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https://www.israeldefense.co.il/en/node/37870

 

Israel and the USA completed a test of the David's Sling system, in a "newly developed configuration", that is said to expand its envelope of targets, and prepare it for more complex types of targets.

 

I'll remind that this system is currently being integrated to the Patriot architecture as part of a contract with Poland.

 

 

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On 3/19/2019 at 9:10 PM, Mighty_Zuk said:

https://www.israeldefense.co.il/en/node/37870

 

 Israel and the USA completed a test of the David's Sling system, in a "newly developed configuration", that is said to expand its envelope of targets, and prepare it for more complex types of targets.

 

I'll remind that this system is currently being integrated to the Patriot architecture as part of a contract with Poland.

 

 

There is something fishy going on about David's Sling recently. After the political echelon proudly proclaimed its operational deployment in April 2017, David's Sling failed its 'baptism by fire' in july 2018 missing two SS-21 missiles launched by SAA as part of the ongoing civil war.

 

I have no doubt the failure provided valuable informations to improve the David Sling which is about to undergo an upgrade according to the latest news. What is worrying is since the mid-2018 miss, it has not been used operationally neither against the Iranian SSM on the Hermon nor against the Hamas M-302 SSM 'unintentional' attack early March and the yesterday's attack on a Moshav north of Tel Aviv.

 

These medium/long range rockets should have been the realm of David Sling's interceptors to whom just a single battery can cover the whole Tel Aviv metropolis and central Israel while you would need at least a half-dozen shorter-range Iron Dome batteries to do the same job in and around Tel Aviv.

 

Lastly, Rafael has withdrawn David Sling for the Swiss bid.

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3 hours ago, Adraste said:

 

There is something fishy going on about David's Sling recently. After the political echelon proudly proclaimed its operational deployment in April 2017, David's Sling failed its 'baptism by fire' in july 2018 missing two SS-21 missiles launched by SAA as part of the ongoing civil war.

 

I have no doubt the failure provided valuable informations to improve the David Sling which is about to undergo an upgrade according to the latest news. What is worrying is since the mid-2018 miss, it has not been used operationally neither against the Iranian SSM on the Hermon nor against the Hamas M-302 SSM 'unintentional' attack early March and the yesterday's attack on a Moshav north of Tel Aviv.

 

These medium/long range rockets should have been the realm of David Sling's interceptors to whom just a single battery can cover the whole Tel Aviv metropolis and central Israel while you would need at least a half-dozen shorter-range Iron Dome batteries to do the same job in and around Tel Aviv.

 

Lastly, Rafael has withdrawn David Sling for the Swiss bid.

 

The failure to defeat two SS-21 missiles in 2018 was not a system failure. Or at least not fully. One of the missiles has suffered a malfunction, but overall it was a mistake by the crew. Despite the Stunner missiles being stupid fast, the operators failed to take into account that the SS-21 would hit their intended targets BEFORE a Stunner missile could hit them. 

The other, non-malfunctioned missile, self-destructed in the air when the trajectory calculation showed the SS-21 would fall in Syrian territory, not Israeli. I will clarify on this one that due to the SS-21's rather poor accuracy, and the need to fire on it when it's still in a very early stage of flight, the predicted area of impact could be quite large, and thus encompassed Israeli territory.

 

Iron Dome missiles also show failures from time to time, but just like in this case, they are mostly operator's errors that stem from difficult circumstances.

 

The M-302 missile fired recently, and the Iranian long range rocket intercepted over the Hermon, both did not require a Stunner missile. A Stunner missile is much more suitable for targets like cruise missiles at long range, and short and medium range ballistic missiles, for example the Iskander-M, or Scud missiles. 

These were within the realm of the Iron Dome.

Over the Hermon, the Iron Dome fared well.

Over Tel Aviv, not so much. It was said that in both incidents, no interceptors were launched despite advanced early warning, and the IDF is investigating why in neither incident were the batteries not activated.

 

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Iron Dome is falling under the V-SHORAD and CRAM category. An Iron Dome battery can allegedly protects an urban or military area of approximately 150 square kilometers. It would mean the Tamir has an effective range of about 7 km which is in line of what we can expect from a V-SHORAD system.

