A joint US-Israeli deal to co-produce the David's Sling missile defense system may be weeks away after years of negotiations, a defense official said Thursday.
US Navy Vice Admiral James Syring, director of the Missile Defense Agency (MDA), confirmed to Reuters that negotiations have continued with Israel over the defense system, with a draft agreement likely to be on the table by the end of the month and a final agreement by the end of the year.
Following that agreement, the US and Israel would discuss co-production of the Arrow defense system, he added.
"David's Sling," also known as "Magic Wand," is Israel's short-range ballistic missile defense system, which is being developed jointly by Israel's state-owned Rafael Advanced Defense Systems and the US's Raytheon.
The system, which is designed to intercept medium range missiles from nearby Gaza, Syria, and Lebanon, was tested in November 2013 and in April of this year with great success; it is part of a large-scale multi-layered missile defense project which includes the Arrow 1, 2, and 3 systems and the Iron Dome missile defense systems.
The Arrow missile defense system is designed to intercept long-range surface-to-surface ICBM (Inter-Continental Ballistic Missiles) of the type being developed by Iran; several tests of the Arrow since 2012 have failed, but development has continued in light of the Iranian nuclear threat.