Finland's Defence Forces Logistics Department has issued a request for information (RFI) to industry partners for multi-purpose fighters that could replace the national air force's ageing Hornet aircraft.
The RFI seeks input on technical characteristics of fighter jets, which could meet the requirements of Finnish Hornet's performance over the years, from defence administrations across the UK, France, Sweden and US.
The actual purchase of the aircraft follows analysis of the responses to the RFI and issuance of invitations to tender.
The RFI will lead to the acquisition of new fighters before the retirement of F-18 Hornet fighters by the end of 2030. The acquisition plan calls for a tender by 2018 and a contract by 2021.
Finland is requesting information on budgetary estimates of the cost of the acquisition, and the operation and maintenance of the air systems.
The information will be used for detailed planning and budgeting, procurement and purchasing.
The basic requirement is that the new multi-purpose fighter jets must be in service before the Hornet fleet is decommissioned.
Besides aircraft, other systems under consideration include equipment such as weapons, training equipment, management systems and arrangements necessary for maintenance.
The responders may also provide solutions that can include more than one type of aircraft and / or unmanned aerial vehicles, to complement the operational performance of the multi-purpose fighter aircraft.
The responses have to be submitted by the end of this year.
Image: Finland's F-18 Hornet fighters. Photo: courtesy of Finnish AF photo.