 

To put thing in perspective Tel Aviv metro is  >1500 km² and the IDF has only 10 operational Iron Dome batteries for the foreseen futur. On the other hand, David's Sling has no such range limitation. Even if the Tamir interceptor has been upgraded with later model and the area it can defend has increased, it is still limited by its specific requirements and economics. There was little to zero chance that this unlucky moshav would have been under the protective coverage of an Iron Dome battery.

 

You understand why David's Sling is an absolutely critical layer specifically against the large caliber medium range rocket/missile like the ones fired at Tel Aviv metro from Gaza

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10 hours ago, Adraste said:

Iron Dome is falling under the V-SHORAD and CRAM category. An Iron Dome battery can allegedly protects an urban or military area of approximately 150 square kilometers. It would mean the Tamir has an effective range of about 7 km which is in line of what we can expect from a V-SHORAD system.

 

To put thing in perspective Tel Aviv metro is  >1500 km² and the IDF has only 10 operational Iron Dome batteries for the foreseen futur. On the other hand, David's Sling has no such range limitation. Even if the Tamir interceptor has been upgraded with later model and the area it can defend has increased, it is still limited by its specific requirements and economics. There was little to zero chance that this unlucky moshav would have been under the protective coverage of an Iron Dome battery.

 

You understand why David's Sling is an absolutely critical layer specifically against the large caliber medium range rocket/missile like the ones fired at Tel Aviv metro from Gaza

And yet, this data is contested even by Rafael's official data. They say the range of the Tamir is classified, as is the range of the David's Sling, and therefore only provide very vague figures that appear to be only true in very specific cases, in order to give the public something without revealing the true range.

A 150 square kilometer protected area does imply 7km range, but Rafael claimed in 2011 that a test of the system proved a then-newly-identified capability to intercept drones at a 10km altitude. A system with a 7km range on the horizontal plain would hardly reach even half that on vertical. 

I think what the 150 sqkm figure tells is over what area a single battery's components can be spread (mainly the launchers) without interrupting real-time communications. 

 

With a 10km altitude, any heavy rocket with a range of even 200km or more, comes within the interception range of the Iron Dome if it overflies it. That's what happened over the Hermon, and that's what happened numerous times over Tel Aviv and Jerusalem in 2014. Yep, the Iron Dome has a combat proven capability to defeat heavy rockets far larger and far more powerful than the officially stated "against rockets with 70km range" claim. 

 

All the areas surrounding Gaza are pretty much covered by the Iron Dome already. Therefore the David's Sling operators can focus on the much faster ballistic missiles possessed by Syria, Iran, and Hezbollah, rather than Gaza's long range rockets.

 

It was indeed possible for the David's Sling to react in both these cases, but I repeat that this duty overlaps with the Iron Dome, and the Iron Dome's inactivity, not failure, is being investigated.

 

Finally, it's quite sad Rafael didn't throw in its bid in the Swiss program. It could have been a key opportunity. In Poland they also withdrew their bid, but that was because the US offered them to have their missiles be part of the US offer in the Patriot system. Here it seems Raytheon entered a bid with only the PAC-3, but time may tell us more.

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13 hours ago, Ramlaen said:

I really have no idea why they aren't going for a Stunner missile for the Patriot system, which is supposed to be integrated with it for the Polish contract, or reviving their development of past multi-sensor AAMs/SAMs.

It just offers an exceptional level of redundancy against different countermeasures, and could remove the need to maintain PAC-2 and PAC-3MSE missiles at the same time.

Instead, what we're seeing is a decade long roadmap that does not give any focus to R&D. 

 

Their buy of Iron Dome is good. They could do even better with a more mobile version.

The IBCS effort is great. Even the low tier air defenses need such a network.

THAAD and GMD are doing amazing with their track record of successful experiments.

M-SHORAD though? Seems half assed. Weak and inaccurate cannon that could only be effective at very low ranges. Relatively slow missiles whose only advantage is ability to draw from massive stocks (provided they dont buy new units of Hellfire). Stingers are good though.

Laser based low cost air defense? No mention whatsoever. Speaking of which, the IDF's own laser based air defense was supposed to enter service when exactly? 2015? Nothing about it for years now, except maybe that IAI are now testing their own system with no further details. We know US companies have demonstrated capacity to fire lasers close to 100kW. 

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2 minutes ago, Ramlaen said:

Stunner is not as capable as PAC-3 at ABM.

Was there ever a proper comparison of the two?

