As reported by Defence Industry Europe, Finland, the new NATO member, will purchase the Israeli-made DAVID’S Sling air defence system, made by Rafael. The Ministry of Defence has authorized the Finnish Defence Forces to procure the David’s Sling system as Finland’s next long-range air defence system. Israeli company Rafael Advanced Defense Systems will deliver the system, with a procurement value of approximately 316 million euros, excluding value-added tax.
The David’s Sling system will significantly extend Finland’s ground-based air defence capabilities’ operational range. The Finnish government states that this acquisition will provide the Finnish Defence Forces with a new capability to intercept targets at high altitude.
Israeli sources suggest that the David’s Sling deal will be followed by other deals. Finnish officers visiting Israel as part of the David Sling deal are being exposed to other Israeli-made weapon systems that can enhance Finland’s defence capabilities. There are indications that the current focus is on very advanced artillery systems, including ground-to-ground rockets and long-range radars.
Israeli defence companies are currently active in Europe, establishing new joint ventures and industrial cooperation deals to better prepare for the increasing demand.
Finland’s plans to acquire additional advanced weapon systems from Israel may be explained by various signals coming from Moscow. According to a report on the website of the Middle East Media Research Institute (MEMRI), renowned Russian academic Sergei Karaganov, Honorary Chairman of the Presidium of the Council on Foreign and Defence Policy, and Academic Supervisor of the Faculty of World Economy and International Affairs at the Higher School of Economics, gave an interview to the Russian media outlet Argumenty i Fakty ahead of the NATO summit in Vilnius, Lithuania, which took place on July 11-12, 2023.
In the interview titled “A Controlled Burn Or Go To Rack And Ruin,” Karaganov stated that if a major war breaks out, Sweden and Finland will become “top and primary targets for Russian strikes.” He also mentioned that he believes the alliance will not send troops there under its own flag, but they may threaten to deploy troops from individual countries, such as Poland. In response to such aggression, Karaganov mentioned that Russia would consider a nuclear first strike.
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