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Israel, US Successfully Test Anti-Missile System to Protect Israel from Threats ‘Near and Far’

Photo Credit: Israel Ministry of Defense Spokesperson's Office
Photo Credit: Israel Ministry of Defense Spokesperson's Office

Despite the global focus on the COVID pandemic, Israel is still keeping its eyes on another continuing threat: that of missile and rocket attacks from nearby and faraway. 

For the first time, Israel and the US successfully completed tests this week on the interoperability of Israel’s multi-level anti-rocket and anti-missile system.

"I commend the successful test, which for the first time, assessed the combined interception capabilities of the multilayered air defense system of the State of Israel,” said Defense Minister Benny Gantz, according to a statement issued by the Ministry of Defense.

“This is one of the most advanced air defense mechanisms in the world and it protects the State from threats near and far,” Gantz said.

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Along its southern border, Israel is faced with the threat of rockets from Hamas and other terrorist groups that have reached as far as Tel Aviv. Along its northern border the Iranian-backed Hezbollah has as many as 150,000 missiles pointed at the Jewish state.

Israel’s defense system has four layers: the Iron Dome, David’s Sling, the Arrow-2, and Arrow-3.

“The systems in this multilayered mechanism provide Israel with a top tier strategic capability, enabling us to operate effectively in every scenario,” Gantz said.

Due to the COVID situation worldwide, US officials observed the tests by video.

Gantz thanked Israel’s partners in the US Defense Department, MDA, and the US government and Congress for supporting Israel in its development of the systems and helping it ensure Israel’s “security and operational superiority.”

“In the last few weeks, the defense establishment, together with the defense industries, conducted a series of tests - unprecedented in their complexity,” said Moshe Patel, head of the IMOD.

“Through these tests, we demonstrated that the State of Israel has a robust, multilayered capability to face a variety of threats – cruise missiles, UAVs and ballistic threats,” Patel said.

The Israel Missile Defense Organization (IMDO), of the Directorate for Defense R&D in the Ministry of Defense, together with the U.S. Missile Defense Agency (MDA), completed a series of live-fire intercept tests of a new and advanced version of David's Sling weapon system, against the threat represented by cruise and ballistic missiles.

They included a number of scenarios simulating future threats. 

The tests conducted were led by Rafael Advanced Systems (the prime contractor for the development of David's Sling, in cooperation with the American Raytheon company) with the participation of the Israel Air Force and Navy. It will enable experts to evaluate and upgrade the system’s capabilities. 

The tests also successfully demonstrated the capabilities of the Iron Dome in intercepting a variety of threats including UAVs and cruise missiles.  The Iron Dome is most well-known for its ability to intercept rockets from Gaza.

The Arrow anti-ballistic missile defense system was used to coordinate the systems.

“For the first time, we have demonstrated a multi-layered approach to dealing with threats – an approach that employs the Iron Dome, David's Sling and Arrow weapon systems,” Patel said.

“Using this approach, a variety of threats may be identified and intercepted via full coordination and interoperability between the systems,” he added.

"The capability that was demonstrated in this series of tests ensures the security of the State of Israel and its ability to contend with current and future threats,” said Res. Brig.-Gen. Pini Yungman.

"When the different systems in the multi-layered mechanism are combined, they may face a variety of simultaneous threats and defend the citizens of the State of Israel,” Yungman added.

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