Medium-to-long range air defense missile system - Israel / United States
The David's Sling, also known as the Magic Wand, is an Israeli medium-to-long range air defense missile system designed to intercept and destroy a variety of aerial threats, including ballistic missiles, cruise missiles, and large-caliber rockets. The system is jointly developed by the Israeli state-owned defense contractor Rafael Advanced Defense Systems and the American defense company Raytheon. It is designed to intercept ballistic and cruise missiles at ranges of 40 to 300 km.
The development of David's Sling began in the early 2000s in response to the growing regional missile threats faced by Israel. The primary focus was to create a missile defense system that could fill the gap between the short-range Iron Dome system and the long-range Arrow missile defense system, providing a comprehensive multi-layered defense shield.
The development of the system was conducted in close cooperation with the United States, and it received significant financial and technical support from the US government. In 2006, the Israel Missile Defense Organization (IMDO) and the US Missile Defense Agency (MDA) signed a joint development agreement, and the first successful intercept test was conducted in 2015. The system was officially declared operational in April 2017.
The David's Sling Missile System is in service with the Israeli Defense Forces. On April 5, 2023, Finland has announced it will acquire the US-Israeli-made David’s Sling long-range air defense system for an amount of €316 million.
On May 10, 2023, the Israeli Ministry of Defense (MoD) announced that the Israel Defence Forces (IDF) carried out the David's Sling Air Defense Missile System's 1st operational interception.
David's Sling variants:
- SkyCeptor: A variant of the Stunner hit-to-kill missile, the highly advanced SkyCeptor interceptor is developed by the American Raytheon to defeat short- to medium-range ballistic and cruise missiles and other advanced air defense threats. The SkyCeptor missile costs a fraction of other hit-to-kill interceptors.
The launcher unit of David’s Sling air defense missile system consists of a Transporter Erector Launcher (TEL) mounted on a two-axles trailer. The TEL is equipped with multiple missile canisters, typically carrying 6 to 12 Stunner interceptor missiles. Each missile is stored and launched vertically from its individual canister, reducing the preparation time required for firing and improving the system's response time.
The David's Sling missile component is the Stunner interceptor missile, which is equipped with advanced electro-optical sensors, a radar seeker, and a multiple-pulse rocket motor. The missile is designed to intercept the newest generation of tactical ballistic missiles at low altitudes, such as the Russian Iskander and the Chinese DF-15. It is a two-stage missile measuring 4.6 meters in length. It is capable of intercepting targets at altitudes of up to 15 km and distances ranging from 40 to 300 km. The Stunner reaches speeds of up to Mach 7.5, powered by a three-pulse solid propellant motor. The first two pulses provide acceleration during the initial trajectory, while the third pulse activates to increase speed and maneuver the interceptor before the final intercept.
Distinct from the Tamir interceptor used in the Iron Dome system, the Stunner does not carry a warhead. Instead, it relies on direct impact to defeat its targets. The interceptor features an asymmetric, dolphin-shaped nose that houses two sensors for terminal guidance: a combined electro-optical and imaging infrared (EO/IR) sensor, as well as a radar seeker for all-weather performance. During the midcourse phase, the missile obtains guidance updates from the system's ground-based radar through an onboard datalink.
|The missile launcher containers of the David’s Sling air defense missile system are mounted on a two-axles semi-trailer which is towed by a military truck. All associated equipment of the David’s Sling is also carried by military trucks. While the specific details about the tractor truck used for the David's Sling air defense system are not publicly available, it is known that the system employs a heavy-duty truck chassis for its Transporter Erector Launcher (TEL). This truck provides the necessary mobility for the TEL, allowing it to be rapidly deployed and repositioned based on changing threat environments or tactical requirements.|
|Command and Control Systems|
|A David’s Sling battery consists of Transporter Erector Launchers (TELs), an ELM-2084 fire control radar, a Golden Almond Battle Management Center, Stunner interceptors, and Communication and Data Link systems. The Transporter Erector Launcher (TEL) is a mobile launcher unit mounted on a heavy-duty truck chassis. It carries multiple missile canisters, typically housing 6 to 12 Stunner interceptor missiles, which are launched vertically from their individual canisters. |
David's Sling also utilizes a ground-based radar system, typically the EL/M-2084 Multi-Mission Radar (MMR) developed by the Israeli company Elta Systems, a subsidiary of Israel Aerospace Industries. This radar system is responsible for detecting, tracking, and providing target information to the interceptor missiles throughout their flight. The detection and tracking range of the EL/M-2084 radar depends on the specific configuration and the type of target. However, it is generally capable of detecting and tracking targets at ranges of up to 250-300 km (155-186 miles). The radar is designed to detect a wide range of aerial threats, including aircraft, helicopters, unmanned aerial vehicles (UAVs), cruise missiles, and ballistic missiles.
