In 2020, 10 years after selecting 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 equip itself with a system complementary anti-aircraft to cover both long-range and 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 service provider at the beginning of 2023. This is now done . The Finnish Ministry of Defense announced yesterday that it had authorized the order of a long-range anti-aircraft and anti-missile system David's Sling produced by Rafael Advanced Defense Systems to the detriment of the Barack-8 MX from Elbit. The order will cost Finnish public finances 316 million Euros excluding taxes, i.e. €213 million for the acquisition of the system, and €103 million in additional services and equipment.
Developed jointly with the American Raytheon, the David's Sling system entered service in 2017 within 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 composed of the SPYDER and Iron Dome systems. It is based on a 3D millimeter radar with AESA antennas capable of detecting targets beyond 250 km, as well as surface-to-air missiles with a large maneuvering capacity, a data link and a homing device. infrared electro-optics 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 threats flying at low altitude such as airplanes combat systems, helicopters and cruise missiles, David's Sling on the other hand offers significantly superior performance to all these systems in its preferred field, high altitude and long distance interception.
Considering the acquisition costs, it is likely that a single system will have been acquired in Helsinki. Covering a circular perimeter of almost 100,000 km2, David's Sling will only be able to effectively protect a little less than a third of the country. However, the vast majority of the Finnish population, but also of the country's economic activity, is effectively located in an area of 100,000 km2 around Helsinki , so that a single system could effectively, by its scope and its specialization, protect the country's most relevant targets against possible strikes from short-range ballistic missiles such as the Russian 9M723 Iskander M but also against KH-22 supersonic cruise missiles which operate at high altitude during the cruise. In addition, Rafael announced, in 2022, that it had undertaken to modernize its system to be able to intercept hypersonic threats such as the Russian Kinzhal missile.
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