Jerusalem: Israel's David's Sling missile defence system will be put through advanced trials, before being made operational, media reported.
The system, also known as the “Magic Wand”, is being jointly developed by Israel's Rafael Advanced Defense Systems Ltd. and the US firm Raytheon Co, and is designed to intercept various aerial threats, including rockets, aircrafts and cruise missiles, at distances ranging from 40 km to 300 km, Xinhua reported.
The interceptor, known as "Stunner," is a two-stage missile that can reach a top speed of Mach 7.5 and consists of a "kill vehicle" with advanced steering for super manoeuvrability during the kill phase.
Once operational, the system will comprise the middle tier of Israel's multi-layered missile shield and would dramatically enhance its ability to confront the increasing threat of rockets and missiles in the inventories of the Hamas, Hezbollah, Syria and Iran.
Initial trials will focus on the ability of the David's Sling to shoot down rockets and missiles with a range three times greater than the Iron Dome anti-rocket defence system, which, since entering service in 2011, has intercepted hundreds of Qassam-type and other rockets fired by militants.
The initial tests will be followed by two further trials, in which the system will be pitted against aircrafts and longer-range threats, including cruise missiles.
In a test held by Israel's defence ministry and the US missile defence agency in November, 2013, a “Stunner” interceptor successfully destroyed a ballistic missile in mid-air, sparking optimism among officials who attended the trial that Israel would soon be able to defend itself against more potent threats posed by its foes.
"What's special about it is that it knows how to intercept from a low altitude to a fairly high altitude in the atmosphere, covering a wide area, which I can't disclose," said Yair Ramati, head of the Israel Missile Defense Organisation.