The Israeli air force has given the go-ahead for enhancements to Patriot antimissile batteries that would encompass the integration of new hardware and computer systems, the Jerusalem Post reported on Sunday (see GSN, June 21).
The new additions would allow the air force in the future to acquire Patriot Advanced Capability 3 interceptors -- a more sophisticated system that is presently employed by the United States.
The PAC-3 interceptor is thought to have the ability to eliminate the majority of Syria's missiles. The interceptor brings down target missiles through direct contact rather than using the detonating warhead employed by the older PAC-2 interceptor. The PAC-3 interceptor is also more compact, allowing 16 missiles to be fired form a single launcher rather than the four permitted by the PAC-2.
"The upgrades will see improvements in the system's ability to detect and intercept missiles that could not have been intercepted before," an Israeli air force source said.
Israel has constructed a multifaceted defense system that is intended to shield against a variety of aerial threats including rockets and short-, medium- and long-range missiles. The Patriot interceptors are to counter medium-range missile strikes, according to the newspaper. The air force intends ultimately to supplant the Patriot interceptors with its David's Sling system, which should provide protection against missiles with ranges of between 43 and 186 miles.
The air force anticipates standing up David's Sling next year (Yaakov Katz, Jerusalem Post, July 10).