Finland concluded the procurement contracts for the Lockheed Martin F-35A Lightning II multi-role fighters as the country plans to replace the capabilities of the Air Force’s Hornet fleet, which will be phased out by 2030.
The Finnish Defense Forces’ Logistics Command signed the contracts for the fighter jets and air-to-air weapons.
On Friday, Major General Kari Renko, Chief of the Defense Forces Logistics Command, signed the Letter of Offer and Acceptance (LOA) on F-35A aircraft and their maintenance services, the country’s defense ministry said in a statement.
According to the deal, Finland will receive 64 multi-role fighters between 2026 to 2030, aircraft engines and maintenance equipment, systems, spare parts, replacement equipment, training equipment and servicing needed for use and maintenance.
The statement announced that the agreements include F-35 type training for the Defense Forces’ flying and technical personnel.
Following the procurement, Finland is set to sign LOA documents on the procurement of air-to-air weapons, the Sidewinder and AMRAAM missiles, it also noted.
After the procurement of aircraft and maintenance services, LOA documents will be signed during 2022 on the procurement of air-to-air weapons, the Sidewinder and AMRAAM missiles. In accordance with the procurement proposal submitted to the Government in December 2021, the agreements on procuring air-to-ground and air-to-surface weapons will be made later. This will ensure that the weapon composition can be optimised, for example in terms of the number and types of weapons, so that Finland will have a high-performance F-35 system when entering the 2030s.
The Finnish Defense Forces said back in April 2021 that it would carefully evaluate quotations received from the governments of Britain, France, Sweden and the United States to add new fighter jets to its military.
The Nordic country said at the time it had earmarked some 10 billion euros ($12 billion) to replace its aging fleet of F-18 Hornet aircraft.
European Union member Finland is a militarily non-aligned nation but closely cooperates with NATO – a situation similar to neighboring Sweden. The Finnish Air Force has a fleet of more than 60 F-18s and started a process in 2014 to look for a successor to the fighters, which were acquired in the early 1990s.
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