Following the success of the Iron Dome system during Operation Pillar of Defence, another element of Israel’s planned “multi-layer” defence shield was successfully test-fired this week.
The “David’s Sling” system is de-signed to protect Israel from medium-to-long-range missiles of the kind in Hizbollah and Syrian arsenals.
The system is due to enter operational use in 2014 and will be the middle layer of defence between the Iron Dome, which operates against short-to-mid-level missiles, and the Arrow, which was designed as a shield from missiles fired at a distance of hundreds of miles from Israel.
In the test carried out in the Negev desert on Sunday, the main components of the new system were tested for the first time in a full-scale exercise that included a successful interception of a target-missile by the David’s Sling rocket. One part of the system, the MMR radar, has already entered service as part of the fifth Iron Dome battery that was deployed near Tel-Aviv two weeks ago during the operation and intercepted missiles fired by Hamas towards the city. Throughout the eight-day operation, Iron Dome batteries intercepted 428 missiles with an 84 per cent success rate.
Despite the swift end of the operation, in which the IDF destroyed over half of Hamas’s missile capabilities and killed dozens of terror operatives, the initial reaction of the Israeli public was disappointment. One poll carried out for Channel Two had 46 per cent of the public saying that neither side had prevailed in the operation, while 29 per cent thought that Hamas had the upper-hand and only 20 per cent felt Israel had won.
In another poll, conducted by Panels Politics, 60 per cent said they were opposed to the ceasefire agreement while only four per cent believed that the outcome would lead to a long-term period of calm.