The Finland Ministry of Defence (MoD) has been advised to procure multi-role fighters, in a bid to replace its US-built F/A-18 Hornet jets, whose operational life-cycle ends at the end of next decade.
The working group was established to conduct a preliminary assessment on the replacement of F/A-18. It has argued that the capabilities of multi-role fighters would be complemented with air defence capabilities.
Meanwhile, Nasdaq 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 defence capabilities of multi-role fighters would help the country’s defence force to use fire power to impact targets on land and at sea.
According to the group, procurement of anti-aircraft weapons or unmanned aircraft will not be able to replace the operational capability of F/A-18 only and both systems would only cover a part of the Hornet’s capabilities.
The report insisted that a 15-year project for replacement of the aircraft needs to be launched in autumn this year. Moreover, project-related information requests should be made and invitations for tenders sent during the current parliamentary term.
It also proposed that the final decision should be made at the beginning of 2020s.
The possible candidates suggested 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, Reuters reported.
Image: A US Navy F/A-18C on a mission during Operation Enduring Freedom in 2002. Photo: courtesy of the US Navy photo by Lt Kyle ‘Chet’ Turco.