I assume that would be because the radar on the Stunner is probably made cheaper, but its prime intended purpose is ABM after all.

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On 3/27/2019 at 12:41 PM, Mighty_Zuk said:

And yet, this data is contested even by Rafael's official data. They say the range of the Tamir is classified, as is the range of the David's Sling, and therefore only provide very vague figures that appear to be only true in very specific cases, in order to give the public something without revealing the true range.

A 150 square kilometer protected area does imply 7km range, but Rafael claimed in 2011 that a test of the system proved a then-newly-identified capability to intercept drones at a 10km altitude. A system with a 7km range on the horizontal plain would hardly reach even half that on vertical. 

I think what the 150 sqkm figure tells is over what area a single battery's components can be spread (mainly the launchers) without interrupting real-time communications. 

 

With a 10km altitude, any heavy rocket with a range of even 200km or more, comes within the interception range of the Iron Dome if it overflies it. That's what happened over the Hermon, and that's what happened numerous times over Tel Aviv and Jerusalem in 2014. Yep, the Iron Dome has a combat proven capability to defeat heavy rockets far larger and far more powerful than the officially stated "against rockets with 70km range" claim. 

 

All the areas surrounding Gaza are pretty much covered by the Iron Dome already. Therefore the David's Sling operators can focus on the much faster ballistic missiles possessed by Syria, Iran, and Hezbollah, rather than Gaza's long range rockets.

 

It was indeed possible for the David's Sling to react in both these cases, but I repeat that this duty overlaps with the Iron Dome, and the Iron Dome's inactivity, not failure, is being investigated.

 

Finally, it's quite sad Rafael didn't throw in its bid in the Swiss program. It could have been a key opportunity. In Poland they also withdrew their bid, but that was because the US offered them to have their missiles be part of the US offer in the Patriot system. Here it seems Raytheon entered a bid with only the PAC-3, but time may tell us more.

AFAIK during the Hermon missile attack, the Iranian guided-ballistic rockets were specifically targeting the military and civilian sites. There was no overfly per-se, the iranian rockets were in their final descending phase of the ballistic path when the Tamir missiles were launched to intercept them. There was an intelligence warning that the IRGC intended to attack the Hermon so an Iron Dome battery was positioned just next to the ski resort beforehand. 

 

I am not an expert in rocket science but the heavy caliber medium range rocket like the M-302 in Gaza should be able to reach an apogee much greater than 10 km altitude, probably between 30 and 50 km when launched at their maximum range of 150km.

 

Even if the Iron Dome can reach an altitude of 10km, intercepting medium and long range rockets would be only possible when the threats are themself in their terminal phase of flight.

 

Thus having the Gaza strip surrounded by Iron Dome batteries would not necessarily protect the center of Israel against Hamas  long-range rockets like the M-302. A faster and longer-range interceptor like the Stunner could be used not only to intercept the M-302 during its terminal phase over Tel-Aviv but also during M-302's ascending and apogee phase before and during mid-flight.

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1 hour ago, Mighty_Zuk said:

Was there ever a proper comparison of the two?

I assume that would be because the radar on the Stunner is probably made cheaper, but its prime intended purpose is ABM after all.

 

Besides making a deduction of kinetic ability from the available information on the missiles, Raytheon is pretty upfront about their engagement envelopes.

 

https://www.raytheon.com/sites/default/files/ourcompany/rtnwcm/groups/ids/documents/content/missile-defense-pdf.pdf

 

Perhaps IFPC will end up using both Tamir and Stunner now that the US Army is considering 'bigger missiles'?

Edited by Ramlaen

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2 hours ago, Mighty_Zuk said:

M-SHORAD though? Seems half assed. Weak and inaccurate cannon that could only be effective at very low ranges. Relatively slow missiles whose only advantage is ability to draw from massive stocks (provided they dont buy new units of Hellfire). Stingers are good though.

Laser based low cost air defense? No mention whatsoever. Speaking of which, the IDF's own laser based air defense was supposed to enter service when exactly? 2015? Nothing about it for years now, except maybe that IAI are now testing their own system with no further details. We know US companies have demonstrated capacity to fire lasers close to 100kW. 

 

The XM914 cannon firing RF prox fuze is a very low cost short ranged interceptor.

 

Hellfire are dual purpose anti-air/anti-surface.

