The US State Department has approved a possible foreign military sale of F-35 Joint Strike Fighter and F/A-18E/F Super Hornet and EA-18G Growler aircraft to Finland.
The clearance comes amid Finland’s quest to find a successor for its air force’s F/A-18 Hornet aircraft fleet as part of the HX program. The Baltic country is testing a total of five aircraft before it makes a decision on the winner in 2021.
The first approval, worth $12.5 billion, for the purchase by the US defense security cooperation agency includes 64 F-35 aircraft with air-to-air missiles and air-to-ground precision guided munitions and related equipment for an estimated cost of $12.5 billion. This offers includes 500 GBU-53/B Small Diameter Bombs, 150 Sidewinder missiles, JSOW-C1 tactical missiles, 200 Joint Air-to-Surface Standoff Missile-Extended Range (JASSM-ER) missiles and a range of other equipment.
The other clearance includes 50 F/A-18E Super Hornet single-seat and eight F/A-18F tandem-seat Super Hornet aircraft. Also included are 14 EA-18G Growler aircraft, 500 GBU-53/B Small Diameter Bombs, Sidewinder and JASSM missiles and other equipment. The total estimated value of this deal is $14.7 billion.
In addition to F-35 and Super Hornets, Finland is evaluating a potential purchase of Eurofighter aircraft, Swedish Gripen E and France’s Rafale fighters.
The country is expected to select the preferred contender in 2021, after all three phases of the HX challenge have been completed.