Israel has successfully tested “David’s Sling”, an air defense system that can counter medium-range missiles.
Known in Hebrew as Magic Wand, David's Sling is being developed and manufactured jointly by Israel's Rafael Advanced Defense Systems Ltd and Raytheon. It is expected to be operational next year to defend the country against Hezbollah militants in Lebanon, according to various media reports Wednesday.
David's Sling and its Stunner interceptor missiles successfully hit "threat representative targets" in the tests, said Rick Lehner, spokesman for the U.S. Missile Defense Agency, which carried out the third series of tests of the system together with the Israel Missile Defense Organization (IMDO).
"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," he said.
Designed to shoot down rockets with ranges of 100 km to 200 km (63 miles to 125 miles), aircraft or low-flying cruise missiles, David's Sling will fill the operational gap between Israel's Iron Dome short-range rocket interceptor and the Arrow ballistic missile interceptor, which are in service.
Israeli officials last month asked Congress for an additional $317 million for David's Sling and other Israeli missile defense programs, on top of $158 million already requested by the Obama administration in its fiscal 2016 budget.
Fuelling the sense of urgency around David's Sling development, Israeli media on Wednesday published military assessments that, in the next war with Hezbollah, the guerrillas could rain up to 1,500 rockets on Israel daily.