David’s Sling would serve as a bridge between Iron Dome and Arrow, Israeli officials say, blocking out rockets that prove too fast and powerful for Iron Dome, or any ballistic missiles that are missed by Arrow.
Israel has already deployed the second generation of Arrow, known as Arrow II, as well as Iron Dome. The latter, also manufactured by Rafael, shot down hundreds of Palestinian rockets during the Gaza fighting of Nov. 14 to 22.
Sayyed Hassan Nasrallah, leader of Hezbollah, which has been armed and funded by Iran, warned Israel on Sunday that thousands of rockets would rain down on Tel Aviv and cities across the Jewish state if it attacked Lebanon.
The Fajr-5s, with a range of some 75 km - able to strike Tel Aviv or Jerusalem - and 175 kg (386 lb) warheads, are the most powerful and long-range rockets to have been fired from Gaza.
But Hezbollah, which fought Israel to a standstill in a 34-day war six years ago, says it has been re-arming since then and has a far deadlier arsenal than Hamas, Gaza’s Islamist rulers.
Like Iron Dome and Arrow, David’s Sling has drawn interest from foreign clients, especially as the nascent system is also billed as being capable of intercepting cruise missiles.
Among potential customers have been at least two former Soviet satellite states in the Balkans, their diplomats told Reuters on condition neither they nor their countries would be named.
A recently retired Israeli defence official who has been briefed on the international contacts over David’s Sling linked the Balkan interest to worries about Russian cruise missiles.