Finland receives responses from 5 aircraft primes on HX fighter procurement

Finland has received information from five aircraft primes regarding the replacement of its air force´s Boeing F/A-18C/D Hornet fleet, the company said.

The company said the HX fighter replacement program was kicked off in November 2015 by defense minister Jussi Niinistö. This was followed by the issue of a request for information (RFI) to five manufacturers from the government.

The Finnish defense ministry notified the governments of France, Sweden, the UK and the US that it would seek information on each nation´s fighter offerings, specifically seven aircraft types from five manufacturers.

All five manufacturers have responded: Boeing, Dassault, Eurofighter, Lockheed Martin and Saab, with their respective F/A-18E/F Super Hornet, Rafale, Typhoon, F-35 and Gripen E aircraft. Information on the Lockheed F-16 and Boeing F-15 has not been offered.

The government is expected to issue its counter response in April 2017, once the RFI responses have been analyzed. A subsequent request for proposals is expected to be issued in 2018, and the government has indicated that a selection will be made in 2021.

Finland´s air force will assess weapons, training, command and control systems and maintenance offerings. Helsinki operates 61 F/A-18C/Ds, including seven two-seat trainers, which are scheduled to be phased out by 2025.