Israel may soon wave "Magic Wand"
An Israeli defense official has assessed that Magic Wand, a system designed to shoot down mid- range rockets, may be declared operational in 2013, cutting short the original deadline by one year, local media reported on Wednesday.
Pini Yungman, who heads the project for RAFAEL Advanced Defense Systems Ltd, said the system is slated to undergo advanced test within a few months, according to the Ynet news site.
Speaking at a conference on military developments on Tuesday, Yungman said that Magic Wand, also known as "David's Sling," would be able to "tackle threats which are currently considered only potential. Its purpose is to be able to target all short-range missiles, as well as cruise missiles."
He added that development of the system was "much faster" than planned, but declined to provide an estimated date in which the system would become fully operational, Xinhua reported.
Magic Wand, developed jointly with U.S. missile giant Raytheon, is the mid-tier of the Israeli military's multi-layered defense screen, a concept still in the work that purports to provide a comprehensive shield against a host of airborne threats -- from crude, short-range Kassam rockets to long-range ballistic missiles.
The Israel Air Force had recently invited foreign media for a view of the command-and-control center of Arrow II, a system for intercepting ballistic missiles high in the stratosphere that has become operational a decade ago.
Other systems currently employed by the IAF's Air Defense Corps were put on display, including "Iron Dome," a system that successfully intercepted eight rockets fired from Gaza against southern Israel in April, and the U.S.-made Patriot.