(Israel Hayom/Exclusive to JNS.org) Israel's David's Sling missile defense system passed its final test and will become operational in 2016, the Defense Ministry announced Monday.
David's Sling is designed to intercept medium- to long-range rockets and cruise missiles fired from ranges of 40 kilometers (25 miles) to 300 kilometers (186 miles).
The advanced interceptor is part of Israel's four-tiered air defense, which also includes the Iron Dome system, which intercepts and destroys short-range rockets and artillery shells, the Arrow 2 short- and medium-range ballistic missile interceptor, and the Arrow 3 long-range missile defense system, which is now entering the last leg of its development.
The Defense Ministry said the last series of trials tested David's Sling's ability to intercept a wide range of threats. In the tests, the system detected, intercepted and destroyed several types of projectiles. While the number of missiles was not disclosed, a defense source said the system recognized various clusters, including missiles carrying warheads that could potentially carry hundreds of pounds of explosives.
David's Sling is being developed and manufactured as a joint venture of Israel's Rafael Advanced Defense Systems and U.S. Missile Defense Agency contractor Raytheon Co.