On 1 March 2012 the Ministry of Defence authorised the Defence Forces to sign the contract to procure Joint Air-to-Surface Standoff Missiles (AGM-158 JASSM) from the United States for the F-18 Hornet aircraft of the Air Force. The long-range missiles have been manufactured by Lockheed-Martin Corporation.
The U.S. Department of Defense and the Congress approved of the transaction in November 2011, which was a precondition for starting the procurement process.
The procurement of JASSM enables Finland to implement the policy set in the Government Reports on the Finnish Security and Defence Policy in 2004 and 2009; with the long-range air-to-surface precision-guided weapon system for the F-18 aircraft it is possible to impact the key functions and key targets of the enemy. AGM-158 JASSM is the only missile that meets the requirement to integrate the system into the F-18 aircraft as scheduled.
The modifications to the F-18 which are included in the procurement will be carried out as part of the life-cycle upgrade by 2016. The procurement is in line with securing the core functions of the Defence Forces. It is such a vital project for the development of defence capability that it was not targeted for the reduction of the procurement of materiel.
The procurement of the missile system includes modifications to the software of the aircraft, test and live missiles, technical documentation and training. With payments spread over six years, the total price of the procurement is EUR 178.5 million (incl. value added tax).
The financing of the AGM-158 JASSM has already been taken into account in the defence budget and therefore it will not increase the total amount to be spent on the procurement of materiel in the Defence Forces.
On 29 February 2012 the project was discussed in the Cabinet finance committee which advocated the procurement. (ends)