Quick Facts

Mobility Can be deployed on variety of platforms
Targets Tactical ballistic missiles, medium/long-range rockets, cruise missiles
Role and Interceptors Medium-range defense between Iron Dome (Short range) and Arrow 2 (long range); Stunner Interceptors – 40-300 km
Country of Origin/Status Israel/U.S. – on track for Israeli deployment in 2017
Producer Israeli – Rafael Advanced Defense Systems/Elta/Elbit, American – Raytheon
Cost Approx. $1 million/missile[1]

Overview

David’s Sling Weapons System (DSWS), also known as Magic Wand, forms a crucial element of Israel’s multi-tier layered missile-defense architecture, replacing older U.S. Patriot and MIM-23 Hawk systems to provide mid-tier regional missile defense. DSWS will provide terminal-phase hit-to-kill defense against tactical ballistic missiles, medium- to long-range rockets and cruise missiles – including Scuds – especially from Iran, Hezbollah, Hamas and Syria.[2] David’s Sling will bolster Israeli defenses, filling the gap between the short-range defensive capabilities of the Iron Dome system, and the long-range capabilities of Arrow 2. DSWS serves as a flexible, multipurpose weapons system capable engaging a range of targets from a dynamic range of platforms. [3]

DSWS was co-developed by Israeli contractor Rafael Advanced Defense Systems and U.S.-based Raytheon: a contingency for U.S. funding.[4] The system is composed of a two-stage multi-pulse “Stunner” interceptor missile, which uses electro-optical/IR sensors and a EL/M-2084 AESA multi-mission radar by Elta Systems for targeting and guidance, and control systems by Elbit systems.[5] It can be mounted on an array of ground, naval, and aerial platforms, including existing rail and canister launchers, and the firing units allow for 360° coverage through vertical launch of the missile.[6] Recent tests have shown DSWS’ ability to destroy large salvos of high-caliber rockets and short-range ballistic missiles at high success rates.[7]

For the foreseeable future, the Israeli Defense Forces (IDF) will retain exclusive operation of DSWS. Initial shipments to the Israeli Air Force (IAF) began in March 2016 with expectations to deploy by the end of 2017. Although Poland nearly reached a deal for the system in 2014, the U.S. vetoed it, in favor of selling the MEADS system to Poland.[8]

Strategic Implications

David’s Sling significantly bolsters Israel’s key defensive capabilities, integrating mid-range regional defense into their multi-tiered missile defense framework, defending against the hundreds of thousands of missiles and rockets employed by Iran, Syria, Hamas and Hezbollah. DSWS can defeat the Iranian Fajr-5, BM-25 and Fateh-110, the Syrian M-600 and Khaibar-1, and Scud missiles.[9] This provides significantly improved regional defense capabilities for the IDF as they defend the Israeli homeland against barrages of enemy missiles and rockets.

Recent News

Timeline

Jan 2017: U.S. and Israel worked together to perform successful tests of David’s Sling [15]

Mar 2016: Begin shipping parts to IAF for deployment by end of 2016[10]

Dec 2015: Final set of tests and declared operationally ready[11]

Apr 2015: 3rd successful test ahead of planned deployment in 2016[12]

May 2014: U.S. vetoes sale of DSWS to Poland, in favor of the German, Italian, and U.S. designed MEADS

Nov 2013: Failed test – due to faulty sensor setting – followed immediately by 2nd successful test[13]

Nov 2012: First successful test interception[14]

2006: DSWS development begins after contract given to Rafael and Raytheon

Sources

[1] Cohen, Gili. “Why Does Israel Need Three Different Missile Defense Systems?” Haaretz. 2 Apr 2015.

[2] Tomkins, Richard. “Israeli Air Force deploying ‘David’s Sling’ missile defense system.” UPI. 3 Mar 2016.

[3] “Stunner Missile Interceptor System, Israel.” Army Technology.

[4] http://www.rafael.co.il/Marketing/186-1898-en/Marketing.aspx

[5] “Stunner Missile Interceptor System, Israel.” Army Technology.

[6] Ibid.

[7] http://www.defensenews.com/story/defense/air-space/air-force/2015/12/21/davids-sling-system-shows-ability-destroy-rockets-missiles/77703938/

[8] http://www.reuters.com/article/us-arms-israel-davidsling-idUSKBN0U410P20151221

[9] http://www.defensenews.com/story/defense/air-space/air-force/2015/12/21/davids-sling-system-shows-ability-destroy-rockets-missiles/77703938/

[10] Tomkins, Richard. “Israeli Air Force deploying ‘David’s Sling’ missile defense system.” UPI. 3 Mar 2016.

[11] Tomkins, Richard. “Israeli Air Force deploying ‘David’s Sling’ missile defense system.” UPI. 3 Mar 2016.

[12] https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=z4atO3gl30Y

[13] http://www.globalsecurity.org/military/world/israel/davids-sling.htm

[14] http://www.timesofisrael.com/first-successful-davids-sling-interception-caught-on-film/

[15] http://www.defensenews.com/articles/us-and-israel-run-successful-tests-of-davids-sling

Missile Defense

Contact

International Cooperation