Israel set to deploy final layer of missile defense shield

by WorldTribune Staff, March 21, 2017

The middle layer of Israel’s missile defense shield will be deployed within the next two weeks, a senior Israeli Defense Forces (IDF) officer said on March 20.

The David’s Sling system gives the Israel Defense Forces (IDF) “more capabilities and more effectiveness,” said Brig. Gen. Tzvika Haimovitch, head of the IDF’s Aerial Defense Command, “but it’s never enough. It’s not hermetic.”

David’s Sling will fill the middle layer of Israel’s missile defense shield.

David’s Sling will fill the gap between the lower-layer Iron Dome and upper-layer Arrow systems. Iron Dome is capable of intercepting short-range rockets, small drones and mortar shells while the Arrow-2 and Arrow-3 systems are intended to engage long-range ballistic missiles.

“One of the threats against us is heavy rockets, not Katyushas or Grads, which can travel 25 miles (40 kilometers), but things that can travel several hundred kilometers,” such as the Iranian Fateh 110 and its Syrian equivalent, the M600, said Uzi Rubin, who is considered the father of the Arrow program.

Threats like the M600 “are beyond the capabilities of the Iron Dome and beneath those of the Arrow,” Rubin said.

The Fateh 110 and M600 each have a range of approximately 190 miles (300 kilometers) and can carry a half-ton warhead.

According to U.S. military officials, these missiles have seen repeated use during the Syrian civil war. Israeli officials have said that Syrian President Bashar Assad has been giving M600 missiles to Hizbullah since 2010.

“A 300-kilometer range from Lebanon — that covers the entire country,” Rubin said. “Look at a map and measure.”

The Defense Ministry deemed the David’s Sling system ready for use in December 2015, The Times of Israel reported. The IAF began receiving components of the system in March 2016 and has since been putting the battery through its paces. In January, the David’s Sling passed additional levels of testing.