Israeli Air Force F-15D Launched A Blue Sparrow Ballistic Test Target During Latest “David’s Sling” Interception Test

An F-15D takes off with a Blue Sparrow test missile. (Image credit: IAF)

The Israeli Air Force released some interesting images of an F-15D carrying a Blue Sparrow air-launched test target.

This week, the Israeli Air Force has carried out a series of tests of its multi-layered anti-missile defense system. The “David’s Sling”, “Hetz” and “Iron Dome” weapon systems successfully intercepted their targets during the testing campaign held in cooperation with Rafael Advanced Defense Systems and the Israel Missile Defense Organization (IMDO) of the Directorate of Defense Research and Development (DDR&D).

According to the IAF, “the series included several scenarios simulating new and future threats that the system may face, during which the capabilities of the new and upgraded version of “David’s Sling” were tested.”

“For the first time, [the test] assessed the combined interception capabilities of the multilayered air-defense system of the State of Israel,” Defense Minister Benny Gantz said according to the Jerusalem Post. “This is one of the most advanced air-defense mechanisms in the world, and it protects the state from threats near and far.”

Interestingly, as already happened in the past, an F-15D supported the test, but this time, images of the launch platform were released by the IAF.

The aircraft was a “Baz” (Falcon), as the D-model Eagle is locally known, sporting the unit markings of the 106 Sqn, based at Tel Nof Airbase. It carried a Blue Sparrow medium-range ballistic missile test target. First tested in 2008, the weapon was designed to simulate the trajectory, thermal image and radar cross-section signature of threats like the Iranian MRBMs (Medium Range Ballistic Missiles).

The Sparrow test missile intercept scenario.

The missile exists in three versions: Black Sparrow, Blue Sparrow, and Silver Sparrow with the second, representing a SCUD-C/D with a range of 700 km, and the latter designed to simulate Iranian Shihab-3 class ballistic missiles with a 1,500-2,000 km range.

Sparrow test missile specifications. (Image credit: Rafael)

The Silver Sparrow version was first launched during Arrow missile defense system test carried out on Sept. 2, 2013. The missile was air-launched over the Mediterranean was detected by a Russian ballistic missile early warning radar at Armavir.

Noteworthy, the Israeli F-15Ds are highly modified Eagles which carry indigenous sensors, weapons and avionics and are used for multiple missions, including long-range air strike, and also ABM (Anti-Ballistic Missile) testing.

About David Cenciotti
David Cenciotti is a journalist based in Rome, Italy. He is the Founder and Editor of “The Aviationist”, one of the world’s most famous and read military aviation blogs. Since 1996, he has written for major worldwide magazines, including Air Forces Monthly, Combat Aircraft, and many others, covering aviation, defense, war, industry, intelligence, crime and cyberwar. He has reported from the U.S., Europe, Australia and Syria, and flown several combat planes with different air forces. He is a former 2nd Lt. of the Italian Air Force, a private pilot and a graduate in Computer Engineering. He has written five books and contributed to many more ones.