Thursday, October 22, 2015

Finland Starting Fighter Procurement to Replace F-18Cs

Finland's defence forces received authorisation from the country's defence minister, Jussi Niinistö, to launch a procurement programme to replace the country's Boeing F/A-18C Hornet fleet on 20 October.

The programme - known as HX - comes after the delivery of a report by a working group in June on possible options for the country's fighter fleet.

The report recommended that the country required a multirole fighter to replace the F/A-18 Hornet fleet, with the country's air defence to also be augmented by ground-based air defence systems.

According to the Finnish Ministry of Defence (MoD), the current Hornet fleet is expected to reach the end of its service life by the end of the 2020s due to overall structural fatigue, the weakening of relative capabilities, and the availability of the aircraft's systems, spare parts, and software. It is expected that the current Hornet fleet will be phased out from 2025 onwards.

According to the working group's report, requests for information are currently being drafted for delivery in February 2016. Requests for quotes are to be issued in 2018, before a tender is issued in February 2019. Contracts are planned to be signed in 2021, with an initial operating capability being reached in early 2025. Full operational capability is to be reached around 2030.

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