The David’s Sling is an air defense missile system jointly developed by Rafael Advanced Defense Systems of Israel and Raytheon of the United States. Its purpose is to intercept and destroy various airborne threats, including ballistic missiles, cruise missiles, and large-caliber rockets. Acting as a medium-to-long-range system, it complements Israel’s existing defense capabilities by filling the gap between the short-range Iron Dome and the long-range Arrow missile defense systems.
The development of David’s Sling system began in the early 2000s as a response to the escalating missile threats faced by Israel in the region. Close cooperation and significant financial and technical support from the United States government facilitated its creation. In 2006, the Israel Missile Defense Organization (IMDO) and the US Missile Defense Agency (MDA) entered into a joint development agreement to establish the foundation for the system. After several years of development and testing, David’s Sling system achieved its first successful intercept test in 2015. It became operational in April 2017 and was integrated into the air defense capabilities of the Israeli Defense Forces.
The David’s Sling Missile System is equipped with EL/M-2084 multi-mission radar capable of detecting and tracking targets at ranges of up to 250-300 Km. It possesses the capability to intercept ballistic and cruise missiles within a range of 40 to 300 kilometers with a speed of 7.5 Mach. This versatility enables it to engage multiple threats simultaneously, providing a robust defense against a wide array of airborne dangers. The international recognition of the David’s Sling system is evident through Finland’s decision on April 5, 2023, to acquire it from the United States and Israel for a total amount of €316 million. This demonstrates the system’s efficacy and the trust placed in its capabilities.
In May, 2023, the Israeli Ministry of Defense (MoD) proudly announced the first successful operational interception carried out by the Israel Defense Forces (IDF) utilizing the David’s Sling Air Defense Missile System. The system was used to intercept about 270 rockets fired from Gaza towards Israel. This achievement showcased the system’s effectiveness in real-world scenarios and its crucial role in safeguarding Israeli airspace.