Back to news

January 28, 2019 | International, Aerospace

'Irresponsible politics’ blamed for potential hiccup in Finnish aircraft purchase


HELSINKI — Finland's left-leaning political parties have cast a shadow of doubt of the fate of the HX-FP fighter procurement program, questioning the number of multirole aircraft that the Finnish Air Force needs to acquire.

The Air Force wants to retire its fleet of F/A-18 Hornet jets over the next 10 years. The HX-FP carries an estimated price tag of €11.4 billion (U.S. $12.9 billion). Life cycle service and maintenance are included in this cost.

Finland will hold fresh parliamentary elections in April, and the leaders of election campaign-focused Left Alliance, Greens and Social Democratic parties have declared a willingness to revisit the center-right government's plan to purchase 64 multirole fighters.

Similarly, the right-wing Finns Party's leadership is also open to reducing the number of aircraft Finland will buy.

Defence Minister Jussi Niinistö described the “negative” pre-election positions adopted by the leftists and the Finns Party to the HX-FP program as “irresponsible.”

“I am surprised by the positions the leftist parties are taking on the procurement. The purchase of new fighter aircraft is about whether we are interested in defending our country or not. If we reduce the number of planes, then we need to have a debate about which are the priority areas in our defense. In my opinion, this is irresponsible politics,” Niinistö said.

The common positions taken by the leftist parties and the Finns Party have assumed a more significant stature given that the Social Democratic Party — which is leading popular polls ahead of the April election — may end up leading Finland's next coalition government in partnership with either the Greens or the Left Alliance.

Finland's coalition government parties, the Center and conservative National Coalition, remain firmly supportive of a plan to procure 64 aircraft as part of the HX-FP. Other center-right parties in Parliament, including the Swedish People's Party, the Christian Democrats and Blue Reform, also back the Air Force's plan to purchase 64 jets.

“This matter is not about a specific number of planes, but finding an overall solution. The number of fighter jets that can be bought is not written in stone. That number will not be known until responses to the invitation for tenders have been properly processed. We will then have different mapped-out options to examine,” said Sanna Marin, a spokeswoman for the Social Democratic Party.

Niinistö is a staunch supporter of the HX-FP and favors the acquisition of 64 planes. He recently told a meeting of Parliament's Defence Committee that the Air Force, were it were not for budgetary spending constraints, ought to have up to 100 multirole fighters at its disposal to provide an enhanced level of air defense for Finland's borders.

The dispute over potential HX-FP numbers comes as Lt. Gen. Jarmo Lindberg, the Finnish Defence Forces' chief, plans to step down from his role when his five-year term ends in August 2019.

On the same subject

  • Air Force innovation hub launches in Alabama

    September 4, 2018 | International, Aerospace

    Air Force innovation hub launches in Alabama

    By: The Associated Press MONTGOMERY, Ala. — An Air Force innovation hub has opened in Alabama to harness research and technology for the military. “Mission Launch 2018” was meant to introduce the hub's mission to defense and regional leaders, reported. MGMWERX will be operating out of the Montgomery Chamber of Commerce building. MGMWERX is a partnership with the Air Force Research Laboratory. The facility is part of a network of WERX hubs and will take ideas generated from nearby Air University at Maxwell Air Force Base to solve technological or efficiency problems faced by the military. Lt. Gen. Anthony Cotton, Air University president, said the hub will take concepts and "incubate them" to solve difficult Air Force and Department of Defense issues. “This is a direct link to the Secretary of Defense's National Defense Strategy developing a lethal force through evolving innovative operational concepts,” Cotton said. “That critical thinking happens right up the street at Maxwell Air Force Base and will blossom right here.” MGMWERX Director Bill Martin said a team of five will integrate concepts and technology "from the public sector with the broad spectrum of Air Force proposals brought forward by some of the brightest minds in the service." Anna Buckalew, executive vice president of the Montgomery Area Chamber of Commerce said MGMWERX “will be a model for communities around the world, fueling innovation and collaboration that creates solutions for some of the most critical issues the Air Force and our nation faces today.”

  • Saab to provide semi-autonomous Double Eagle undersea system to Kuwait

    December 12, 2023 | International, Aerospace

    Saab to provide semi-autonomous Double Eagle undersea system to Kuwait

    The Double Eagle can launch from several types of craft and from the shore to carry out mine countermeasure missions.

  • The Spanish Air Force Buys PC-21 Training System Including 24 Aircraft

    January 31, 2020 | International, Aerospace

    The Spanish Air Force Buys PC-21 Training System Including 24 Aircraft

    January 31, 2020 - The Spanish Air Force, Ejército del Aire, is the third European air force to opt for the Swiss-produced PC-21, the Next Generation Trainer. Pilatus has committed to delivering a total of 24 PC-21s to Spain. The single-engine turboprop trainer aircraft will replace the Casa C-101 jet trainers used since 1980. The Ministry of Defence was looking for a new, highly efficient training platform to provide advanced training for Spain's future military pilots tasked with protecting future generations. After a long and extremely professional evaluation, Pilatus beat several prestigious competitors to win the tender with the PC-21. The contract, which is worth over 200 million euros, was signed yesterday evening with the Spanish Dirección General de Armamento y Material (DGAM). Comprising an integrated training system, the order includes simulators developed and produced by Pilatus, spare parts and logistics support in addition to the PC-21 aircraft. Oscar J. Schwenk, Chairman of Pilatus, is enthusiastic about this major order from Spain: “As a small Swiss aircraft manufacturer I'm delighted at our repeated success in winning through over large, international competitors. This result is proof that, with our PC-21, we can deliver the very best training system in the world.” Pilot training starts in 2021 The PC-21 will provide Spain with the most advanced training system currently on offer, and will also deliver a cost-effective, ecologically viable training platform. Experience with existing PC-21 customers has shown that the cost of training for a military pilot can be reduced by over 50 percent with the PC-21. These single-engine turboprop aircraft require much less fuel than any comparable jet trainer. Oscar J. Schwenk commented further: “I'm delighted to see us win a new air force to add to our existing customer portfolio. We shall provide Ejército del Aire with the first-class customer service they are entitled to expect from Pilatus. Bienvenidos a Pilatus y muchas gracias por elegir el PC-21 – viva España!” About the PC-21 success model For years, people believed that single-engine turboprops would never replace jet trainers. But with defence budgets coming under increasing pressure, air forces are looking for new ways of managing and maintaining their complex systems in mission-ready condition. Seeking to support this change, Pilatus developed performance-related services specifically tailored to the PC-21 Training System. The goal is to ensure an affordable product to match the performance criteria defined by air force customers. That is achieved by providing a highly sophisticated and integrated service package in line with current air force requirements. Prestigious air forces around the world have chosen the cost-effective, highly efficient training platform created by Pilatus. They are the proof that the PC-21 is the training system of the future. Since 2006, with the order for Spain, Pilatus has already sold 235 PC-21s to nine air forces – including Singapore, Switzerland, the United Arab Emirates, France and Australia. View source version on Pilatus:

All news