USA Allows EU and NATO Member to Purchase Israeli Missile Defence System David's Sling for the First Time
The United States has granted approval to Israel to sell the "David's Sling" air defence system to Finland, a member of the EU and NATO, as reported by The Times of Israel. This marks the first instance of transferring this weaponry abroad to an EU and NATO member, according to the Ministry of Defence.
Describing the deal as "historic," the ministry announced that it, along with the private manufacturer, will soon conduct a signing ceremony.
The negotiations for approval were led by Moshe Patel, the director of Israel's Missile Defence Organization (DDR&D). The US approval was necessary, as their Missile Defence Agency and the American defence firm Raytheon were joint partners in the development of David's Sling.
In the statement, the ministry mentioned that the US State Department recently informed Defence Minister Yoav Gallant, Director-General of the Ministry of Defence Eyal Zamir, and DDR&D (MAFAT) division head Danny Gold about the approval.
Gallant stated that the agreement represents "a significant step towards the realization of a historic agreement between Israel and Finland." He further praised Israel's ingenious creative mind, which has led to breakthroughs in the global sales of its defence products.
Gold, in turn, highlighted that "David's Sling" has been operational since 2017 and plays a vital role in Israel's multi-tiered air and missile defence system. The system is capable of intercepting rockets within a range of 40-300 kilometres (25-185 miles).
In April of this year, Finland, following its NATO membership, announced its desire to acquire this air defence system. However, such a move required approval from the US, as they were co-developers of the system.
The deal is valued at around €316 million ($345 million).
"David's Sling," manufactured by Rafael Advanced Defence Systems, is also known as the "Magic Wand." It operates at an intermediate level in Israel's multi-layered missile defence, which includes the "Iron Dome" for short-range threats and the "Arrow 2" and "Arrow 3" systems for interception of long-range ballistic missiles.
The system had its first successful operational launch during the counter-terrorism operation "Shield and Sword."
Previously, the USA also approved the sale of Israel's Arrow-3 missile defence system to Germany as part of a contract worth four billion euros.