A crucial element of Israel's defence system is at risk of becoming compromised after its advanced surface-to-air interceptor missile known as "David's Sling" was found intact by Syrian forces and handed to the Russians to reverse engineer the technology.
Israeli sources reported that missiles fired in 2018 during what is believed to be its first known operational use, landed intact inside Syrian territory. One of the interceptor missiles failed to strike its target and another fell inside Syria. The interceptor landed intact in Syria and is believed to have been swiftly recovered by Syrian military forces and handed over to the Russians.
It's reported that both Israel and the US asked Russia to return the missile, but there is no confirmation that the request has been met by Moscow.
US defence contractor Raytheon, which co-manufactured the "David's Sling System" with Israel's Rafael Advanced Defence Systems has described the interceptor missile system as "a crucial element of Israel's multi-tier layered missile defence architecture." It can shoot down "tactical ballistic missiles, medium- to long-range rockets, enemy planes, drones and cruise missiles, including Scud missiles".
During last year's failed strike, missiles from "David's Sling" were targeting Russian-made projectiles, launched from Syria, which were in the air for a minute and a half. The missiles are said to be able to carry a half tonne warhead and have a range of 100 kilometres.