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Saturday, April 13, 2024

Finland to buy 64 F-35A fighter jets

Finland will replace its fleet of aging fighter jets with an order of 64 F-35A multi-role fighters from US contractor Lockheed Martin in a deal worth 8.4 billion euros ($9.5 billion), the government said on Friday. Finland will be the third Scandinavian country buying the F-35. Norway has already received its first jets

Finland on Friday announced it will purchase 64 Lockheed Martin F-35A Lightning II fighter jets from the US.

An official statement said the first F-35s will be delivered in 2026, replacing the F-18 Hornet fleet in the inventory between 2028 and 2030.

The acquisition equals approximately €8.378B ($9.45B), €4.703B for the fighter jets, and the rest for a comprehensive weaponry package that includes different air-to-air and air-to-ground missiles, as well as maintenance and training services until 2030.

Is Finland entering the fighter jets technology race?

Finland will be the third Scandinavian country buying the F-35. Norway has already received its first jets, while Denmark expects its first F-35 to arrive in 2023.

The country already operates 55 of the originally purchased 64 US-made F-18 Hornet fighter jets.

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Defense Minister Antti Kaikkonen said the F-35 system is the best for Finland’s needs in terms of performance.

“The F-35 met all the criteria we required. The defense of the homeland is kept in order,” he tweeted.

Lockheed’s plane beat out four other competitors: Boeing’s F-18 Super Hornet, Dassault’s Rafale, the Eurofighter Typhoon and Saab’s Gripen. The evaluation process saw the F-35 “pass” the selection criteria of security of supply and industrial participation and affordability, according to the MOD statement. It also scored highest in the military capability area.

Lockheed Martin was quick to point out in a promotional video posted on Twitter that the Finnish decision makes it the ninth country in Europe to pick the contractor’s fifth-generation fighter jet. The move means competition in the backyards of local manufacturers Airbus, Dassault and Saab has heated up even more.

In a statement, Dassault painted Finland’s pick as a decision in favor of the United States, presumably over its neighbors on the continent. “Once again, we notice and regret an American preference prevailing in Europe,” reads the statement, posted on the company’s website.

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One of the Finnish selection criteria was the multinational and “large” user community, the MOD said. “The system is in service in many European nations including Norway and Denmark.”

Anadolu with additional input by GVS News Desk