Tuesday, July 24, 2018

Syrian Missiles With Half-Ton Warheads Trigger Israel's Anti-Missile System

2 Syrian missiles with half-ton warheads trigger Israel's anti-missile system

The targets of the first known operational launch of the David’s Sling air defense system on Monday were a pair of Syrian surface-to-surface missiles carrying approximately a half ton of explosives, according to the military’s initial investigation.
Israeli authorities said they initially feared the missiles were headed for Israel. But ultimately the two Syrian SS-21 short-range ballistic missiles — which were fired as part of the country’s internal fighting and not deliberately aimed at Israel — did not clear the border and landed one kilometer inside Syria.
The two David’s Sling interceptor missiles were launched as a precautionary measure when the system calculated that the Syrian projectiles might be on track to strike northern Israel.

After a period of time, however, the air defense battery’s computers determined that the Syrian missiles were going to fall short and did not pose a danger to Israel. At that point, one of the interceptor missiles was ordered to self-destruct, doing so over northern Israel, in the southern Golan Heights.

The army’s initial investigation has yet to determine what happened to the second interceptor — if it successfully intercepted one of the Syrian missiles, if it landed intact inside Syria, or if it successfully self-destructed over Syria.

There were concerns in the military that if the David’s Sling interceptor missile landed intact in Syria, it could be taken by the Syrian military and used to gather intelligence about the air defense system’s capabilities. However, this was not seen as a likely scenario.

The military’s air defense systems that detect and track incoming missiles and rockets are less accurate immediately after a projectile is launched, as they have less information on its trajectory. As the missile or rocket flies, the systems can better predict where it is likely to land.

Incoming rocket alert sirens sounded throughout northeastern Israel on Tuesday, sending thousands of residents rushing to bomb shelters for the second day in a row.
The military said it was investigating what triggered the system.
Residents of northern Israel reported seeing white trails in the sky, like those left by air defense interceptor missiles.

The Safed municipality told residents that air defense systems in the area had fired interceptor missiles and said there were no special safety instructions in light of the situation.
The alarms could be heard in the Golan Heights and Jordan Valley regions, the army said.
It was not immediately clear at what the anti-aircraft missiles had been fired.
The sirens came a day after Israel launched two David’s Sling interceptor missiles at a pair of Syrian surface-to-surface missiles carrying approximately a half ton of explosives each that appeared to be heading toward Israel, but ultimately landed inside Syria.

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