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Military secrets: Moscow and Israel’s secret weapon

Syrian army fighters handed over a new David s Sling interceptor missile to Russia.

The Russian Ministry of Defense gained access to one of Israel’s key secrets – the David s Sling missile interceptor. This happened, according to the Chinese news agency Sina, in Syria after an unsuccessful military launch of an Israeli rocket.


According to the publication, this was the first combat use of the Sling of David air defense system created by the Israeli company Rafael Advanced Defense Systems together with the American Raytheon. At the moment, it is considered the most modern missile defense system in Israel.

Sina, in any case, writes that her capabilities are compared with the Russian S-400 air defense systems (Triumph).


Tel Aviv adopted the “David s Sling” into service two years ago. And on July 23, 2018, she reportedly underwent her first baptism of fire: the system worked in response to the launch of two missiles of the Soviet Tochka complex from Syrian territory.


However, the capture of the target for some reason did not happen. After that, one of the two Israeli missile defense self-destructed in the air over the Golan, and the other fell on Syrian territory without exploding. Syrian army personnel removed the rocket from the crash site and delivered it to the Syrian-Russian military base, from where it was transported to Russia for further study.


According to the Chinese news agency, the United States and Israel allegedly asked Russia to return the rocket, but Moscow refused.


It is difficult to say whether this is so or not. Since official comments from either side so far (and almost a year and a half has passed) have not been followed.


But if the information is correct, and Russia really got this secret missile, then I would like to understand what is the main value of this “trophy”? Especially, due to the fact that the “Sling of David” is allegedly a competitor to our “Triumphs” …


  • There is no competition here, – says Konstantin Sivkov, vice president of the Russian Academy of Missile and Artillery Sciences (RARAN).
  • The S-400 is a universal anti-aircraft missile defense system capable of hitting all types of targets – airplanes, drones, cruise and ballistic missiles, etc. – at a distance of up to 400 km.


And the “Sling of David” is intended primarily to combat ballistic targets and unguided missiles in the range from 70 to 300 km.


That is, it is not worth comparing here — Russian missile systems are more advanced.

In addition, the Israelis did their missiles together with the Americans. And given the capabilities of the Americans to create air defense systems, which we well know about from the same Patriot air defense systems, I think they hardly managed to do anything better than the modified Patriot systems that are now in service, including the Israel Defense Forces .


In the best case, it can be something like the marine version of the Standard-2, Standard-3 missiles, which are on the warships of the US Navy to protect the fleet from air strikes. But the Aegis system to which they are attached is a rather massive and low-maneuverable design, it is difficult to deploy it on a mobile ground-based base.


So, there is hardly anything interesting for us here.


– And what does this “leakage of information” mean for Israel?


– For Israel, this means one thing – it will have to seriously revise its air defense system. Since now all the tactical and technical characteristics of this complex, the rocket’s operating modes, its homing heads will no longer be a secret for us. And then, perhaps (in certain conditions), and for other states that can compete with Israel.


Simply put, having studied the stuffing of this rocket, you can create a new effective system of electronic suppression, which will reduce the effectiveness of the combat use of the entire missile system.


There are many examples of how previously effective systems, after falling into the hands of the enemy, became ineffective.


You can recall the same Soviet air defense system «Kvadrat» (or «Cube» in the export version), which, incidentally, was delivered to Syria. During a military conflict in the Middle East in 1973, he disabled more than half of the Israeli military aircraft fleet. But then the Israelis managed to capture several installations, they created an effective electronic warfare system, and the effectiveness of the «Cube» was greatly reduced.


The same will be with the Sling of David.


So Israel will have to invest serious money in upgrading its missile in order to maintain the effectiveness of the entire complex.


– But this is also an American rocket …


– Since this is, indeed, joint production, we gain access to technologies that are used not only by Israelis, but also by Americans. So, we have the opportunity to create more advanced means of counteracting these systems, including the American ones.


We can dig, so to speak. See what interesting solutions there are for the possible use of our complexes. Although, of course, with regard to air defense, especially ground defense, we are now far ahead of the United States. But still – such information will never be superfluous.


TASS military observer, retired colonel Viktor Litovkin also does not consider the Israeli system a competitor to the Russian S-400:


– In fact, competitors are being identified in the arms market. And behind our Triumphs is a turn. They have already been purchased by China, Turkey, India is now buying, and there are still many who wish.


“David’s Sling” is not in such demand. As far as we know, no one has bought it yet.


True, Azerbaijan acquired the “Iron Dome” system from Tel Aviv, similar to that which provides the first level of layered missile defense of the state of Israel.


With their Sling, the Israelis did not enter the market. Firstly, it is necessary to produce a sufficient amount – they apparently have no resources for this.


Secondly, the Americans will not let them in, because everywhere they push their Patriot-3, which, by the way, is much worse than the “Sling of David,” and can not be compared with the S-400.


– Why almost a year and a half everyone was silent?


– Because Israel has nothing to brag about here. Their new missile fell into the hands of – I will not say that the enemy, but – into the hands of another state. Their secrets can be studied, analyzed and used to create Russian missile defense technology. After all, when you understand how the air defense system of a conditional enemy works, you can find ways to get around it somehow.


It is clear that the Israelis share their secrets with the Americans, and the Americans can use these developments in creating their own technology.


Apparently, the case was classified. But some leaks did occur. And the information appeared in the media.


– It is surprising that the Chinese were the most informed in this case …


– Just nothing surprising. Let me remind you of the story of how the Israelis created their single-engine supersonic fighter “Lavi” and wanted to produce it. But since the United States is to some extent the curators of the Israeli defense industry (annually provide Israel with about $ 4 billion in gratuitous aid for the purchase of American military equipment, including F-16), they closed this project. Then, in some incomprehensible way, the drawings of an Israeli plane suddenly ended up in China. Based on this machine, they later created their lightweight J-10 fighter, however, with many Russian components. And, moreover, these planes are being sold to Pakistan.


That is, the chain of contacts here is rather confusing. Therefore, it is not worth wondering that the Chinese edition was more informed. Apparently, some sources remained in Israel.


– Is this rocket an important “trophy” for us?


– Sure. Military equipment of another state, especially high-tech equipment, is always useful. First of all, to improve our own weapons systems. And to be able to most effectively, if necessary, counteract the enemy.


I am not saying that we are going to fight with Israel. But our planes are in Syria, and Israeli air defense systems are actually on the Syrian border. We agreed not to shoot at each other. Nevertheless, we all remember what happened to our Il-20 aircraft, which was shot down by Syrian air defense forces due to the provocation of the Israeli military.


No one can guarantee absolutely that something like this will not happen again. Therefore, any knowledge will be very useful to us.


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