The Finnish Defence Forces have received a mandate from the Ministry of Defence (MoD) to start the HX fighter project, in a bid to replace the operational capability of the Air Force’s F/A-18 aircraft.
Finland’s F/A-18s are set to complete their lifecycle by 2025.
According to Finland MoD, the country’s defence forces are required to replace the capabilities provided by the Hornet fleet by the end of the 2020s.
Under the HX fighter project, the country is seeking to purchase multi-role fighters as proposed by the working group assigned to assess the replacement options in June.
Possible candidates featured in the report include Saab’s Gripen, Dassault Aviation’s Rafale, Boeing’s F/A-18 Super Hornet, Lockheed Martin’s F-35, and the Eurofighter.
Nasdaq earlier reported, citing Finnish defence officials, that the country is planning to buy either US or European-made warplanes that would cost approximately €10bn ($11.23bn).
The current fleet of Hornet aircraft is capable of engaging with land and sea-based targets in addition to its capacity to support intelligence, surveillance and C2 systems in the Defence Forces.
The new fighters would give airborne capabilities that are capable of preventing a possible aggressor from using military force against Finland, the MoD stated.
The project will require separate funding as the replacement is not possible within the framework of the current defence budget.
The parliament will decide on the funding under its budgetary authority, the MoD said.