TEL AVIV — Israel's Missile Defense Organization (IMDO) on Wednesday declared its successful completion of a third series of intercept tests for the Stunner missile.
Developed by state-owned Rafael and Raytheon, the US-Israel-funded interceptor is part of Israel's planned David's Sling active defense system.
"In the past few days, we conducted a series of tests. After evaluating all the data, we're defining the series as a full success," said Yair Ramati, IMDO director.
In an interview Wednesday, Ramati said the tests were conducted against targets representative of the long-range rockets and short-range missiles that David's Sling is designed to defend against.
He added that IMDO and the Pentagon's Missile Defense Agency are planning a fourth series of flight tests this year, after which the Israel Air Force should be prepared to declare initial operating capability.
Israel plans to deploy David's Sling as its newest layer of active defenses above Iron Dome — operationally proven against Katyusha and Grad-type rockets — and below Arrow-2, which is designed to intercept Scud- and Shihad-class tactical ballistic missiles.
Arrow-3, a joint US-Israel Upper Tier interceptor, will comprise Israel's highest layer of active defense and aims to destroy advanced, potentially nuclear-tipped ballistic missiles outside of Earth's atmosphere.
Opall-Rome is Israel bureau chief for Defense News. She has been covering U.S.-Israel strategic cooperation, Mideast security and missile defense since May 1988. She lives north of Tel Aviv. Visit her website at www.opall-rome.com.