Finland picks Israel’s Gabriel as its new anti-ship missile

Finland has selected the Israel Aerospace Industries-developed Gabriel anti-ship missile to replace its current MTO85M system.

Finnish Navy's new Squadron 2020 vessels will be fielding the Gabriel anti-ship missile. Photo: Finnish defense ministry

The acquisition of the Israeli missile system was approved by the Finnish defense minister Jussi Niinistö on July 5.

The IAI-delivered system will be known as SSM2020 in Finland and will be installed on Hamina-class missile boats and the new Squadron 2020 vessels which are scheduled to start construction in 2019.

Finland’s current MTO85M systems (based on the Saab-developed RBS15) will reach the end of its lifecycle in the 2020s. The new SSM2020 missiles are expected to remain operational until the 2050s.

IAI’s Gabriel was selected over four other systems offered, including Kongsberg’s NSM, MBDA’s Exocet, Boeing’s Harpoon and Saab’s RBS15.

The Finnish defense ministry said the main selection criteria included acquisition costs and schedule, lifecycle costs and security of supply, and compatibility with existing infrastructure and defense systems.

The ministry said the contract was worth EUR 162 million, with a EUR 193 million option. The quantities of missiles to be purchased will not be made public, it was further said.

The purchase will include launchers, missiles, simulators, test equipment, spare parts and training. The deliveries will take place between the years 2019 and 2025. SSM2020 will be maintained in Finland.