Finland sets cost cap on fighter purchase

The Finnish government has set a ten-billion-euro (11-billion-U.S.-dollar) ceiling on the project to update the country’s jet fighters, the Ministry of Defense said on Wednesday.

The fiscal cap will comprise the cost for purchasing new jets, their arms and a variety of ground systems.

The project is meant to replace the current fleet of 64 F18 Hornets, which were bought from the United States in the early 1990s.

Finnish Defense Minister Antti Kaikkonen told media on Wednesday that the number of new jets to be purchased could exceed, or fall short of the current level.

The tenderers have been F-35, the Super Hornet, the Rafale, the Eurofighter and the Gripen.

This autumn Finland will be sending more detailed tender requests to the candidates. Technical tests will be flown in Finland this coming winter. Final tenders will be arranged in 2020. The Finnish government is to choose the type of fighters to purchase in 2021.

Lauri Puranen, the head of strategic projects at the Finnish Ministry of Defense, said on Wednesday that there were no indications that any of the five would be pulling out from the race at the moment.