By Ann Roosevelt

Five House members yesterday issued a statement applauding the Defense Department’s intent to sign the David’s Sling Weapon System Project Agreement with the Ministry of Defense of the State of Israel.

House Armed Services Committee (HASC) Chairman Ike Skelton (D-Mo.), House Foreign Affairs Committee Chairman Howard Berman (D-Calif.), HASC Subcommittee on Strategic Forces Chairman Jim Langevin (D-R.I.), HASC member Rep. Glenn Nye (D-Va.), and Foreign Affairs Committee member Rep. Michael McMahon (D-N.Y.), signed off on the statement:

“We congratulate the Department of Defense for launching the development of Israel’s David’s Sling Weapons System. As the Iranian-Syrian-Hezbollah missile threat continues to grow, we will continue to help Israel secure its territory from its determined enemies.

“David’s Sling, paired with the Iron Dome rocket and missile defense system, will help our most important ally protect its borders from profound missile threats. Peace comes with security, and a secure Israel is an Israel that can take risks for peace.”

The United States and Israel entered into the U.S.-Israel Short-Range Ballistic Missile Defense System Project Agreement to develop the David’s Sling Weapon System (DSWS), an Israeli concept, after the Agreement between the U.S. Defense Department and the Ministry of Defense of the State of Israel for Research, Development, Test and Evaluation Projects.

The DSWS concept consists of the Stunner interceptor, a joint project between Israel’s Rafael and Raytheon [RTN]. Rafael is the prime contractor for the system.

The DSWS also includes launch site control, multi-mission radar, data link system and a battle management command, control, and communications System.

When fully developed, the DSWS will be integrated into the Israeli missile defense system and will be interoperable with the U.S. ballistic missile defense weapon systems.

The U.S. Missile Defense Agency (MDA) and Israel have cooperated on missile defense initiatives since 1986. At the same time, MDA has been developing, testing and exercising interoperability between the U.S. ballistic missile defense system MDA is building and the Israeli Missile Defense Architecture.

In late July, the United States and Israel signed an agreement to develop the Arrow 3 missile system, developed by Israel Aerospace Industries (IAI) and Boeing [BA].

Israel is working to build a three-tiered defense against hostile missile threats. The U.S. and Israel have developed the Arrow Missile System against long range, regional threats. David’s Sling would protect against short-range threats, while Iron Dome would protect against mid-and short-range ballistic missile threats and 155 mm artillery projectiles.

In May 2010, the U.S. House of Representatives passed H.R. 5327, the U.S.-Israel Rocket and Missile Defense Cooperation and Support Act, introduced by Nye, with 54 co sponsors, which authorized assistance to support the deployment of Israel’s Iron Dome rocket and missile defense system.

The bill is presently awaiting action in the Senate Committee on Foreign Relations.

Since then, the Iron Dome system has proven effective in tests and is now deployed in the field protecting Israeli territory, House members said in their statement.