Finland’s defense ministry said that the country intends to purchase air defense systems from one of two Israeli defense companies: Israel Aerospace Industries or Rafael Advanced Systems.
In October 2020, the country issued a solicitation for bids to procure ground-based air defense systems to five companies, including the Israel companies, Germany’s Diehl Defence, Norway’s Kongsberg Defence & Aerospace AS, and the UK’s MBDA.
It received initial tenders in November last year after the first round of negotiations. The tenders were examined on the basis of the performance of their missile systems. Based on the evaluation, the defense ministry narrowed its choices down to the two Israeli candidates.
The country will make its final decision on the weapon system in early 2023.
“The procurement of high-altitude capability is part of Finland’s overall air defence capacity and a broader project to develop it,” the country said in a statement. “With the project, Finland intends to improve its high-altitude air defence capability and significantly increase the range of its ground-based air defence.”
Under the anti-aircraft project, Finland plans to procure equipment including missile launchers, missiles, radar systems, and related integration equipment.
Finland is likely to purchase either Israel Aerospace Industries’ Barak MX or Rafael’s David’s Sling.
The David’s Sling is capable of defeating short-range ballistic missiles, highly accurate missiles, large-caliber rockets, and armed UAVs. The weapon, jointly developed with US-based Raytheon, can intercept missiles and UAVs at a distance between 40 and 300 kilometers (25 to 186 miles) away.
The Barak-MX can be deployed from both land-based and naval platforms and has been developed to attack aircraft and missile threats.
Threat From Russia
Finland’s decision to boost its defense capabilities is a direct response to Russia’s invasion of Ukraine.
Last week, Russia threatened Finland with “serious military consequences” if the European country joins NATO. Finland shares a long border with Russia.