A European country “Finland” has announced that “it selects Lockheed Martin F-35A in $11 Billion Defense Deal” with American Defense Firm “Lockheed Martin”. Lockheed Martin F-35A beats four other world’s leading aircrafts including Boeing F-18 Super Hornet, France’s Dassault Rafale, Britain’s Eurofighter Typhoon and Sweden’s Saab Gripen.
According to Finnish defense minister Antti Kaikkonen “It was a tough race.”
The procurement from Lockheed, 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.
The choice strengthens the small Nordic nation’s defence cooperation with its allies, most significantly the United States and Norway, said researcher Charly Salonius-Pasternak at the Finnish Institute of International Affairs.
“Finland and Norway already train together in the north so it will be a political decision to determine what intelligence is shared and when,” he told Reuters, referring to the potential for the jets to share data in real time.
Unlike Norway, Finland is not a member of the North Atlantic Treaty Organisation (NATO) but it has forged stronger ties with the organisation in recent years and chosen military equipment compatible with NATO members.
In 2014 Finland and Sweden, which is also not a NATO member, signed an agreement to train together and allow NATO assistance in crisis situations.
“The F-35 will provide Finnish industries unique digital capabilities that leverage 5th generation engineering and manufacturing,” said Bridget Lauderdale, Lockheed Martin’s vice president and general manager of the F-35 programme.