The Finnish Defence Forces' Logistics Command sent the invitations to tender in spring 2018 for the HX Fighter Programme and have now received replies from five aircraft manufacturers.
The aim of the HX Fighter Programme is to replace the operational capability of the Finnish Air Force F/A-18 C/D Hornet fleet, scheduled to be decommissioned as of 2025, with a comprehensive solution that introduces a multi-role fighter.
In April 2018, the Defence Forces sent a Request for Quotation (RFQ) to the governments of France, Great Britain, Sweden and the United States, to be forwarded to five manufacturers of multi-role fighters in these countries. The aircraft types in question are the Boeing F/A-18 Super Hornet (United States), Dassault Rafale (France), Eurofighter Typhoon (Great Britain), Lockheed Martin F-35 (United States) and Saab Gripen (Sweden).
The deadline for submitting replies was set at the end of January 2019. The Defence Forces' Logistics Command received a preliminary RFQ for all five aircraft types. The replies contain binding information on the comprehensive solution and package, built around each multi-role fighter option; the aim is to create the best possible capability for Finland’s defence system while replacing the Hornet fleet.
Apart from the 64 aircraft, the replies to invitations to tender contain technical systems needed for operating the aircraft, training systems, necessary maintenance tools, testing equipment and spare parts as well as weapons, sensors and other associated type-specific support functions. They may also include other supporting systems and capability elements.
The next phase after receiving the preliminary quotations is a content analysis that lasts several months. This is followed by the first phase of negotiations during which the quotations are further specified in cooperation with the manufacturers.
A more specific RFQ will be sent in the second half of 2019; this will be followed by the second phase of negotiations during which the content of procurement packages will be finalised. The second phase of negotiations will end in 2020; the manufacturers will then be requested to submit final tender documents. The government will make the decision on the replacement of the Hornet fleet in 2021.