The Finnish Ministry of Defence (MoD) has issued a revised call for tenders to five companies for the country’s programme to replace its ageing fighter aircraft fleet.

The MoD has issued a Revised Request for Quotation and the five companies have time to respond until 31 January 2020.

The programme for the replacement of the Finnish Air Force’s Boeing F-18 Hornet fighter jets is called HX.

Contenders to replace the aircraft include Lockheed Martin F-35, Boeing F/A-18 Super Hornet, Eurofighter Typhoon, Dassault Rafale and Saab Gripen.

The HX programme is crucial for Finland’s defence capability as the current fighters will reach the end of their service life by 2030.

The Finnish Government has capped the budget for the acquisition of the new aircraft at €10bn.

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In a statement, the MoD said: “Within the budget set for the project, the tenderers must prepare a performance package that meets the set requirements and includes not only the aircraft but also other technical systems, training systems, necessary maintenance equipment, test equipment and spare parts, along with weapons, sensors and other required type-specific support functions.

“The package must also include the changes in management and information systems required for its integration into the defence system, as well as the construction of security-critical infrastructure.”

Tendering phase for the HX programme started last year when the MoD issued an initial invitation to negotiate and a request for quotations.

The government then started the first phase of the programme negotiations.

The revised call for tenders provides contenders with an opportunity to gather the information and present a ‘clear, updated and improved package’.

Following the second phase of negotiations, the MoD will release the request for the final offer next year.

A final decision on the procurement of the replacement fighters is expected in 2021.