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Finland orders David's Sling air-defence system

The Finnish Defence Forces are procuring the David's Sling long-range air-defence system, pictured launching a Stunner missile in an image released by the Israeli MoD on 21 December 2015. (IDF)

The Finnish Ministry of Defence (MoD) announced on 5 April that it has authorised the Finnish Defence Forces to procure the David's Sling long-range air-defence system from Rafael Advanced Defense Systems. It is the first export order for the system, which has been operational with the Israel Defense Forces since 2017.

The contract is valued at EUR316 million (USD345 million), excluding value-added tax (VAT), consisting of the main contract worth approximately EUR213 million and immediate options exercised on it worth EUR103 million. The contract includes more options worth EUR216 million, including VAT, if Finland decides to exercise them.

“This acquisition will create a new capability for the Finnish Defence Forces to intercept targets at high altitude ... continuing the ambitious and long-term development of Finland's defence capability in a new security environment,” Finnish Defence Minister Antti Kaikkonen said. The procurement was announced on 4 April, the day after Finland joined NATO.

David's Sling will extend the operational range of Finland's ground-based air defence (GBAD) capabilities, according to the Finnish MoD. Finland stipulated in the request for quotations that the system has a minimum flight altitude of 15,000 m. The system is designed to intercept aerial threats, including ballistic and cruise missiles, aircraft, and unmanned aerial vehicles.

“The system will significantly strengthen the capability of Finland's air defence. Together with the commissioning of the F‐35 [Joint Strike Fighter] and the already fielded ground‐based air-defence systems in service, the air defence of Finland will be very substantial on the European scale,” Finnish Air Force Commander Major General Juha‐Pekka Keränen said.

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