Patria and Lockheed Martin have cemented their partnership with a memorandum of agreement (MoA) to establish a production line for F-35 landing gear doors in Finland. 

This agreement constitutes the second MoA between the two entities under Finland’s F-35 industrial participation programme.

This initiative enhances Finland’s supply security and accelerates the nation’s progress toward becoming a key player in aerospace manufacturing.

In December 2023, Patria secured an agreement with the Finnish Defence Forces to bolster capabilities for the F-35 programme, encompassing maintenance and service operations within Finnish borders. 

The collaboration will establish a production line at Patria’s Halli facility in Jämsä, Finland, dedicated to manufacturing landing gear doors for the global fleet of F-35 aircraft. With plans to produce 400 sets of these components, Patria is poised to expand its knowledge of F-35 materials, further solidifying Finland’s supply security and contributing to its defence infrastructure.

GlobalData’s “Finland Defense Market 2023-2028” report reveals that Finland is replacing its fleet of Boeing F/A-18 Hornets with 64 F-35A in a deal confirmed on December 10, 2021. The contract includes support and sustainment services that the F-35 programme manager has described as ‘work that will continue into the 2060s’.

Commenting on the partnership, Petri Hepola, chief programme officer for F-35 at Patria, emphasised the importance of the agreement, stating: “This long-term agreement for manufacturing of 400 sets of F-35 landing gear doors is an important addition to Patria’s future capabilities.

“The further expertise of F-35 materials in connection with F-35 Forward Fuselage Assembly is essential for Finland’s security of supply. Proceeding as planned, the co-operation with Lockheed Martin and F-35 supply chain has once again been very productive.” 

The landing gear doors project is part of Finland’s broader strategy to leverage the F-35’s industrial participation programme, which facilitates the transfer of technical knowledge and fosters manufacturing opportunities within the country. Mike Shoemaker, vice president of F-35 customer programmes at Lockheed Martin, hailed the initiative as a testament to Finland’s growing position in the aerospace industry and its commitment to enhancing national security.

As Finland continues to invest in aerospace manufacturing capabilities, the collaborative efforts between Patria and Lockheed Martin position the nation as a player in the global aerospace arena. With a focus on enhancing the security of supply, this partnership marks a milestone in Finland’s journey towards becoming a hub for aerospace manufacturing.

Other recent European F-35 procurement developments include the Czech Republic finalising its acquisition of 24 F-35 Lightning II jets. Additionally, the US has approved the Hellenic Air Force’s request to purchase 40 F-35A Lightning II fighter jets.