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High-altitude capability system now selected

Publication date 5.4.2023 14.16
Press release

The new system selected for building high-altitude capability for ground-based air defence will be David´s Sling Weapon System. Through the new system, GBAD high-altitude capability will be enhanced and its areal coverage increased.

Minister of Defence Antti Kaikkonen has authorised the Finnish Defence Forces to procure the Israel Ministry of Defense's (IMOD) 'David’s Sling Weapon System' for the purposes of GBAD high-altitude capability building from defence company Rafael Advanced Defense Systems. 

The system will enable building better high-altitude capability for ground-based air defence and significantly increase its areal coverage. The capability to be procured will form part of the whole air defence entity.

The minimum altitude requirement for the system was set at 15 kilometres in the request for quotations. The new surface-to-air missile system will enable interception at relevant altitudes. The subsystems to be procured will include the missile launchers, radars and missiles, as well as systems integration.

The procurement seeking to support high-altitude capability building has been prepared by the project on high-altitude capability for ground-based air defence since 2017. In the year 2020, the request for quotations was sent to altogether five defence companies, and, in 2022, Barak-MX and David’s Sling were chosen for the second round of negotiations. Following the evaluation of the final quotations, the Finnish Defence Forces proposed that the procurement contract be awarded to deliver David´s Sling Weapon System. 

- The system to be procured stands for a modern and highly capable missile system that meets our strict specifications requirements. Excellently suited for the needs of Finland’s air defence, the system will also be fully NATO-compatible, Inspector of Ground-Based Air Defence, Colonel Mikko Mäntynen from the Army Command says.

The David's Sling Weapon System is jointly developed by IMOD Directorate of Defense Research and Development's (DDR&D), Israeli Missile Defense Organization (IMDO) and the U.S. Missile Defense Agency. The procurement deal is for the David's Sling Weapon System from prime contractor Rafael, including Stunner interceptors, launchers, and datalinks, alongside sensors which will be supplied by IAI's Elta division. The system will be manufactured and integrated as a collaboration between Israeli, American and Finnish contractors, led by Rafael and Raytheon.   

- The system will significantly strengthen the capability of Finland’s air defence. Together with the commissioning of the F-35 and the already fielded ground-based air defence systems in service, the air defence of Finland will be very substantial on the European scale, Commander of the Finnish Air Force, Major General Juha-Pekka Keränen points out.

The total value of the procurement excluding the VAT will be c. EUR 316 million comprising the main procurement contract and immediately redeemable option. Additionally, at a later stage, the capability building will require further acquisitions of unit equipment materiel. The funding will come from the annual development programme instrument and from the additional funding allocated for the Finnish Defence Forces. 

The capability that is to be fielded in the late 2020s will be used for defending all of Finland. The main training locality of service personnel and persons liable for military service will be the Helsinki Air Defence Regiment at the Armoured Brigade.

The Ministry of Defence issued a release on the procurement 5.4.2023.

Photo: Israel Ministry of Defense. The photo shows the system used by Israel.

For previous releases, please see:

- 5.3.2022, the MoD release 

- 5.3.2022, the Army release

- 28.10.2020, the FDFLOGCOM release (in Finnish)