First HX Fighter Programme agreements signed
On 10 December 2021, the Government decided on the procurement of Lockheed Martin F-35A Lightning II multi-role fighters, which will replace the capabilities of the Air Force’s Hornet fleet that will be phased out by 2030. The Finnish Defence Forces’ Logistics Command was authorised to conclude procurement contracts for the F-35 system and air-to-air weapons while the Ministry of Defence was authorised to sign an agreement on industrial participation for the HX fighter programme with Lockheed Martin and Pratt & Whitney, the engine manufacturer.
Signing of first LOA documents of HX project
The procurement of multi-role fighters will be carried out in line with the Foreign Military Sales (FMS) procedure as required by the United States administration for defence materiel export. Letter of Offer and Acceptance (LOA) documents will be drafted on the procurement packages, and when signed, these documents are the procurement agreement.
On Friday 11 February 2022, Major General (Eng.) Kari Renko, Chief of the Defence Forces Logistics Command, signed in Tampere the LOA documents on F-35A aircraft and their maintenance services. As to the implementation of the LOA agreements, the United States is represented by the F-35 project offices operating under the defence administration.
The procurement contracts include the deliveries of 64 multi-role fighters in 2025-30 that represent the F-35A Block 4 configuration, aircraft engines and maintenance equipment, systems, spare parts, replacement equipment, training equipment and servicing needed for use and maintenance. The agreements include F-35 type training for the Defence Forces’ flying and technical personnel.
After the procurement of aircraft and maintenance services, LOA documents will be signed during 2022 on the procurement of air-to-air weapons, the Sidewinder and AMRAAM missiles. In accordance with the procurement proposal submitted to the Government in December 2021, the agreements on procuring air-to-ground and air-to-surface weapons will be made later. This will ensure that the weapon composition can be optimised, for example in terms of the number and types of weapons, so that Finland will have a high-performance F-35 system when entering the 2030s.
Agreement on industrial participation
Minister of Defence Antti Kaikkonen signed an agreement on industrial participation on Friday 11 February 2022 in Helsinki. The agreement was concluded with the fighter manufacturer Lockheed Martin and Pratt & Whitney, the engine manufacturer and member of the Raytheon technologies group.
The industrial participation obligation is based on a decision made by the Minister of Defence in April 2018 which stated that the value of industrial cooperation should be at least 30 per cent of the actual contract price. The industrial participation solution in the F-35 system met the requirements of the HX Fighter Programme set for industrial participation.
The objective of industrial participation is to develop and maintain the production, technology and expertise in the defence and security industry that is critical with respect to national defence, state security and functions vital to society, as well as to improve and safeguard the national security of supply.
The industrial participation solution will develop credible expertise in the domestic industry from the security of supply perspective and will play an important role in the national economy. The most important industrial participation projects include large-scale production of the F-35 front fuselage in Finland also for other users, production of structural components as well as equipment testing and maintenance capability. Finland was also offered a project of the final assembly of engines for the Air Force aircraft. The estimated direct domestic employment effect of industrial participation is 4,500 person-years while the indirect effect is 1,500 person-years.
Senior Ministerial Adviser Tarja Jaakkola, tel. + 358 295 140410
Major General (Eng.) Kari Renko, Finnish Defence Forces Logistics Command, tel. +358 299 800 (switchboard).