Working Group Proposes Multi-Role Fighters to Replace F/A-18 Aircraft
(Source: Finland Ministry of Defence; issued June 11, 2015)
Having initially bought the F-18 in air-to-air version, Finland has upgraded them to perform ground attack missions, and now plans to buy a multirole fighter to replace them in the next decade. (USAF photo)
The working group which was set up to make a preliminary assessment of how to replace the operational capability of the Air Force F/A-18 aircraft proposes procurement of multi-role fighters.

The capabilities of multi-role fighters would be complemented with air defence capabilities. The need and possibilities to procure unmanned aircraft and other complementing capabilities will be analysed at a later point.

The capabilities of multi-role fighters play a significant role in securing a pre-emptive threshold which would stop a possible aggressor from using military force against Finland. The capabilities of fighters form an integral part of air defence and the ability of the Defence Forces to use fire power to impact targets on land and at sea.

The life cycle of F/A-18 fighters will terminate by the end of next decade. It is not possible to replace their operational capability with anti-aircraft weapons or unmanned aircraft alone since both systems would only cover a part of the capabilities of the Hornet aircraft.

The project to replace F/A-18 fighters will extend approximately over 15 years. According to the report of the working group, the project needs to be launched in autumn 2015 at the latest. Project-related information requests should be made and, ultimately, invitations for tenders sent during the current parliamentary term.

The procurement decision should be made at the beginning of 2020s.

The working group submitted its report to the Minister of Defence on 11 June 2015.

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First Steps Towards New Combat Aircraft Purchase
(Source: YLE Finnish Broadcasting Corp.; posted June 11, 2015)
A preliminary report on replacing Finland's aging fleet of F-18 Hornet fighters was turned over to Defense Minister Jussi Niinistö on Thursday.

At present, the Finnish Air Force has 62 of the American-made F-18 Hornet jet fighters. Several different aircraft are initially being looked at as replacements.

A working group report turned over to Defense Minister Jussi Niinistö proposes that the Hornets, which will reach the end of their lifecycle in 2030, be replaced by new multirole combat jets.

A decision on the choice of aircraft and their acquisition for the Air Force is likely be made sometime during the term of the next parliament.

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