Once David's Sling, also known as Magic Wand, becomes operational it will essentially complete a multi-tier missile defense shield that's been 20 years in the making. The two-stage system, with a radar and electro-optical guidance system, is designed to counter missiles with a range span of 25-185 miles. Rafael's other anti-missile system, Iron Dome, has been recently upgraded from countering short-range missiles and rockets to cover the same range of targets as David's Sling, will strengthen the growing missile threat to Israel from Iran, Syria and Hezbollah in Lebanon.
Iron Dome, which got its baptism of fire in April 2011 against Soviet-era Grad rockets and indigenously produced Qassams, is currently engaged in battling longer-range, Iranian-built Fajr-5 missiles unleashed by Palestinian factions in the Gaza Strip. It's the first time Hamas and other militant groups in Gaza have fired the Fajr-5 against Israel. It has a range of nearly 50 miles. That's enough to hit metropolitan Tel Aviv, Israel's largest urban conurbation with a population if around 3 million, 40 percent of the country's people.
But Hezbollah used them during its 34-day war with Israel in July-August 2006 and they hit as far south as the port city of Haifa, Israel's main naval base. Hezbollah called its enhanced variant of the Fajr-5, a road-mobile weapon built by Iran's Aerospace Industries Organization, the Khaibar-1. The Iron Dome 2.0, which extended range and more accurate interceptions capabilities, is being used to counter the Fajrs in the current escalating battle in war-battered Gaza.
David's Sling, developed by Rafael and the U.S. Raytheon Co., will fill the middle layer of Israel's emerging anti-missile shield. Iron Dome constitutes the bottom level. Raytheon developed the system's missile firing unit and overall logistics. Above David's Sling is the Arrow-2 anti-ballistic system, built by state-owned Israel Aerospace Industries and Boeing of the United States, is designed to destroy Iran's Shehab-3b intermediate-range missiles and the Sejjil-2 weapon still under development.
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