Air Defense: The Sling Survives Initial Service

January 17, 2019

The new Israeli David’s Sling (formerly Magic Wand) anti-aircraft system has successfully completed its first year in service. The system, which is similar to the American Patriot, is designed mainly for anti-missile defense. Patriot was designed initially as an anti-aircraft system and later had anti-missile capabilities added.

So while Patriot and David’s Sling may seem similar the Israeli system used the current Patriot system as a starting point and basically created a much improved (in terms of radars, fire control and anti-missile missiles) version. In 2018 David’s Sling had plenty of opportunities to track missiles headed towards Israel from Syria.

Some were anti-aircraft missiles that had missed their targets and were coming to earth on a ballistic trajectory (which is normal) that appeared to end up in Israel. In July 2018 two Syrian SS-21 ballistic missiles were detected headed for Israel and David’s Sling was used to intercept them.

It turned out that the SS-21s were aimed at targets on the Syrian side of the border but very close to the border and the SS-21 uses an older Russian designed inertial guidance system known to be inaccurate.

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