Finland has announced the selection of the Lockheed Martin F-35A to replace its McDonnell Douglas F/A-18C/D Hornet fighters in service.
The result of its HX program was published by the Finnish Defence Ministry of December 10. It said Finland would buy 64 F-35A Block 4 fighters to replace its Hornets, and that a comprehensive support and weapons package would also be acquired.
“In the HX Fighter Programme evaluation of the tenderers’ offers, the F-35 fulfilled the security of supply, industrial participation and affordability requirements of the decision-making areas,” the announcement reads. “In the military capability assessment, the F-35 comprehensive system was the best. The F-35 combat, reconnaissance and survival capabilities were the best suited of the HX candidates.
“The F-35 operating and sustainment costs fit the allocated cost frame, and the aircraft development during the life cycle will be feasible with the normal resources of the Finnish Defence Forces,” it added. “Within the procurement process, several essential security of supply requirements and significant industrial participation have been agreed upon. The essential security of supply requirements relate specifically to independent ability to operate in exceptional circumstances.”
The weapons Finland has selected include the Raytheon AIM-120 AMRAAM and AIM-9X Sidewinder, SDB I and II precision-guided bombs, several models of JDAMs, the KONGSBERG Joint Strike Missile, and the Lockheed Martin AGM-158B JASSM-ER. Finland already operates AMRAAM, AIM-9X, and standard JASSM from its F/A-18C/Ds.
The F-35A was selected over the Boeing F/A-18E/F Super Hornet & EA-18G Growler, Dassault Rafale, Eurofighter Typhoon, and Saab JAS-39E/F Gripen. Significantly, the F-35A was considered to be the most cost-effective of all the contenders, and that it had the lowest procurement cost. It added that “no offer was significantly less expensive than others in operating and sustainment costs”.
“We are honoured the Government of Finland through its thorough, open competition has selected the F-35, and we look forward to partnering with the Finnish Defence Forces and Finnish defence industry to deliver and sustain the F-35 aircraft,” Lockheed Martin’s vice president and general manager of the F-35 Program, Bridget Lauderdale said in a company statement.