The Stunner missile is designed to intercept the newest generation of tactical ballistic missiles at low altitude, such as Russian Iskander and the Chinese DF-15 using an on-board dual CCD/IR seekers to distinguish between decoys and the actual warhead of the missile, in addition to tracking by Elta EL/M-2084 Active electronically scanned array multi-mode radar. The multi-stage interceptor consists of a solid-fuel rocket motor booster (rocketry), followed by an asymmetrical kill vehicle with advanced steering for super-maneuverability during the kill-stage. A three-pulse motor provides additional acceleration and maneuverability during the terminal phase. David's Sling became operational in April 2017.
David's Sling is meant to bolster the second tier of Israel's theater missile defense system. The name David's Sling comes from the biblical story of David and Goliath. It will form one level of Israel's future multi-tiered missile defense system that Israel is developing, which will also include Arrow 2, Arrow 3, Iron Dome, and Barak 8 and Iron Beam from as early as 2018.
The interceptor is a two-stage missile, with two targeting and guidance systems installed in its nose-tip (a radar and an electro-optical sensor). In 2006 Rafael was awarded a contract to develop a defense system to counter the threat of medium- to long-range rockets with ranges between 70 and 250 km (43 and 155 mi). In order to enable Israel to make use of the financial aid provided by the United States to further develop the system and to produce it, a partnership was established with Raytheon which will develop the missile firing unit and overall logistic system and assist Rafael with developing the interceptor. In some of Raytheon's publications, the interceptor is referred to as "Stunner". In November 2012, David's Sling was expected to enter operational service in 2013 or 2014. David's Sling owes much to the SPYDER programme's modified Python 5 and DERBY seeker technology.
In addition to the David's Sling system, which is designed to intercept medium- and long-range rockets, the Iron Dome system, a separate system with which it will be used in conjunction, designed to intercept short-range rockets (4–70 km), and the Arrow missile, a separate system designed to intercept ballistic missiles, are already in use.
On 25 November 2012, Israel successfully tested the Stunner interceptor missile. The David's Sling battery, stationed at an undisclosed desert location in Southern Israel, fired and destroyed the incoming missile with a two-stage interceptor.