Finland will replace its F/A-18C/D fighters with the Lockheed Martin F-35A Block 4, the government announced on Friday. The deal will supply 64 fighters, plus AMRAAM and Sidewinder missiles, in a package worth 8.4 billion euros ($9.5 billion).
The agreement also includes maintenance services until 2030 and which account for 2.9 billion euros of the package. The F-35A fighters will cost 4.7 billion euros, or 73.4 million euros ($83 million) per aircraft.
The victory of the F-35A, the only 5th generation participant in the HX competition, was already expected after internal Finnish government sources indicated the Lockheed Martin fighter as the most attractive compared to competitors Saab Gripen, Dassault Rafale, Eurofighter Typhoon and Boeing F/ A-18E/F.
It is the second competition that the F-35A wins in Europe in 2021. In July, Switzerland selected the US plane to replace the F/A-18 currently in operation.
The fighter also operates in neighboring Norway and Denmark, as well as seven other nations.
The first Finnish F-35A’s will be delivered starting in 2025, but will undergo a one-year testing period in the US, arriving in the country only in 2026. The F/A-18 fighters will be phased out of service between 2028 and 2030.
“In the HX Fighter Program evaluation of the tenderers’ offers, the F-35 fulfilled the security of supply, industrial participation and affordability requirements of the decision-making areas. In the military capability assessment, the F-35 comprehensive system was the best The F-35 combat, reconnaissance and survival capabilities were the best suited of the HX candidates,” the government said.