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Finland invests in contracts with Israel to boost its naval-defense systems

“It’s critical that Finland has a modern navy that is fit for purpose. The Baltic Sea has become a possible focal point for tension between East and West,” said Jussi Niinistö, Finland’s Defense Minister.

Israeli Gabriel anti-ship missile on display at the Clandestine Immigration and Naval Museum in Haifa, Israel. Credit: Bukvoed/Wikimedia Commons.
Israeli Gabriel anti-ship missile on display at the Clandestine Immigration and Naval Museum in Haifa, Israel. Credit: Bukvoed/Wikimedia Commons.

Finland has been relying on Israeli weaponry to strengthen its navy, according to Defense News.

With its presence in the Baltic Sea to protect against Russian interests, the Finnish Defense Forces has undergone a $1.5 billion naval boost that will include a $500 million investment for ships consisting of surface-to-surface missiles, ship guns, sea mines and torpedoes.

“It’s critical that Finland has a modern navy that is fit for purpose. The Baltic Sea has become a possible focal point for tension between East and West,” said Jussi Niinistö, Finland’s Defense Minister. “We are dealing with a more unpredictable Russia. Increased military cooperation with partners will also see the Navy more engaged in joint international exercises in the region, especially with our Nordic neighbors and NATO forces.”

The Finnish navy awarded contracts worth almost $185.76 million in July to Israel Aerospace Industries to receive the Israeli Gabriel missile system between 2019 and 2025. The defense system will be installed on Hamina-class missile boats, in addition to the new Squadron 2020 vessels, expected to begin construction in 2019.

Israel Aerospace Industries was picked over Norwegian technology firm Kongsberg, European missile manufacturer MBDA, American multinational corporation Boeing, and the Swedish aerospace and defense company Saab.

The Gabriel missiles are anti-ship missiles that were first developed after missiles sank an Israeli ship along the northern Sinai shores just months after Israel won the 1967 Six-Day War, killing 47 Israeli officers and sailors, and injuring 100.

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