The U.S has given approval for Finland to buy air-to-air missiles, air-to-ground precision guided munitions and related equipment for an estimated cost of US$12.5bn, should the country decide to purchase 64 F-35 aircraft. The proposed sale will replace Finland’s legacy F/A-18s HORNETS and enhance its air-to-air and air-to-ground self-defence capability. The package is broken down into:
- 66 Pratt & Whitney F-135 engines (64 installed and 2 spares)
- 500 GBU-53/B SMALL DIAMETER BOMB II (SDB II) All-Up Round (AUR)
- 12 GBU-53/B SDB II Guided Test Vehicles (GTV); 12 GBU-53/B SDB II Captive Carry Vehicles (CCV)
- 150 SIDEWINDER AIM-9X Block II+ (Plus) Tactical Missiles
- 32 SIDEWINDER AIM-9X Block II+ (Plus) Captive Air Training Missiles (CATMs)
- 30 AIM-9X Block II+ (Plus) SIDEWINDER Tactical Guidance Units
- 8 AIM-9X Block II SIDEWINDER CATM Guidance Units
- 100 AGM-154C-1 JOINT STAND OFF WEAPON (JSOW-C1) Tactical Missiles
- 200 JOINT AIR-TO-SURFACE STANDOFF MISSILE-EXTENDED Range (JASSM-ER) AGM-158B-2 Missiles etc.
The proposed sale of F-35s with associated missiles and munitions will provide Finland with a credible defence capability to deter aggression in the region and ensure interoperability with U.S. forces, according to a State Department spokesman.
The prime contractors will be Lockheed Martin, Pratt & Whitney Military Engines, The Boeing Company, and Raytheon Missiles and Defense. This proposal is being offered in the context of a competition and if it is accepted, it is expected that offset agreements will be required. Any offset agreement will be defined in negotiations between the purchaser and the contractor(s).
J C Menon