Surface-to-Air Missile System for Pohjanmaa-Class Corvettes
(Source: Finnish Ministry of Defence; issued Feb 21, 2019)
The Finnish Navy’s future Pohjanmaa-class corvettes, being procured under the Squadron 2020 program, will be armed with ESSM air-defense missiles, IAI Gabriel anti-ship missiles and Model 47 torpedoes. (Finnish Navy image)
Minister of Defence Jussi Niinistö authorised, on 21 February 2019, the Finnish Defence Forces Logistics Command to procure a surface-to-air missile system (ITO20) for the Pohjanmaa-class corvettes of the Squadron 2020 project.

The ITO20 system will consist of Evolved SeaSparrow Missiles (ESSM), launcher units, spare parts, required supplementary parts, and the related software package.

The ITO20 system will be installed in all four Pohjanmaa-class vessels. The number of missiles to be procured is not public information. The entire system will cost EUR 83 million, without value added tax, and it will be procured from the United States defence administration through a government-to-government agreement.

The ITO20 system is an integral part of the combat system in the corvettes; surface-to-air missiles protect the vessels' own operations and make it possible to protect other sites or operation of troops. The ITO20 system improves the Navy's capability to participate more effectively in national air defence and protect important sites. A Gabriel surface-to-surface missile system and a torpedo weapon system have already been procured for the corvettes.

Squadron 2020 project contract

The four modern corvettes designed for Finland’s conditions will replace the seven surface combatants that will be decommissioned. The Pohjanmaa-class corvettes will be constructed in Finland for reasons of security of supply. The combat system, in other words the weapons and sensors, will be procured from overseas through a separate tendering process.

There are on-going negotiations on contracts for the Pohjanmaa-class shipbuilding and combat systems. The process of completing an extensive contract with a number of parties has required special diligence and has therefore also taken more time than expected.

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Ostrobothnia-Class Performance Capability Takes A Step Forward
(Source: Finnish Navy; issued Feb 21, 2019)
(Unofficial translation by Defense-Aerospace.com)
With the acquisition decision of 21 February 2019 by Minister of Defense Jussi Niinistö, the air defense capability of Pohjanmaa-class corvettes has been confirmed.

Navy commander Commodore Jori Harju is pleased with the performance achieved through the acquisition, and notes that ITO20 brings significant added value to the capabilities of the ships’ defense system.

The ITO20 system is the most important part of the ship's self-defense and its capability to protect other targets. All Ostrobothnia-class ships will be equipped with the ITO20 system, which will increase the range of anti-aircraft defense from 12 kilometers to 50 kilometers. The ITO20 system will be integrated into the Ostrobothnia-class corvette combat management system, through which the required targeting and fire-control information will be transmitted to the Evolved Sea Sparrow (ESSM) missiles.

The ITO20 system will also be incorporated into national air defense network, which will increase the capability of the entire defense system to combat air paints.

The core of the ITO20 system is the Evolved Sea Sparrow (ESSM) missile. The ESSM missile has been primarily developed to protect ships against missiles and aircraft. The ESSM missile is capable of intercepting supersonic flying objects. The missile is guided to its target by a semi-active radar seeker.

The ESSM missiles, controlled by ITO20, will be in service until the 2040s. The ESSM missile is already in use in a total of 13 countries, including Australia, Canada, Denmark, Germany, the Netherlands, Norway and the United States.

This broad user community ensures that the system being acquired is not a product under development, but is backed by long-term testing and deployment. The advantage of a large user group is better predictability of life cycle costs.

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