 

A 50kW laser is coming in the near future. Internal vehicle space for laser equipment might play into why Leonardo/Moog's turret was selected over Boeing's.

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52 minutes ago, Ramlaen said:

 

Besides making a deduction of kinetic ability from the available information on the missiles, Raytheon is pretty upfront about their engagement envelopes.

 

https://www.raytheon.com/sites/default/files/ourcompany/rtnwcm/groups/ids/documents/content/missile-defense-pdf.pdf

Rafael has not released any information about the kinetic ability of the Stunner other than it having a 3-pulse engine, including a rocket booster, and the ability to engage cruise missiles, aircraft, and short to medium range ballistic missiles.

No range nor speed were mentioned, although it is widely believed to reach hypersonic speeds at its final stage of flight, based on a report that cannot yet be verified.

Raytheon, probably by the request of the Israeli gov't, also does not release such information.

 

I assume you looked at the graph in page 3.

If you look again, you'll see they mention the Stunner under 2 different names - David's Sling as a lower tier system, and then the Skyceptor as a missile on the same kinetic tier as the PAC-2 and PAC-3MSE. 

 

David's Sling's classification as a lower tier system is probably a matter of graphical design. It uses the EL/M-2084 radar with a 500km air search range, but is supplemented by the Green Pine and Super Green Pine radars of the Arrow systems, and is connected to the higher tiers via a single network, and has access to radars on the national level, making it effectively a matter of deploying arrays of interceptors around. 

I assume that in any form of deployment, the Skyceptor, much like the Patriot, is supposed to be connected to higher tier radars as well. The missile remains the same in every way.

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1 hour ago, Adraste said:

AFAIK during the Hermon missile attack, the Iranian guided-ballistic rockets were specifically targeting the military and civilian sites. There was no overfly per-se, the iranian rockets were in their final descending phase of the ballistic path when the Tamir missiles were launched to intercept them. There was an intelligence warning that the IRGC intended to attack the Hermon so an Iron Dome battery was positioned just next to the ski ressort beforehand. 

 

I am not an expert in rocket science but the heavy caliber medium range rocket like the M-302 in Gaza should be able to reach an apogee of much more than 10 km altitude, probably between 30 and 50 km when launched at their maximum range of 150km.

 

Even if the Iron Dome can reach an altitude of 10km, intercepting medium and long range rockets would be only possible when the threats are themself in their terminal phase of flight.

 

Thus having the Gaza strip surrounded by Iron Dome batteries would not necessary protect the center of Israel against Hamas  long-range rockets like the M-302. A faster and longer-range interceptor like the Stunner could be used not only to intercept the M-302 during its terminal phase over Tel-Aviv but also during M-302's ascending and apogee phase before and during mid-flight.

The media report at the time, which was not yet disputed, said the rocket was aimed at central Israel. Not at the Hermon.

The Iron Dome has the opportunity to intercept the missiles at least at the first stage of flight, although it was said they intercepted the missiles over Tel Aviv in 2014 at about the middle of their flight.

 

It seems the IDF is fairly confident in the Iron Dome's capability to defeat these rockets. I'll leave it to them to decide.

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Which report suggests Stunner is mach 5+ during terminal?

 

Also yes that Raytheon graphic lists Patriot missiles together, that doesn't mean Skyceptor, PAC-2GEM, PAC-3 and PAC-3MSE all share an engagement envelope.

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7 hours ago, Ramlaen said:

Which report suggests Stunner is mach 5+ during terminal?

 

Also yes that Raytheon graphic lists Patriot missiles together, that doesn't mean Skyceptor, PAC-2GEM, PAC-3 and PAC-3MSE all share an engagement envelope.

Seems that now the english version of Wikipedia has deleted the figure altogether, and the hebrew version deleted the source only. Other searches yield no results other than many articles that already took the mach 7.5 speed as a reality, even though within the atmosphere it's not very likely.

 

I'm glad they deleted it. It was always an unverified claim. Still, much like the Iron Dome it seems the designers put quite a lot of effort in making it as fast as possible.

 

All these missiles, the Stunner, PAC-2 and PAC-3MSE, are listed as missiles capable of intercepting threats up to medium range ballistic missiles, and as low as cruise missiles. Seems to me like they're built for the same envelope.

 

Also, don't forget that the Stunner is built as a complete replacement to the Patriot in IDF service, and at some point was offered to the US as a PAC-4 system, so it's counter-intuitive to assume they have different envelopes when they're seen as direct counterparts by the industry.

