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Finland towards F-35 military aircraft

Eurofighter, Gripen and Rafale also in competition

Finland's Air Force is facing the task of replacing 64 F-18 C/D aircraft produced by ex-US manufacturer McDonnell Douglas, acquired by Boeing. The government's evaluation team is reportedly looking at three European aircraft (Eurofighter, Gripen and Rafale) and one US airplane. According to rumors in the national press, Helsinki would opt for Lockheed Martin's F-35 fighter airplanes.

Finland has initiated a fleet modernization program called HX, worth 10 billion Euros, with a decision due by the end of the year. The aircraft are expected to be delivered starting in 2025. Competitors submitted their bids at the end of April. The proposed models are: the Eurofighter (developed by Bae Systems, Airbus and Leonardo), the Gripen (by Saab) and the Rafale (by Dassault Aviation).

The choice for Lockheed Martin's F-35 fighter aircraft follows the already existing close cooperation between Helsinki and Washington on the maintenance of the current F-18 fleet and the interchangeability of armaments on American aircraft. 

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AVIONEWS - World Aeronautical Press Agency