Amid heightened tensions, Israel's David's Sling anti-missile system became operational Sunday, marking the completion of the Jewish state's three-tiered air defense arsenal.
In January, Israel and USA had jointly completed a series of interception tests using the David Sling system to qualify for induction into service. The system uses the same multi-mission radar developed by Elta Systems for the Iron Dome and serves as a bridge between the lower-tier Iron Dome and higher intercepting layers provided by the Arrow-2 and Arrow-3 systems.
The David Sling was jointly developed by Israeli Rafael Advanced Defense Systems and U.S. Raytheon to provide active defense from medium range missiles to replace Israeli Raytheon Patriot air defense units. Iron Dome intercepts short-range targets, and Arrow has the longest-range capabilities-its latest iteration can intercept long-range ballistic missiles outside the Earth's atmosphere. -Gen. Amir Eshel and Brig.
The Arrow system saw its first action in March when it destroyed an anti-aircraft missile fired from Syria after Israeli jets carried out airstrikes on Hezbollah, which supports the Syrian regime fighting rebels and jihadists.
Liberman said there is "no alternative to this system..." "Thanks to this system, we will be able to deal with our enemies, which we unfortunately have", he said.
The IDF said last month that the system would become operational "in early April". "Together they will protect Israel, its citizens and its cities".
Along the southern borders, there have been several incidents of rockets being fired into Israeli territory from Gaza and the Sinai since the beginning of 2017.
Israel is also on alert in the south of the country after Gaza's Hamas rulers accused it of assassinating a member of the group. Unlike the blast warhead featured on the Iron Dome's Tamir intercepting missile, David's Sling's maneuverable, two-stage, hit-to-kill Stunner missile is created to destroy threats through sheer force of impact.