Finland Buys David’s Sling From Israel
Finland announced the purchase of an Israeli long-range air defense system in a $345 million deal, the day after it officially joined NATO.
It’s the first time the David’s Sling air defense system has been sold to a foreign country.
The system was used for the first time by Israel in a false alarm in 2018 to counter two ballistic missiles fired by Syrian government forces during fighting against rebels near the Golan Heights.
It operates at longer ranges than the Iron Dome, Israel’s all-weather air defense system and was designed to intercept advanced aerial threats, including ballistic missiles, aircrafts, UAVs (unmanned aerial vehicles), and cruise missiles.
It is capable of intercepting rockets and missiles at a range of 40-300km (25-185 miles), and includes a multimission radar, which works to identify an incoming threat, target, and guide the interception.
David’s Sling was developed as part of a joint program between the Israel Missile Defense Organization and the US Missile Defense Agency.
Its Stunner interceptor missile uses hit-to-kill technology, which is designed to maneuver and strike an incoming threat, rather than detonate in proximity to it.
The purchase was announced a day after Finland’s official accession to the NATO (North Atlantic Treaty Organization) military alliance.
Finnish President Sauli Niinistö said his country sought the membership because Russia’s invasion of Ukraine proved that it did not respect officially non-aligned countries.
“This acquisition will create a new capability for the Finnish Defense 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,” said Defense Minister Antti Kaikkonen, referring to last year’s Russian invasion of Ukraine, which caused Finland to abandon its long-held neutral military policy, which it adopted after World War II.