Israel and U.S. Successfully Completed a Series of Intercept Tests of an Advanced Version of the David's Sling Weapon System
(Source: Israeli Ministry of Defense; issued Dec. 15, 2020)
An Israeli air-defense exercise on Tuesday demonstrated the interoperability of the multi-layer air defense system comprising the Arrow, David's Sling, and Iron Dome systems, indicating their ability to simultaneously intercept different incoming threats. (IMoD file photo)
TEL AVIV --- The Israel Missile Defense Organization (IMDO), of the Directorate for Defense R&D in the Ministry of Defense, together with the U.S. Missile Defense Agency (MDA), have successfully completed a series of live-fire intercept tests of the David's Sling weapon system, against threat-representative cruise and ballistic missiles.

The tests conducted were led by Rafael Advanced Defense Systems Ltd., from a testing site in central Israel, with the participation of the Israel Air Force and Navy. This successful series is a critical milestone in the augmentation of Israel's operational capabilities in defending itself against current and future threats.

The series tested the capabilities of a new and advanced version of the David's Sling weapon system, and included a number of scenarios simulating future threats. The results of this test will enable IMDO and industry engineers to evaluate and upgrade the system's capabilities.

In the framework of the series, the IMDO and Rafael also successfully demonstrated the capabilities of the Iron Dome in intercepting a variety of threats including UAVs and cruise missiles. The test also demonstrated the interoperability of the multi-layer air defense mechanism (Arrow, David's Sling, and Iron Dome). This indicates that the systems will be capable of intercepting threats simultaneously during conflict.

Representatives of the MDA and Israeli defense industries, as well as IAF soldiers participated in the test. Rafael is the prime contractor for the development of the David's Sling weapon system, in cooperation with U.S. Raytheon. IAI's Elta division developed the MMR radar, and Elbit Systems developed the Golden Almond BMC.

David's Sling is a significant component of Israel's multi-layer air defense mechanism. The development of this mechanism is led by the IMDO and consists of four layers: Iron Dome, David's Sling, Arrow-2 and Arrow-3. These are all operational in the Israel Air Force.

Israeli Defense Minister, Benny Gantz: "I commend the successful test, which for the first time, assessed the combined interception capabilities of the multi-layer air defense system of the State of Israel. This is one of the most advanced air defense mechanisms in the world and it protects the state from threats near and far. These systems have been developed in a fantastic manner by the Directorate of Defense Research and Development in the Ministry of Defense and by Rafael.

“The systems in this multi-layer mechanism provide Israel with a top-tier strategic capability, enabling us to operate effectively in every scenario. I would also like to thank our partners in the U.S. Department of Defense, U.S. Missile Defense Agency, U.S. government, and U.S. Congress, who support the State of Israel in the development of these systems and aid us in ensuring Israel's security and operational superiority."

Head of the Israel Missile Defense Organization in the Ministry of Defense, Moshe Patel: “In the last few weeks, the defense establishment, together with the defense industries, conducted a series of tests - unprecedented in their complexity. Through these tests, we demonstrated that the State of Israel has a robust, multilayered capability to face a variety of threats – cruise missiles, UAVs and ballistic threats.

“For the first time, we have demonstrated a multi-layered approach to dealing with threats – an approach that employs the Iron Dome, David's Sling and Arrow weapon systems. Using this approach, a variety of threats may be identified and intercepted via full coordination and interoperability between the systems."

Executive VP and Head of Rafael's Air and Missile Defense Division, Brig. Gen. (Res.) Pini Yungman: "The capability that was demonstrated in this series of tests ensures the security of the State of Israel and its ability to contend with current and future threats. When the different systems in the multi-layered mechanism are combined, they can handle a variety of simultaneous threats and defend the citizens of the State of Israel."


(Source: Israeli Air Force; issued Dec. 15, 2020)
This week, a series of successful interception tests of the "David's Sling" weapons system, along with "Hetz" and "Iron Dome" was held in cooperation with Rafael Advanced Defense Systems and the Israel Missile Defense Organization (IMDO) of the Directorate of Defense Research and Development (DDR&D). The series included several scenarios simulating new and future threats that the system may face, during which the capabilities of the new and upgraded version of "David's Sling" were tested.

"I congratulate the successful test, which for the first time, tested a combined multi-layered interception using all of Israel's defense systems", said Minister of Defense, Benny Gantz, who witnessed one of the interceptions. "The development of a multi-layered defense system allows us to defend against threats from near and distant theaters".

Groundbreaking Test

"There are three main aspects that make these tests groundbreaking, the first one being operational - the tests simulated a variety of scenarios with several targets, against multiple threats, and with interceptions by a variety of weapons systems", states Brig. Gen. Ran Kochav, Commander of the IAF's Air Defense Division. "The second aspect is the national multi-layered defense that the test displayed - the "Herev Magen" unit, which operates the "Hetz" weapons system, controlled the operation and identified the targets, while "David's Sling" and "Iron Dome" intercepted the targets at different layers".

The third aspect is the fact that combatants from the IAF's Air Defense Division conducted the test, with the dedicated technicians and engineers of the defense industries, and not simply the weapons system. "Just a few days ago, I lit Hanukkah candles with come combatants. Our soldiers are the modern-day Maccabees, those who protect Israeli citizens in the cities of Sderot, Haifa, Kiryat Shmona, and Tel Aviv. For that reason, we must give these same combatants all the necessary knowledge and tools to succeed".

Conducting a test series this thorough takes long months of preparations and involves a great deal of training: "We operated in the Mediterranean Sea. That required us to coordinate our training with neighboring countries and conduct aerial training. It's a very large operation - we will debrief it and draw all of the necessary professional conclusions in aspects of operation, intelligence, and engineering".

The Face Behind the Interception

Lt. Noy, a Weapons Officer in the IAF's 66th "David's Sling" Battalion, intercepted two targets during the test series. "In one scenario, I intercepted a target that simulated a cruise-missile while maintaining contact with a Flight Controller from the Regional Control Unit, according to the IAF's combat doctrine", she describes. "During the Coronavirus pandemic, the IAF managed to conduct this test series optimally. This experiment emphasized the integration between the various weapons systems as well as the significance of each individual combatant".

She also mentions how significance this test series was for the 66th battalion and for her personally: "This test was meaningful for my commanders and myself, it took me a while to process all that was about to take place", shares Lt. Noy. "It was also very meaningful for the battalion's combatants and Israel's defense industries. When someone who serves in an operational battery provides guidance as to how the IAF operates the system, it benefits all parties."


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