Israel's 'David's Sling' Missile Defense System Passes Advanced Testing

The system, also known as 'Magic Wand' and designed to intercept medium-range missiles, could go into operation as early as next year.

Haaretz Archive

Operational testing of the 'David's Sling' rocket interception system (also known as 'Magic Wand') was completed on Wednesday, ahead of its going into service.

The Defense Ministry said in a statement that the series of tests went well and that one more test was scheduled before the system becomes operational. The Magic Wand interceptor was launched at a target rocket in the recent testing and “destroyed the target as planned,” according to the statement.

It was the third interception test for the system, which is designed to intercept medium-range rockets and missiles. The previous interception test, at the end of 2013, was also successful.

The system is meant ”to provide another layer of protection from short- and medium-range rockets and missiles, with an emphasis on precise threats, and also to add interception opportunities to the Arrow missile system, and thereby add a further level of padding to Israel’s defense system against the missile and rocket threat," the ministry said in its statement.

"The success of the test marks an important milestone in Israel’s operational capability to defend itself against the type of threats that are expected in the area.”

On Tuesday, the Home Front Command presented its assessment of a future conflict with Hezbollah, which, it said, could involve 1,000-1,500 rockets being fired daily at the Israeli home front, from Gush Dan to Eilat.

Defense Ministry plans call for the air force to be furnished with the Magic Wand system’s initial capabilities by the end of the year, as an interim step to making it operational.

“The testing stage for the system was very important,” Defense Minister Moshe Ya’alon said in a briefing with reporters on Wednesday. He added that the air force could start to be equipped with Magic Wand batteries as early as next year.

Magic Wand was developed jointly by Israel’s RAFAEL and the American Raytheon company. The series of tests completed yesterday was carried out by the Israeli Defense Ministry and the American Missile Defense Agency (MDA.)