In 2020, 10 years after having selected the American-Norwegian NASAMS anti-aircraft system to the detriment of the Franco-Italian Mamba to replace the Buk batteries acquired from the Soviet Union, Helsinki conducted an open consultation to acquire a system complementary anti-aircraft to cover both long-range, high-altitude anti-aircraft defense, and anti-ballistic protection against short-range ballistic missiles. This consultation period ended in November 2021, when the Finnish authorities decided to continue negotiations with two Israeli companies, Elbit and Rafael, with the aim of selecting the final provider at the beginning of 2023. It is now done. . The Finnish Ministry of Defense announced yesterday that it had authorized the command of a David's Slin long-range anti-aircraft and anti-missile systemg (David's Sling) produced by Rafael Advanced Defense Systems at the expense of Elbit's Barack-8 MX. The order will cost Finnish public finances 316 million euros excluding taxes, ie 213 million euros for the acquisition of the system, and 103 million euros in services and additional equipment.
Developed jointly with the American Raytheon, the David's Sling system entered service in 2017 with the Israeli armed forces. With an effective range of 70 to 250 km, it is positioned between the Arrow 2 and Arrow 3 high indo-atmospheric anti-ballistic systems designed to intercept medium-range and intermediate-range ballistic missiles, and short-range protection consisting of the SPYDER and Iron Dome systems. It is based on a 3D millimetric radar with AESA antennas capable of detecting targets beyond 250 km, as well as surface-to-air missiles equipped with a high maneuvering capacity, a data link and a seeker. infra-red electro-optical in the final race. Less versatile than its direct competitors such as the American Patriot, the European Mamba or the Barak-MX from Elbit, all offering short and medium range interception capabilities allowing in particular to deal with the threat of low-flying threats such as aircraft combat, helicopters and cruise missiles, the David's Sling, on the other hand, offers significantly superior performance to all these systems in its chosen field, high-altitude and long-range interception.
Considering the acquisition costs, it is likely that a single system will have been acquired by Helsinki. Covering a circular perimeter of almost 100.000 km2, the David's Sling will only be able to effectively protect a little less than a third of the country. However, the vast majority of Finland's population, but also of the country's economic activity, is indeed located in an area of 100.000 km2 around Helsinki, so that a single system can effectively, by its range and its specialization, protect the most relevant targets of the country against possible strikes from short-range ballistic missiles such as the Russian 9M723 Iskander M but also against cruise missiles KH-22 supersonic aircraft operating at high altitude during cruise. In addition, Rafael announced in 2022 that it had undertaken to modernize its system to be able to intercept hypersonic threats like the Russian Kinzhal missile.
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