Israel’s new anti-missile system to be deployed in 2014
With an estimated 200,000 enemy rockets around it, country develops defense
plan’s third layer
By Lauren E. Bohn November 13, 2012, 10:28 pm Updated: November 13, 2012,
CARMIEL, Israel (AP) — Israel’s newest missile defense system, designed to
provide another layer of protection against enemy fire, is on schedule for
deployment in 2014, defense officials said Tuesday.
The “David’s Sling” system, named after the famous weapon in the biblical
David and Goliath story, is part of a multi-layered defense against incoming
rockets and missiles. Two of the elements are operational.
Last year, Israel activated a system that intercepts rockets fired from
short distances of up to 70 kilometers (50 miles). Israel says “Iron Dome”
has shot down dozens of rockets launched from the Gaza Strip, including
several fired over the past week, with 80 percent effectiveness.
Israel has also deployed the “Arrow,” a joint Israel-US system meant to
shoot down longer range missiles fired from Iran. The next generation of the
Arrow, now in the development stage, is set to be deployed in 2016.
The next generation, called the Arrow 3, will strike its target outside the
atmosphere, intercepting missiles closer to their launch. Together, the two
Arrow systems will provide two chances to strike down incoming missiles.
Israel also uses US-made Patriot missile defense batteries against
Israel has identified missile defense as a top priority, based on wartime
experiences. In the first Gulf War some 20 years ago, Iraq fired 39 Scud
missiles toward Israel. Patriots failed to hit any of them.
Over the past decade, militants in the Gaza Strip have fired thousands of
rockets into Israel. Also, during a monthlong war in 2006, Hezbollah
guerrillas in Lebanon launched some 4,000 rockets and missiles into the
Israeli defense officials believe the threat is growing. Israel’s military
intelligence chief earlier this year estimated that 200,000 enemy missiles
and rockets are aimed at Israel.
Hamas militants in Gaza, who once produced rudimentary rockets on their own,
now have thousands of foreign-made rockets capable of striking as far away
as Tel Aviv, the military said. The Lebanese Hezbollah’s arsenal is believed
to be even more formidable, including sophisticated Iranian-made guided
missiles that can hit anywhere in Israel.
Iran has developed missiles that can travel 2,000 kilometers (1,200 miles),
putting Israel well within its range. Israeli concerns have been compounded
by the belief that Iran is also developing nuclear weapons, dismissing
David’s Sling, developed by Israel’s Rafael Advanced Defense Systems and
US-based Raytheon Co., is designed to intercept projectiles with ranges of
up to 300 kilometers (180 miles), said a Rafael official at the company
plant in Carmiel, northern Israel.
“We’ll be able to intercept threats at high altitude in enemy territories,
not exactly over Israel,” said the official, who spoke on condition of
anonymity under company guidelines. “We don’t want it falling on us, but
over the enemy.”
An Israeli defense official familiar with the system said it has passed a
number of preliminary tests, but it has not yet undergone a live
interception drill. He said it is on schedule to be deployed in 2014.
Uzi Rubin, a former head of Israel’s missile defense program, said the
system will fill a “significant gap” in Israel’s air defenses by protecting
against many of the medium range missiles in Hezbollah and Syrian arsenals.
It can also be deployed against low flying cruise missiles fired from longer
“Once we finish David’s Sling and Iron Dome and the Arrow, then we’ll have
the most advanced capability available to give a multilayer protection to
Israeli citizens,” said the defense official, speaking on condition of
anonymity because he was discussing classified information.
Copyright 2012 The Associated Press