Helsinki has signed a contract for 64 F-35 stealth fighter jets made in the USA, reported to have cost $9.4billion
The Finnish Defense Forces revealed Friday that a multibillion-dollar agreement has been reached between Finland and the USA to buy 64 F-35 fighter planes. According to reports, the radar-evident warplanes will cost $9.4 billion for the European nation, traditionally non-aligned.
Finnish officials had previously stated that the aircraft would not be in service until 2027. The new jets are being brought in to replace Finland’s current Hornet fleet.
According to the Finnish Defence Forces, apart from the 64 planes, Lockheed Martin will provide maintenance equipment and spare parts as part of the agreement.
“The aim is to ensure that Finland’s F-35 system has the best possible performance going into the 2030s,”This statement has been added.
Mikko Hautala, Finland’s ambassador to the US, said the purchase was not linked to the current tensions between neighboring Russia and the West. “It is part of our long-term planning and has nothing to do with the current situation as such,” Hautala stated.
Finland rejected other alternatives, such as Dassault Rafale from France or Eurofighter Typhoon from the UK when selecting F-35.
The nation remained strategic neutral throughout the Cold War, but it has enhanced its ties to the West over the years. Premier Minister Sanna Marin stated in January that the government did not intend to join NATO but could still opt to do so if necessary.
In the so called Winter War (1939-1940), Finland was forced into giving up territory including Karelia, Salla and Kuusamo to the Soviet Union. Russia now holds land and cities like Vyborg that Finland had historically claimed.
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