The Finnish Armed Forces will purchase 64 F-35 multi-role fighters manufactured by the American corporation Lockheed Martin as per the Finnish Defense Minister Antti Kaikkonen.
This will be the largest arms purchase in the history of Finland: the value of the deal is estimated at 10 billion euros.
The production of some aircraft components and the assembly of engines will take place in Finland. According to Kaikkonen, the deal will directly provide jobs for 4,500 people and 1,500 indirectly.
The first F-35 multi-role fighters are expected to enter service with the Finnish Air Force in 2025 as part of a training and education program. In 2028-2030, The F-35’s will replace the older F-18 Hornet aircraft.
According to the government, the fighters’ annual operating and maintenance costs will not exceed 254 million euros.
Prime Minister Sanna Marin (SDP) called the fighters “an integral part of Finland’s defense.” President Sauli Niinistö said the acquisition of F-35 fighters “will not have a significant impact on Finland’s geopolitical position.”
The final decision on the deal will be made by the State Council, which will inform the parliament about it.
Also participating in the tender were the Swedish Gripen fighter, the French Rafale, the British Eurofighter and the American Super Hornet.
Swedish Defense Minister Peter Hultqvist said he was disappointed with Finland’s decision.