Finland appears to have selected Lockheed Martin F-35

Finland buy select F35
Lockheed Martin F35 fifth-gen combat aircraft. It seems to have also been selected by Finland.

Finland is reported to have selected Lockheed Martin's F-35 stealth fighter in its € 10 billion ($ 11.3 billion) HX Fighter tender, according to a local media report.

The F-35 was preferred over other contenders due to its superior capabilities and expected long life (up to 2060), Iltalehti newspaper said, citing a number of unidentified defense and security policy sources. The Ministry of Defense and top foreign-policy makers seem to have endorsed the Defense Forces' proposal to procure the fifth generation fighter.

Lauri Puranen, a Defense Ministry director in charge of procurement, declined to comment when he was contacted by the local Helsingin Sanomat newspaper.

Lockheed Martin had said in recent months that it is well positioned in Finland's tender.

Finland has spent the past five years selecting a new fighter with air-to-surface and air-to-sea capabilities to defend a 1,300-kilometer (800-mile) border against possible attacks from Russia, trying to deter any aggression from its eastern neighbor.

The new fighter aircraft will replace 64 Boeing F/A-18 Hornets which will be phased out between 2025 and 2030. The contract also includes weapons, sensors, equipment and support, such as training.

The government's decision is expected to be officially announced later this month. Other participants in the HX Fighter Program include the Dassault Rafale, Eurofighter Typhoon, Boeing Super Hornet and Saab Gripen.

Written by Matteo Sanzani

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