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Israel gets US nod for sale of David’s Sling missile system to Finland

David's Sling Stunner interceptor
Photo: Israeli defense ministry

The Israeli defense ministry said on Wednesday it obtained the US government’s approval for the sale of its David’s Sling air defense system to Finland.

The next step for the defense ministries of Israel and Finland and Rafael Advanced Systems as the system developer will be to sign a procurement agreement worth approximately 316 million euros.

Israel needs approval from the US as the system was developed in cooperation with Raytheon and the US Missile Defense Agency. David’s Sling became operational with Israel’s armed forces in 2017.

It is worth noting that Finland revealed its intention to buy the system in April this year, stating that the aim was to enhance its ground-based air defense capabilities by extending its operational range.

The newest NATO member is also taking part in the “European Sky Shield Initiative” which aims to create a European air defense system through the common acquisition of air defense equipment and missiles by European nations.

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

The Israeli defense ministry said the Finnish version of the system would be jointly produced by Israeli and American companies, with participation from the Finnish industry.

“The approval granted by the US government today for the sale of the David’s Sling system marks a significant step towards the realization of a historic agreement between Israel and Finland,” Israeli defense minister Yoav Gallant commented.

David’s Sling is designed as the middle tier of defense against missiles and rockets, capable of defeating short-range ballistic missiles, large-caliber rockets and cruise missiles in their terminal phase of flight. It uses the Stunner/ SkyCeptor hit-to-kill interceptor to defeat the threats.

On the same day Israel revealed the US approval for the sale, the US Defense Security Cooperation Agency approved potential sales for the upgrade of Finland’s M270A2 Multiple Launch Rocket System (MLRS) for an estimated cost of $395 million.

Finland requested to buy intercom systems, radio communication mounts, machine gun mounts, and battle management system vehicle integration kits among others to bring its M270A1 to the M270A2 configuration.

In 2022, Finland also became the first foreign customer for the Extended Range Guided Multiple Launch Rocket System (ER GMLRS) munition that can be employed by the M270.