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Israel, U.S. Successfully Test Advanced Missile Defense System

The Defense Ministry and the American Missile Defense Agency successfully tested an advanced version of David’s Sling, an Israeli missile defense system, the ministry announced on Tuesday.

The system was tested in a series of interception experiments conducted by state-owned Rafael Advanced Defense Systems in southern Israel. The Defense Ministry described the tests as “an important milestone in Israel’s operational capability to defend itself against existing threats and future ones.”

David’s Sling, also known as Magic Wand, was declared operational in 2017. It was developed by Rafael in cooperation with U.S. defense contractor Raytheon, with its radar developed by Elta Systems, a subsidiary of Israel Aerospace Industries, and its command and control system by Elbit Systems-subsidiary Elisra.

The system provides an additional layer of defense against short- and medium-range missiles and rockets, in addition to the Iron Dome, Patriot and Arrow systems, and is also designed to intercept drones. This week’s tests included some of the system’s advanced capabilities, including “future threats that it may face in a time of conflict.”

Israel used David’s Sling for the first time in July, firing at two Syrian surface-to-surface missiles. Each interceptor missile costs around $1 million, but the military insists that when launching defensive missiles it does not take the cost into account.

Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu, who also serves as defense minister, praised the successful test, which follows another one in January of the Arrow 3 missile system, designed to intercept ballistic missiles outside the atmosphere. “Israel continues to be a global trailblazer in the development of missile defense systems,” he said, thanking “our ally and partner” the United States, for “promoting this important security project.”

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