Israeli media: Obama blocked sale of ‘David’s Sling’ to Poland

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TEL AVIV — The United States has blocked a multi-billion-dollar sale of an Israeli missile defense system to Poland.

Officials said the administration of President Barack Obama rejected an Israeli request to export David’s Sling to Poland. They said the State Department determined that David’s Sling was not suitable for the NATO member.

David's Sling.  /Haaretz
David’s Sling. /Haaretz

“The decision was based on a very simple factor — Israel was a major player in the deal,” an official said.

David’s Sling has been developed by Israel’s state-owned Rafael Advanced Defense Systems and the U.S. firm Raytheon. The administration has allocated more than $100 million for the system, which underwent initial live-fire testing in 2013.

The Israeli website Ynet said the missile defense project with Poland was worth up to $13 billion. Ynet said Israel expected some U.S. compensation for being denied the export sale.

The sources said Raytheon lobbied for the Polish project. But they said such competitors as Boeing and Lockheed Martin warned that David’s Sling would harm the U.S. export market amid the sharp decline of the American defense budget.

Neither Israel nor the United States confirmed the failure of David’s
Sling. But within days of the report the Defense Ministry suspended plans to
intensify development of the missile defense system.

Poland has sought NATO-interoperable missile defense systems amid the
growing threat from neighboring Russia. In 2009, Washington decided against
developing and deploying the Standard Missile 3 Block 2B interceptor for

Instead, L-M has offered the PAC-3 to Poland, said to be more expensive
than David’s Sling. Warsaw has also been examining MBDA’s SAMP/T, deployed
in France and Italy.

The Washington-based Defense Industry Daily played down the prospect
that Poland would have selected David’s Sling. The newsletter said David’s
Sling remained untested in combat and could not compete with U.S. systems.

“Worse, its initial release won’t have key capabilities like cruise
missile/ UAV interception, or the ability to hit maneuvering ballistic
targets,” DID said in March 2014. “Barring sudden and successful use in
combat, the Israeli firm could have a tough climb here.”

Obama was also said to have sabotaged another Israeli defense project.
On May 15, the Israeli daily Maariv said the White House was believed to
have pressured Germany not to agree to a discount for three missile boats to

“Jerusalem suspects that this is a ‘punitive measure’ initiated by the
United States following the halt in the diplomatic negotiations,” Maariv

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