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4 hours ago, Ramlaen said:

The IDF only uses PAC-2 GEM though, not PAC-3/PAC-3MSE.

Similar envelope missiles (MSE other than introducing hit to kill to the family focuses on size reduction instead of reusing the existing size to increase the envelope), and that's part of the reason why the IDF never bought the PAC-3MSE. Already had a program of its own. Plus the MSE is ridiculously expensive.

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21 minutes ago, Ramlaen said:

PAC-2GEM and PAC-3MSE do not share an engagement envelope.

 

PAC-3 is not a replacement for PAC-2. Raytheon is still upgrading PAC-2 instead of focusing on PAC-3.

 

Stunner is not capable of directly replacing PAC-3, there is a reason why Poland is buying both PAC-3MSE and Stunner.

Raytheon never really gave any specifics on the engagement envelope of the MSE. Instead all we got, basically, is that it's far better optimized from the beginning to do the ABM role, while the GEM got it through a software upgrade.

 

Why Poland got the MSE as well was also not said anywhere. And it is possible to assume different very realistic scenarios.

For example, the MSE being the more produced missile, is more reliant on export, and its higher price will obviously increase Raytheon's profit.

Since other contenders have used the MSE, particularly, the MEADS which was the next top contender, Poland could not have protested a push for an MSE buy very hard. 

 

PAC-3 may not necessarily be a replacement, but if that was the case, it's not a good talking point for the MSE. You want missiles to be more multirole within a certain kinetic envelope. 

 

Upgrading the PAC-2 also makes sense even if it was possible to fully replace it with PAC-3. Many customers are still using the PAC-2 and may not be too eager to replace it just yet.

 

The IDF does not need the PAC-3 because of the David's Sling which together with Arrow 2 and 3 provides complete protection against all levels of ballistic missiles.

But it still uses the PAC-2 and it will probably stay for quite a while, until it becomes too old, just like it did with the Hawks that only retired a couple years ago.

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A simpler explanation for Poland is that ABM is a higher immediate priority.

 

PAC-2 and PAC-3 do not share a kinetic envelope, hence PAC-2's ability to be multipurpose in comparison. This is not a negative for PAC-3, it means there are things each missile is better at than the other.

 

The IDF does not need PAC-3 because it has Arrow 2. If Stunner was a replacement for PAC-3, the IDF wouldn't need it as well for the same reason. Arrow 3, like THAAD, is on another tier.

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1 hour ago, Ramlaen said:

A simpler explanation for Poland is that ABM is a higher immediate priority.

 

PAC-2 and PAC-3 do not share a kinetic envelope, hence PAC-2's ability to be multipurpose in comparison. This is not a negative for PAC-3, it means there are things each missile is better at than the other.

 

The IDF does not need PAC-3 because it has Arrow 2. If Stunner was a replacement for PAC-3, the IDF wouldn't need it as well for the same reason. Arrow 3, like THAAD, is on another tier.

 

Arrow 2 is also not comparable with the PAC-3. It's an exo-atmospheric capable missile. It just complements the Arrow 3 because it has a dual capability in defeating threats in the endo-atmospheric and exo-atmospheric region, while the Arrow 3 can only intercept in the exo-atmospheric region.

 

Again, the Stunner was also developed first and foremost for the ABM role. An officially stated range of 160km, albeit not repeated claim, puts it in the same category as PAC-2 in terms of range, but due to its higher speed it expands its potential target list.

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Quote

   The Russian Aerospace Force tested the latest version of the Pantsir-SM short-range anti-aircraft missile and cannon complex. The main focus of the modernization of the complex was paid to the fight against drones.

 

   - 54 real and theoretical classes were conducted, they ended in live shooting. In particular, Pantsir-SM, the latest version of the Pantsir short range AA system, showed high efficiency against quadrocopter-type targets, said Lieutenant-General Yuri Grekhov, deputy commander of the Russian Space Forces Command, commander of the air defense missile defense, told Ekho Moskvy.

 

   The main feature of the Pantsir-SM was a multifunctional sighting radar with a phased antenna array. Thanks to the new radar, the target detection range has increased to 75 kilometers, and range of target engagement  to 40, twice as long as the old Pantsir. New Pantsir is armed with missiles with increased range.

 

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