Sunday, December 2, 2012

Israel's Missile Defense Shields - Part 2: DAVID'S SLING

David's Sling will join Iron Dome as part of Israel's missile defense structure
As I noted in my previous post, the Israeli Defense Forces (IDF) are developing a multitiered missile defense system.  The most well known of the Israeli systems, due to the reason conflict with Hamas, is Israel's Iron Dome.  The Israelis, however, are not limited to Iron Dome alone, and are also developing other missile defense technologies.

The latest technology the Israelis have developed is a system called "David's Sling", which has been developed by Israel's Rafael Defense Systems (essentially, Rafael is the Lockheed Martin or Raytheon of Israel's defense industry) with assistance from US contractor Raytheon.  The main issues with the Iron Dome system are twofold:

  • Iron Dome is designed to destroy only short-range missiles, up to approximately 75kms from what I've read.  David's Sling, by contrast, can intercept missiles which can fly up to 300kms, making it - in theory - an ideal solution for handling Hesbollah's growing arsenal of missiles that it can fire at Israel.
  • Second, Iron Dome is expensive, as each missile costs between $50,000 - $1000,000.  David's Sling should be substantially cheaper.

The Israelis just successfully tested David's Sling in southern Israel on November 25th.  David's Sling uses a so-called "stunner" technology, and is scheduled for full deployment by 2014, and assuming its' development continues to progress, it will make a formidable addition to the IDF's missile defense arsenal.

Here is an article with more technical details on the successful test of David's Sling.

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