The Finnish Ministry of Defense has informed the Israeli Ministry of Defense of its decision to procure the David’s Sling Weapon System (DSWS), an advanced air‐defense system. The procurement decision follows a long competitive evaluation that lasted several years; the two finalists were Rafael and IAI. The Finnish Ministry of Defense chose the advanced Israeli system, which will form a layered defense against various threats. The Finnish MOD has set a minimum intercept ceiling of 15,000 m’ (50,000 ft) for this new capability.
“The system will significantly strengthen the capability of Finland’s air defense.” said Commander of the Finnish Air Force, Maj Gen Juha‐Pekka Keranen, “Together with the commissioning of the F‐35 and the already fielded ground‐based air defense systems in service, the air defense of Finland will be very substantial on the European scale.”
This is the first export sale of the David’s Sling Weapon System to a foreign military. DSWS is a joint program developed by the IMoD’s Israel Missile Defense Organization and the U.S. Missile Defense Agency, with Rafael Advanced Defense Systems as the prime contractor. The system is designed to intercept advanced aerial threats, including ballistic missiles, aircraft, UAVs, and cruise missiles. DSWS has been operational in Israel since 2017 and is a core component of the country’s multi‐tier air‐defense array.
Israel will provide Finland with David’s Sling system according to the agreement, including interceptors, launchers, and radars, which will be connected to Finnish command and control systems. The agreement is valued at approximately 316 million euros. The contract includes further options worth 216 million euros. The possible exercise of these options requires a separate decision.
Due to the program’s joint development with the United States, it is contingent on final export approval from the US Government. The procurement contract will include a separate part between the Israel Ministry of Defence and the Ministry of Defence of Finland to ensure the security of the supply of the system. The arrangement will ensure the availability of critical system components in all security situations. The Finnish version of the system will be manufactured and integrated as a collaboration between Israeli, American, and Finnish contractors led by Rafael and Raytheon. Finnish companies will participate in the integration of the system and in the planning and equipping of the system’s command and control elements.
DSWS is an advanced system designed to intercept ballistic and cruise missiles, developed jointly by the Israel Missile Defense Organization and the U.S. Missile Defense Agency. Rafael is the prime contractor for David’s Sling, working alongside Elta. This IAI subsidiary developed the Multi‐Mission Radar and Elbit Systems, which developed the Israeli command and control system.
The system is a central component of Israel’s multi‐layered defense network. It serves as an intermediate layer between the Iron Dome at the lower tier and the Arrow missile‐defense systems (Arrow 2 and 3) at the highest tiers.
At the intermediate layer, DSWS is a centralized national asset designed to deal with advanced threats at long ranges. From its central locations, DSWS relies on its high speed and long range (>250 km (150 miles) to engage targets well beyond Israel’s borders. It adds interception opportunities to the Arrow 3 exoatmospheric interceptors, Arrow 2, and future Arrow 4 missile defense interceptors, also operated as centralized assets. DSWS can also intercept targets from long range before they are engaged by the Iron Domes, distributed to multiple locations around the country. With high kinematic capabilities, superior dual seeker, and extended range, DSWS also provides optimal defense against cruise missile attacks.
The system uses an interceptor powered by an advanced rocket motor with exceptional maneuverability and speed. David’s Sling offers high interoperability with external systems, using an architecture allowing maximum flexibility while operating as part of an air defense network that consists of different and diverse systems.