The US Defense Security Cooperation Agency (DSCA) has notified Congress of a potential foreign military sale (FMS) of follow-on equipment and support for Finland's F-18 Hornet's Mid-Life Upgrade (MLU) programme.
Under the estimated $170m sale, Finland has requested supply of a wide range of F-18C/D fleet retrofit kits, including 69 KIV-78 Mode 5 identification friend or foe systems, 69 AN/APX-11-30 combined interrogator / transponders, multifunctional information distribution systems, and 32 SUU-63 pylons.
Programme support, including software test and integration centre upgrades, was also sought, along with flight testing, spare and repair parts, support and test equipment, personnel training and training equipment, and other related elements of logistics support services.
The MLU programme equipment is expected to expand the useful life of the Finnish Air Force's (FAF) F-18 fighter aircraft, as well as enhance survivability and communications connectivity.
In addition, the upgrade is anticipated to help the air force to keep pace with the technology advances in the sensors, weaponry and communications domain.
The potential sale will contribute to the foreign policy and national security of the US by directly helping to enhance the security of Finland, which continues to serve as an important force for political stability and economic progress in Europe.
Prime contractors for the FMS programme include Raytheon, Lockheed Martin, Boeing, BAE North America, General Electric, General Dynamics, Northrop Grumman and Rockwell Collins.
Authorised by the Finnish Air Force in 2004, the MLU programme aims to add air-to-ground capabilities to the F-18C/D Hornet fleet.
Powered by two General Electric F404-GE-402 turbofan engines, the Boeing F/A-18 Hornet is a supersonic, all-weather carrier-capable multirole fighter jet, designed to dogfight and attack ground targets, as well as conduct fighter escort, fleet air defence, air interdiction, close air support and aerial reconnaissance missions.
Image: Finnish Air Force's F-18C fighter aircraft during flight at RIAT 2005. Photo: D2180s.