The Ministry of Defence has authorised the Finnish Defence Forces to procure the David’s Sling system as the next long-range air defence system of Finland. Rafael Advanced Defense Systems (Israel) will deliver the system. The value of the procurement without value added tax is approximately 316 million euros. The David’s Sling system will extend the operational range of Finland’s ground-based air defence capabilities significantly. The minimum flight altitude requirement of the system was set at 15 000 meters in the request for quotation. The procurement consists of a main contract worth approximately 213 million euros excluding value added tax and the immediate exercise of options linked to the main contract worth 103 million euros excluding value added tax.
Finnish industry, together with Rafael and Raytheon, will participate in the integration of the system and in the planning and equipping of the command and control elements. The contract includes further options worth 216 million euros excluding value added tax. The possible exercise of these options requires a separate decision. 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 supply of the system. The arrangement will ensure the availability of critical system components in all security situations. This acquisition will create a new capability for the Finnish Defence Forces to intercept targets at high altitude.
David’s Sling (Kela David) also formerly known as the Stunner or the SkyCeptor, is an Israel Defense Forces military system being jointly developed by the Israeli defense contractor Rafael Advanced Defense Systems and the American defense contractor Raytheon, designed to intercept enemy planes, drones, tactical ballistic missiles, medium- to long-range rockets and cruise missiles, fired at ranges from 40 to 300 km (25 to 190 mi). David’s Sling is meant to replace the MIM-23 Hawk and MIM-104 Patriot in the Israeli arsenal. The missile is designed to intercept the newest generation of tactical ballistic missiles at low altitude, such as the Russian Iskander and the Chinese DF-15 using an on-board dual CCD/IR seekers to distinguish between decoys and the actual warhead of the missile.
The multi-stage interceptor consists of a solid-fuel rocket motor booster, followed by an asymmetrical kill vehicle with advanced steering for super-maneuverability during the kill-stage. A three-pulse motor provides additional acceleration and maneuverability during the terminal phase. David’s Sling became operational in April 2017. David’s Sling was meant to bolster the second tier of Israel’s theater missile defense system. On 5 March 2022, the Finnish Defence Forces announced that the final two contenders for a future high-altitude air-defence system will be Rafael’s David’s Sling and Israel Aerospace Industries’ Barak-MX, with the final decision slated for early 2023. The system was selected on 05 April 2023.