United States & Israel Test Missile Defense

The United States and Israel have successfully tested a new missile system known as David’s Sling, American and Israeli officials say.

Trials of the new Israeli missile system being developed in partnership with the US began last week and ended on Tuesday, officials reviewing the project said on Wednesday.

The trial was carried out this week in central Israel by the Israeli Military Affairs Ministry and the Pentagon’s Missile Defense Agency (MDA), the officials noted.

During the trial, David’s Sling radar identified an unarmed Sparrow missile moving toward its air space and fired an interceptor shooting it down.

The system is capable of targeting aircraft, guided rockets and cruise missiles.

The test is indicative of “a major milestone in the development of the David’s Sling weapon and provides confidence in future Israeli” military capabilities, said Rick Lehner, spokesman for the US Missile Defense Agency.

The main contractor of the system is Israel’s Rafael Advanced Systems, which develops it in cooperation with the American Raytheon defense company.

“This is a successful project, and we believe it will be operational next year,” Israeli Military Affairs Minister Moshe Ya’alon told the visiting speaker of the US House of Representatives, John Boehner.

MDA Director Vice Admiral James Syring said the US was satisfied with the test results and pledged to continue its assistance to Israel’s missile technology efforts.

US lawmakers have financially supported Israel’s military for long by funding its missile technologies. In 2014, the US Congress voted to grant Israel $225 million for Iron Dome.

Israeli officials have also asked the Congress for an additional $317 million to be added to the proposed  budget for the regime’s missile programs.

The funds requested by Israel are in addition to the $158 million the Pentagon proposed for the fiscal year that starts on October 1, the Jerusalem Post reported on February 28.

The new missile test came at the time of increased tension between President Barack Obama and Israeli Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu over Tel Aviv’s settlement projects in the occupied Palestinian territories.

The United States has called on Israel to stop the illegal settlement projects, however, Tel Aviv has ignored the demand.

Israeli settlements are considered illegal by the UN and most countries because the territories were captured by Israel in the Six-Day War of 1967, and are hence subject to the Geneva Conventions, which forbid construction on occupied lands.