PM Netanyahu: Israel’s Missile Defense System Now ‘Complete’

An Arrow 3 missile is fired in this 2013 test. (IAI via Tsahi Ben-Ami/Flash90)

Israel’s three-pronged missile defense system is “ready for full operations,” Prime Minister Binyamin Netanyahu declared Sunday. The defense system includes the “three pillars” of Israel’s missile defense system: David’s Sling (also known as Magic Wand), Iron Dome and the Arrow. The first is to be used to shoot down incoming medium-range missiles, the second deflects incoming short-range missiles like Kassam rockets, and the latter intercepts long-range missiles fired at central Israel from afar.

All the systems have been tested in the field, and the Iron Dome and Arrow systems were used extensively, and with great success, during the 2014 Operation Defensive Edge campaign. A final, successful test of David’s Sling was held Sunday afternoon at the Chatzor Air Force Base in northern Israel.

Most Israelis are familiar with Iron Dome, which has been used quite successfully against Hamas’ firings of short-range Kassam rockets at southern Israel. The David’s Sling interceptor system is far more advanced than those used in Iron Dome. Unlike that system, used to counter short-range missile threats, David’s Sling can detect missiles even as they are being launched from enemy installations – and will be able to shoot down incoming missiles even before they leave the airspace of the launching country.

The Arrow most recently saw action in late March, when it was used to shoot down a Syrian rocket. Portions of the missile fell over the northern Jordan Valley and inside Jordan as well. Loud explosions were heard in the area, and residents of Yerushalayim reported hearing the explosions as well.

Speaking at Sunday’s cabinet meeting, Prime Minister Netanyahu said that the last of the systems to be developed, David’s Sling, was ready for operations. “This is very important,” Prime Minister Netanyahu said. “All Israelis saw the great value of the Iron Dome system against short-range missiles. We also developed the Arrow systems against long-range strategic missiles.” Now, he added, David’s Sling would complete the picture.