The US approved the sale of David’s Sling, the air defense system jointly developed by Israel and the US, to Finland, according to the Israeli military, clearing likely the last diplomatic hurdle for the $345 million deal.
“The approval granted by the U.S. government today for the sale of the David’s Sling […] marks a significant step towards the realization of a historic agreement between Israel and Finland,” Israel Defense Minister Yoav Gallant said in a statement today, announcing the approval from the US. He called the news a “new milestone in the cooperation between our countries that will improve our response to global and regional threats.”
The Finnish government approved the purchase of the air defense system in April, the day after it officially joined NATO, and the deal’s completion had been eagerly awaited. On July 25 Gallant had mentioned the importance of completing the sale in a discussion with US Secretary of Defense Lloyd Austin, according to a statement from Gallant’s office at the time.
Yuval Steinitz, chairman of David’s Sling-maker Rafael, said that the system, already operational in Israel, “will significantly enhance Finland’s air defense capabilities and we anticipate more agreements in the future.”
The Israeli ministry of defense said the system “intercepts advanced threats including ballistic missiles, cruise missiles, drones and more.” The system has been operational in Israel since 2017 and achieved several interceptions in May when rockets were launched from Gaza toward Tel Aviv.
“The Finnish version of the system will be jointly developed by Israeli and American industries, led by Rafael Advanced Systems and [America’s Raytheon], in partnership with Finnish industries, each contributing to specific tasks. The system will be integrated into Finland’s command and control systems,” Israel’s Ministry of Defense said.
Director General of the Israel Ministry of Defense, Eyal Zamir, said the Israeli MoD will “closely cooperate with the US government throughout the entire process. We are hopeful that Finland’s expression of confidence in the Israeli missile defense system, along with the American approval of the sale, will encourage additional European countries to enhance cooperation with Israel’s defense establishment and defense industries.”
Source : Breaking Defense