David didn’t need high technology to defeat Goliath, just some stones and a sling. But in the modern world, David is getting some high-tech help from the likes of Raytheon and Rafael Advanced Defense Systems, who are developing a missile defense system called David’s Sling Weapon System (DSWS).
The DSWS is a joint short-range ballistic missile defense program between the US Missile Defense Agency and the Israel Missile Defense Organization. The system is designed to defeat short-range ballistic missiles, large-caliber rockets and cruise missiles in their terminal phase of flight.
Raytheon received 2 contracts from Rafael worth more than $100 million to build DSWS components.
The 1st contract was awarded to codevelop the missile component of the DSWS called the Stunner Interceptor. Stunner is a hit-to-kill interceptor designed for use in the DSWS and allied integrated air and missile defense systems.
The 2nd contract was awarded for the development, production and integrated logistics support of the missile firing unit (MFU), the launcher component of the DSWS. The MFU will provide the DSWS with vertical interceptor launch capability for 360-degree extended air and missile defense.
Other joint US-Israel missile defense efforts include coproduction of the Arrow missile defense system interceptors and an initiative to provide Israel an upper-tier missile defense system. According to Defense Update, the United States and Israel have begun development of an upper-tier component to the Israeli Arrow 3 missile defense architecture. According to Arieh Herzog, director of Israel’s Missile Defense Program, the main element of this upper tier will be an exo-atmospheric interceptor, to be jointly developed by Israel Aerospace Industries and Boeing.
April 24/19: Tender Drop-Out Israeli company Rafael dropped out of Switzerland’s $8 billion air defense tender. Rafael had initially offered its David’s Sling system. David’s Sling is an Israeli system developed with the United States that is designed to defend against short-range and theater ballistic missiles, large-caliber rockets, and cruise missiles. However, the Israeli Department of Defense did not give the company the necessary permit to go further in the tender. Reasons for this decision are unclear. Companies still participating in the tender are Raytheon with the Patriot system and Eurosam with the SAMP/T.
March 21/19: Interception Tests Israel’s Missile Defense Organization and the US Missile Defense Agency successfully completed a series of interception tests with the David’s Sling weapon system. Israeli company Rafael carried out the experiments at a test site in southern Israel. During the trials, advanced capabilities of the David’s Sling missile system were tested in a new version developed for a number of scenarios to simulate future threats the system may face during a confrontation. David’s Sling is a joint Israeli-US project, with Israel’s Rafael Advanced Defense Systems collaborating with US defense contractor Raytheon. The weapon system is also called „Magic Wand“ and became operational in 2017. It is designed to intercept tactical ballistic missiles, medium- to long-range rockets, as well as cruise missiles fired with ranges of 40 to 300 km.
August 10/17: Production of interceptors jointly-developed by US and Israeli industry for the latter’s multi-tiered missile defense system is being ramped up, as three interceptor programs transition from low-rate initial production (LRIP) to full-rate production. The Boeing-IAI developed Arrow-3, and the Rafael-Raytheon developed Stunner—used in the David’s Sling system—and Tamir—used by the Iron Dome—interceptors are built in a large part by US-based firms, with a network of contractors and sub-contractors stretching out across 30 of its 50 states. This is due to congressional mandates and government-to-government agreements which stipulates that at least 50% of the work is produced in the US. Potential exports are also being taken into account, as the Stunner—marketed abroad as the SkyCeptor—is currently being considered by the Polish government for its Patriot active defense system.
April 3/17: Another Israeli missile defense system, David’s Sling, has had its initial operating capability (IOC) declared by Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu at a ceremony on April 2. Deliveries of the system’s major components by Israel’s Missile Defense Organization and state-owned Rafael began in early March, followed by integration testing of all system components prior to gaining its IOC. The system was also put through multiple operational simulations as part of the US-Israel Juniper Cobra exercise, a biennial air defense drill aimed at honing interoperability between the two nations.
March 21/17: Israel will declare their multi-tier defense network operational from next month following the deployment of the David’s Sling interceptor system. Developed and manufactured jointly by Rafael and Raytheon, David’s Sling will be responsible for shooting down rockets fired from 100 to 200 kilometers away, such as projectiles fired by the Iranian-backed Lebanese guerrilla group Hezbollah. The network will include the IDF’s short-range Iron Dome and long-range Arrow missiles.
January 31/17: Israel and the US government have granted Israeli manufacturer Rafael permission to discuss the David’s Sling air-defense system with Poland as part of a wider export push for co-developed interceptor systems. The announcement comes as the anti-ballistic system was recently cleared during a fifth round of trials. Tel Aviv has been developing multi-tiered missile defense system with US and local industry for some years now, with their Iron Dome, Arrow and David’s Sling systems all being offered to foreign customers.
January 30/17: Israel and the US have completed a fifth series of tests on the David’s Sling missile defense system. The Israel Missile Defense Organization (IMDO) and US Missile Defense Agency (MDA) collaboration was tested at the Yanat Sea Range in Israel, with the system’s Stunner interceptors successfully engaging its targets. The David’s Sling project is for defense against large-caliber rockets and short-range ballistic missiles.
March 4/16: The Israeli Air Force (IAF) has begun to take possession of the David’s Sling Weapon System (DSWS). The first phase of the gradual delivery of components include multimission radar by Elta Systems; Stunner interceptors by Rafael and its US partner, Raytheon Missile Systems; and the Golden Almond Battle Management Center by Elbit Systems Elisra. Once these are in place, an integration testing of all system components will take place prior to a declaration of initial operational capability by the IAF. The DSWS has been developed to bridge the gap between the lower and upper tiers of Israel’s four-layer active defense network, deployed above Israel’s Iron Dome and below the upper-atmospheric Arrow-2 and exo-atmospheric Arrow-3.