The US Department of Defense (DoD) has given approval to Boeing and the US Navy to offer the EA-18G Growler to Finland.

The approval follows a query issued by the Finnish Ministry of Defense if it could be offered the airborne electronic attack (AEA) aircraft as part of their HX fighter programme procurement.

With the approval, Finland has become the second country after Australia to be authorised to purchase the aircraft.

In June 2014, Boeing received a contract to supply 12 Growlers to the Royal Australian Air Force under a foreign military sales agreement with the US Navy.

Boeing F/A-18 and EA-18G programmes vice-president Dan Gillian said: “All strike fighter aircraft rely on Growler escort to increase survivability during high-threat missions.

“The combination of the Super Hornet Block III and Growler would provide Finland with superior technological capability particularly suited to Finland’s HX mission requirements.”

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“Armed with AIM-120 advanced medium-range air-to-air missiles, Growler offers the ability to self-protect against adversarial aircraft.”

Growler, which is an F/A-18 variant, provides tactical jamming and electronic protection and is claimed to be one of the world’s most advanced AEA platforms.

The aircraft is designed to disrupt, deceive or deny a range of military electronic systems, including radar and communication systems. It is in service with the US Navy and the Royal Australian Air Force.

Armed with AIM-120 advanced medium-range air-to-air missiles, Growler offers the ability to self-protect against adversarial aircraft.

Finland intends to phase out its Hornet fighters by 2030. The HX fighter programme is aimed at replacing Helsinki’s current fleet with new manned multi-role fighters.

Last month, the Finnish Defence Forces’ Logistics Command received replies from five aircraft manufacturers for the invitations to tender for the HX fighter programme.

The final decision on the replacement of the Hornet fleet is expected in 2021.