The U.S. government on Wednesday authorized the sale of Israel’s David’s Sling missile defense system to Finland, according to the Israeli Defense Ministry.
The procurement deal, worth some $345 million, is expected to be ratified soon during an official signing ceremony, Jerusalem said in a statement.
David’s Sling, developed by Israel’s Rafael Advanced Defensive Systems together with U.S. defense giant Raytheon, is designed to intercept ballistic missiles, UAVs, enemy planes and other aerial threats.
“The approval granted by the U.S. government today for the sale of the David’s Sling, a co-developed system by Israel and the United States, marks a significant step towards the realization of a historic agreement between Israel and Finland,” said Israeli Defense Minister Yoav Gallant.
“I’d like to extend my gratitude to my esteemed colleague, General Lloyd Austin, the United States Secretary of Defense and the American administration for their support in this important agreement,” the minister added.
Finland’s intention to acquire the David’s Sling system was first announced on April 5, mere hours after the Nordic nation became the 31st member state of the North Atlantic Treaty Organization (NATO).
Under the deal submitted to the U.S. government, Rafael and Raytheon, in partnership with Finnish defense industries, will jointly develop Finland’s version of David’s Sling. The air defense system will ultimately be integrated into the country’s command and control systems.
Notably, the Finnish Defence Forces will become the first foreign purchaser of David’s Sling.
“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,” said Israeli Defense Ministry Director General Maj. Gen. (res.) Eyal Zamir.