Finland to buy 64 Lockheed F-35 fighter jets for $9.4bn

F 35 - Finland to buy 64 Lockheed F-35 fighter jets for $9.4bn

HELSINKI: Finland will replace its fleet of ageing fighter jets with an order of 64 F-35A multi-role fighters from US contractor Lockheed Martin in a deal worth around 10 billion euros ($11.3 billion).

The six-year tendering process included rival bids from Boeing, France’s Dassault, Swedish Saab and the Eurofighter consortium of the UK, Germany, Italy and Spain.

The procurement from Lockheed Martin, including weapons as well as service and maintenance until 2030, is estimated to cost 8.378 billion euros ($9.44 billion), the government said.

The construction of hangars and other equipment will add a further 777 million euros, and 824 million euros will be reserved for the final optimised weapons package and to control future contract amendments, it added.

“When comparing military performance, the F-35 best met our needs,” Defence Minister Antti Kaikkonen told a news conference.

Military planemakers have been vying for the deal since late 2015, when the Finnish defence ministry began the search for a new jet to replace Finland’s old Hornet fighter bought in 1992 from McDonnell Douglas, now part of Boeing.

Finland is the 14th nation to opt for the F-35. It will begin phasing in the F-35 from 2027 onwards, said Airforce Commander Pasi Jokinen.

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