One of the key features of the EL/M-2084 radar is its versatility, as it can be configured for different mission requirements such as air surveillance, artillery spotting, and air traffic control. The radar's advanced AESA technology allows it to perform multiple tasks simultaneously, providing a comprehensive situational awareness picture and enabling effective coordination with air defense systems like David's Sling.
The Golden Almond Battle Management Center serves as the command and control center of David's Sling system. Developed by Elbit Systems, an Israeli defense electronics company, this mobile center processes sensor data manages the system's operations and coordinates with other air defense assets such as the Iron Dome and Arrow systems.
Finally, David's Sling system relies on secure communication and data links to ensure seamless coordination between its components, including the radar system, interceptor missiles, and the command and control center. These data links enable the system to receive real-time updates and respond to evolving threats effectively.
|David's Sling EL/M-2084 multi mission radar|
|The David's Sling missile air defense missile system intended purpose is to provide a medium-to-long-range air defense capability, complementing the short-range Iron Dome and long-range Arrow missile defense systems. In a combat scenario, the EL/M-2084 Multi-Mission Radar or other compatible radar systems would continuously monitor the airspace, detecting and tracking potential aerial threats such as ballistic missiles, cruise missiles, and large-caliber rockets. The information from the radar would then be sent to the Golden Almond Battle Management Center, where operators would analyze the data to determine the type, trajectory, and potential impact points of the incoming threats. Based on this information, the most appropriate air defense system (David's Sling, Iron Dome, or Arrow) would be selected to engage the target. |
If David's Sling is selected to intercept the threat, the system's operators would initiate the launch sequence for the Stunner interceptor missiles. The Transporter Erector Launcher (TEL) would then vertically launch the Stunner interceptors towards the incoming threat. During the missile's flight, it would receive continuous updates from the ground-based radar via an onboard datalink, allowing it to adjust its trajectory and accurately track the target.
As the Stunner interceptor approaches the target, its onboard electro-optical and imaging infrared (EO/IR) sensors and radar seeker would provide terminal guidance for the final intercept. The Stunner interceptor would then directly impact the target, destroying it through kinetic energy.
Throughout this process, David's Sling system would coordinate with other air defense assets, such as the Iron Dome and Arrow systems, and share information with the broader Israeli and allied defense networks to ensure comprehensive situational awareness and effective layered defense against aerial threats.
|Medium-to-long range air defense missile system||400 kg|
|Country users||Dimensions Missile|
|Finland, Israel||Length: 4.6 m; Span: 1.1 m; Diameter 0.35 m|
|Designer Country||Speed Missile|
|Israel / United States||Mach 7.5 (approximately 5,753 miles per hour or 9,255 kilometers per hour)|
|Destruction Capabilities missile||Interception Range|
|The Stunner missile, traveling at speeds of up to Mach 7.5, directly collides with the target. The kinetic energy generated by the missile's high speed and mass is sufficient to destroy the aerial threat upon impact.||40 to 300 km (approximately 25 to 186 miles).|
|Midcourse and terminal guidance systems||EL/M-2084 Multi-Mission Radar capable of detecting and tracking targets at ranges of up to 250-300 km|
|TEL Transporter Erector Launcher unit|
|Stunner Missile Interceptor|
|ELM-2084 Multi Mission Radar|
|Golden Almond Battle Management Center|
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