Israel’s Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu inaugurated new anti-missile system David’s Sling as part of the latest addition to the country’s multi-tiered defence system, at a ceremony held at Hatzor Air Force Base on Sunday.
Attendees included: Defence Minister Avigdor Lieberman, IDF Chief of Staff Gadi Eisenkot, Air Force Major General Amir Eshel, US Missile Defence Agency Director James Syring and Air Defence Commander Zvi Haimovitz.
The new defence system will serve as a bridge between the Iron Dome, which intercepts short-range missiles, and top tier Arrow 2 and Arrow 3 systems that protect against long-range missiles. David’s Sling is intended to intercept medium-range missiles with ranges between 65 and 125 miles, kamikaze drones and heavy artillery fires.
Prime Minister Netanyahu addressed US representative James Syring, stating: “Today marks an important milestone in our joint development of cutting-edge missile defence technologies. We face, both of us, increasingly sophisticated threats, but we have repeatedly demonstrated that together we can meet these challenges a lot better than any of us could do so alone”.
He continued: “We have pioneering technology here, as Israel continues to be a world leader in this field….I ascribe very great importance to our ability to defend the home front. We have proven this in the allocation of resources and in producing interceptors and other means”.
David’s Sling uses the same radar systems used for Israel’s Iron Dome missile defence system, however it is portable, enabling the system to be manoeuvred to cover the entirety of Israel. The Patriot defence systems designed to take down aerial vehicles will also continue to operate for at least the next five years.
The latest defence system took close to 13 years to develop, and was jointly created by Israel’s Rafael Advanced Defence Systems Ltd in tandem with US defence corporation Raytheon Co.
Defence Minister Lieberman said at the ceremony: “When we look at the map of the world, we see a small pin called the State of Israel…Every time I ask myself how one can deal with this in addition to $220 billion’s worth of arms in 2016 alone, not including Iran, I give myself the same answer: there is only one way – vision, pride and security”.
He continued to note that the system, together with the current “excellent security personnel in place”, would allow Israel “to give an answer to all those who try to harm us to destroy us, and unfortunately there are still those in the world”.