Israel, US conduct successful “milestone” missile defence test


Israel and the United States have successfully conducted a landmark operational test of the David’s Sling missile defence system, which is designed to protect against mid-range rocket fire.

An announcement by Israel’s Defence Ministry said that yesterday’s test was conducted by the Israel Missile Defence Organisation and the US Missile Defence Agency at Yanat Sea Range, operated out of Palmachim Air Base. It was the fifth series of tests on the David’s Sling system, which is also known as the Magic Wand.

The announcement said that missiles were successfully intercepted as “the interceptors were successfully launched, performed all flight phases and engaged the targets as planned”.

The statement added: “Preliminary analysis indicates that test objectives were successfully achieved.”

The ministry said that the tests represent an “important milestone for the operational abilities of the State of Israel to protect itself against the expected threats in the region”.

US Missile Defence Agency Director Vice Adm. Jim Syring said: “This test campaign is a critical step in ensuring Israel has the capability to defend itself from a very real and growing threat.”

He added: “We remain strongly committed to supporting Israel’s development of a missile defence system.”

Alongside the Iron Dome, Arrow 2 and Arrow 3 systems, David’s Sling is part of Israel’s layered aerial defence system, which is being developed in coordination with the United States. The Iron Dome defence system, which was widely successfully deployed during Operation Protective Edge in 2014, provides protection from short and mid-range ballistic threats, typically from Gaza and Hezbollah in Lebanon.

Meanwhile, other surface-to-air interceptors, including Arrow 3, are designed to counter the threat of longer range missiles such as Iranian Shihab-3 missiles. Together, these systems aim to provide Israel with a protective umbrella to counter all forms of ballistic threats.

Last week, Israel’s Air Force took delivery of its first Arrow 3 missile interceptor, marking a significant step in Israel’s long-range missile defence capability.