Finland plans to replace its existing fleet of 62 F/A-18 Hornets by 2021, the Defense ministry made an announcement Thursday.
Eurofighter, French Dassault Rafale, American Boeing Super Hornet or Lockheed Martin JSF F-35, and Swedish JAS Gripen to be in race to Finland’s new fighter jet program.
According to a report by the Finland’s defense department, the selection of the fighter jets will probably beigin in 2017/18 and is scheduled to buy it by 2021.
Finland’s Minister of Defense Jussi Niinisto said at a press conference that the official decision to proceed with the procurement will be made later this year but the government would follow the report’s recommendations.
The report however has not revealed the number of aircraft that are to be purchased but Finland is expected to buy 62 to replace the existing 62 aircraft.
Major General Lauri Puranen provided journalists with details on the planes to be considered. “These five fighters are Eurofighter, French Dassault Rafale, American Boeing Super Hornet or Lockheed Martin JSF F-35, and Swedish JAS Gripen,” the major general said. “All of these are possible and we don’t have a favorite.”
“We are not commenting on the number of new fighters at this point but I can say the current number of planes has responded well to the needs of a country this size,” Puranen said.
In contrast, the Canadian government still does not have specific details on its replacement of its CF-18s.