The Government of Finland has selected Lockheed Martin’s fifth-generation F-35A Lightning II aircraft for its HX Fighter programme.

The programme aims to replace the Finnish Air Force’s Hornet fleet.

The existing Hornet fleet will be phased out as scheduled from 2025 and the first Finnish F-35 joint strike fighters (JSFs) will enter service with the Finnish Air Force starting from 2025.

On 10 December, the government authorised the Finnish Defence Forces Logistics Command to sign a procurement contract for 64 F-35A Block 4 multi-role fighters.

The contract also covers a weapons’ package, a sustainment solution customised to meet Finland’s security supply requirements, and a ‘comprehensive training’ programme until 2030.

In February 2020, Finnish Defence Forces’ Logistics Command received responses from five fighter jets manufacturers for the revised request of HX Fighter jet replacement programme quotation.

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By GlobalData

Lockheed Martin F-35 Program vice-president and general manager Bridget Lauderdale said: “We are honoured the Government of Finland through its thorough, open competition has selected the F-35, and we look forward to partnering with the Finnish Defence Forces and Finnish defence industry to deliver and sustain the F-35 aircraft.

“The F-35 will provide Finnish industries unique digital capabilities that leverage 5th Generation engineering and manufacturing.

“The production work will continue for more than 20 years, and the F-35 sustainment work will continue into the 2070s.”

According to Lockheed Martin, the company’s fifth-generation F-35 Lightning II selection will deliver economic and technical benefits to Finland in the future years.

The company will build industry partnerships with Finnish firms and academic institutions to develop and advance future security partnerships.

Until now, the F-35 has been operating from 21 bases across the world, with a total of nine nations operating F-35s on their home soil.

More than 730 F-35s are currently operational worldwide.