

The ability of David's Sling to also intercept cruise missiles is being introduced as "threats are changing", Israeli sources said.

Source: Flight International