The US and Israel defense establishments have launched the first course for operators of the Magic Wand anti-missile system, which is scheduled to go operational in the coming months. It will complement the Iron Dome system, which deals mostly with short range missiles, and counter both short and medium range missiles, with a focus on accurate missiles.
The third layer of protection, which will deal with long range missiles, is the Arrow system, which is not yet operational.
The Magic Wand, which has also been called David's Sling, is believed to be primarily intended against the threat of missile attack by Hezbollah, which is thought to have at least 100,000 missiles, many of them accurate. Former prime minister and defense minister Ehud Barak recently warned that "We have not really dealt with 100,000 rockets, and we have not started to deal with the matter of their accuracy.” Citizens would be in for a great shock when accurate missiles – as opposed to the inaccurate variety they have been used to – begin raining down on them, he said.
Prime Minister Binyamin Netanyahu recently said that "Iran is seeking to cover Israel with intense fire,” and that in Lebanon, “the Iranians are inserting the most advanced weapons in the world, and strengthening Hezbollah, so that it can hit any spot in Israel.”
The security establishment is reportedly rehearsing for nightmare scenarios involving up to 4,000 Israelis killed in the initial days of a war with Iranian proxies.
Joint US-Israel effort
The Magic Wand project is a joint effort by the Israel Defense Ministry's Homa Authority, the American Missile Defense Agency (MDA), and Rafael, the main contractor for Magic Wand, which works in cooperation with US-based Raytheon.
The course will take six months. In this time, the soldiers being trained will learn to operate the interception system. The system is expected to go operational once a final test is conducted.
The Head of the Homa Authority spoke at the opening of the course and said: “The vision laid out about a decade ago has turned into reality today. We are placing the best technology in the hands of the combat soldiers in Air Combat. There is no other system like this in the world. Together with the Air Force and the defense industries, we will give Israel's citizens the required defense.”
The system's MMR radar was developed by Elta, a subsidiary of the Israel Aerospace Industries. The command and control system, Shaked Zahav, was developed by Elisra, which is a part of Elbit Systems.