David's Sling

Finland will spend $345 million to become the first international customer for Israel’s David’s Sling medium-range air defense system.

On April 5, Finland’s Ministry of Defense authorized a plan to purchase the Israeli-made David’s Sling medium-range air defense system for $ 345 million (not including taxes and other fees) with an extra $236 million in options for purchasing weapons.

“The acquisition will add a high-altitude target interception capability to the Finnish military. We also maintain our ambition to develop the country’s long-term air defense capabilities in a new security environment,” the minister said. Antti Kaikkonen, president of the Finnish parliament, referred to the danger of escalation after the country joins NATO.

If the decision stands, Finland will likely be the first country other than Israel to place an order for David’s Sling system. There is no information about the quantity requested or the expected delivery date. Since the American company Raytheon is participating in the production, the contract also needs US approval, which may prove difficult.

The United States applied pressure on Israel to stop the sale of David’s Sling system to Switzerland so that land could be cleared for the Patriot complex. Israel has not commented on the report.

David’s Sling is a cutting-edge air defense system developed in a partnership between the Israeli company Rafael and the American company Raytheon. It can intercept and destroy incoming missiles from a range of 40 to 300 kilometers.  when paired with both the short- and long-range Iron Dome and Arrow interceptors.

In place of explosive warheads, the David’s Sling battery’s twelve Stunner missiles (at the cost of approximately one million dollars each) are equipped with a system to kill targets by direct impact.

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Stunner’s multi-channel probe technology, utilized during the introduction phase, is its most distinctive feature. A thermal image sensor, an electro-optical probe, and an active electronically scanned array radar are all housed in the dolphin-like snout of the missile (AESA).

Because of its innovative design, the Stunner projectile is better able to kill evasive foes like ballistic missiles and stealth cruise missiles.

The Israeli military fired David’s Sling system on July 23, 2018, in response to what it thought to be Syrian munitions entering Israeli airspace during an attack on rebel troops.

However, neither of the Stunner rounds hit their mark, prompting the crew to activate the ship’s self-destruct sequence. One failed to detonate, crashed into Syrian territory somewhat undamaged, and was promptly retrieved by the Syrian army. According to the Chinese military news site Sina, the shell was subsequently given to the Russian military for examination, despite calls from Israel and the United States for Moscow to return it.