Finland has announced it is purchasing Israel’s David’s Sling missile defense system a day after it joined the NATO military alliance.

In what would be the first foreign purchase of the system, Finland said Wednesday that it will purchase the system in an initial deal worth some 316 million euros ($344 million).

“The David’s Sling system will extend the operational range of Finland’s ground-based air defense capabilities significantly,” the statement said.

“This acquisition will create a new capability for the Finnish Defence Forces to intercept targets at high altitude. At the same time we are continuing the ambitious and long-term development of Finland’s defense capability in a new security environment,” said Minister of Defence Antti Kaikkonen.

Finland’s membership doubles Russia’s border with NATO countries. Finland had adopted neutrality since World War II, but its leaders signaled they wanted to join NATO after Moscow’s invasion of Ukraine.

“The era of nonalignment in our history has come to an end -– a new era begins,” President Sauli Niinistö said.

David’s Sling, produced by Rafael Advanced Defense Systems, is a capable of intercepting rockets and missiles at a range of 40-300 kilometers (25-185 miles). The statement said that Finland’s minimum flight altitude requirement of the system was set at 15,000 meters. (9.3 miles.)

David’s Sling has been operational in Israel since 2017 and makes up the middle tier of Israel’s multi-layer missile defense capabilities, which also included the short-range Iron Dome and a top level of  Arrow 2 and Arrow 3 systems, which are intended to engage long-range ballistic missiles.

Finland noted that as David’s Sling was developed in cooperation with the US, the sale would require a sales release by the US Government.

It also said that the procurement contract will include a separate part between the Israel Ministry of Defense and the Ministry of Defense of Finland to ensure the security of supply of the system and could included the option of a future purchase of a second system.



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