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US approves sale of Israel's 'David's Sling' defense system to Finland in $341 million deal

Israeli “David’s Sling” defense system (Photo: Israel Ministry of Defense Spokesperson's Office)

The United States approved the sale of Israel's David's Sling aerial defense system to Finland.

The U.S. State Department notified Israeli Defense Minister Yoav Gallant of the approval on Wednesday night, according to the Defense Ministry.

The David's Sling medium-range missile defense system is jointly manufactured by Israeli firm Rafael Advanced Defense Systems and American defense firm RTX Corporation, formerly Raytheon Technologies Corporation.

The involvement of both companies means that U.S. government approval was required in order to complete the sale.

All sides will participate in a signing ceremony for the procurement deal, which is valued at around $341 million.

The agreement includes Israeli-U.S. co-produced interceptors and Israeli-produced missile launchers and radar systems.

Finnish defense industries will produce their own version of the system together with Rafael Advanced Systems and Raytheon Technologies Cooperation, which will then be integrated into the Finnish armed forces' command and control systems.

"Thanks to groundbreaking technologies developed by the defense industry’s brightest minds such as David’s Sling, we are able to bolster our ties with countries around the world, strengthen our security, and enhance Israel’s global position," Defense Minister Gallant said in a statement. "I’m confident that this agreement will constitute a new milestone in the cooperation between our countries that will improve our response to global and regional threats."

David's Sling is a medium-range interceptor system, capable of shooting down hostile planes, drones, tactical ballistic missiles, rockets and cruise missiles, with a range of up to 300 km.

"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," added Director General of the Israel Ministry of Defense, Maj. Gen. (Res.) Eyal Zamir.

The David's Sling system was used operationally for the first time this May, when it successfully intercepted a rocket shot from Gaza toward Israel.

Yuval Steinitz, former Likud MK and finance minister and now head of Rafael, stated: "The advanced 'David's Sling' system has drawn great interest in the world due to its unique, advanced capabilities and we are very proud of its development. After already becoming operational in Israel, the system will significantly enhance Finland's air defense capabilities and we anticipate more agreements in the future."

The war in Ukraine has made many European countries aware of the need to upgrade their aerial defense systems, and some of them are now looking to Israel to provide an answer to their needs.

Germany has begun the process of acquiring Israel's Arrow 3 system, which is a long-range interceptor system also jointly developed with the U.S. The sale is expected to be finalized soon.

The All Israel News Staff is a team of journalists in Israel.

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