Finland to acquire David’s Sling air defense system from Israel

United States Missile Defense Agency

The Finnish Defence Forces are set to procure the “David’s Sling” system as their next long-range air defense system. The procurement is valued at approximately €316 million.

This decision was announced by the Ministry of Defence, which authorized the purchase of the system from the Israeli company Rafael Advanced Defense Systems on April 5, 2023, a day after the country was accepted into the North Atlantic Treaty Organization (NATO).

“This acquisition will create a new capability for the Finnish Defence Forces to intercept targets at high altitude,” Finnish Minister of Defense Antti Kaikkonen said in a press release. “At the same time, we are continuing the ambitious and long-term development of Finland’s defense capability in a new security environment.”

Developed by Rafael Advance Defense Systems and the US group Raytheon, the David’s Sling system is capable of intercepting rockets and missiles at a distance of 40 to 300 kilometers. The minimum flight altitude required by Finland for the system has been set at 15 kilometers, according to the minister.

Finnish air defense capabilities currently rely on the French-made Crotale NG and the Kongsberg NASAMS 2 with firing ranges of respectively 18 and 30 kilometers.

Finland is part of the German-led initiative called European Sky Shield, which aimed at mutualizing air defense capabilities over Europe through joint acquisitions. The systems that are being considered are the German IRIS-T SLM, the Israeli Arrow-3, and the US-made Patriot systems.

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