Finland and USA agree on multi-million euro air-to-surface missile deal
Finland will receive its first cruise missiles in four years’ time
Finland’s Ministry of Defence announced on Thursday that Finland and the United States have reached an agreement on a missile deal worth EUR 145 million.
The Cabinet Finance Committee endorsed the deal on Wednesday, after which Minister of Defence Stefan Wallin (Swedish People’s Party) approved the acquisition on Thursday.
In the Wednesday committee session, Minister of Transport Merja Kyllönen (Left Alliance) was against the purchase and voiced a minority opinion for the minutes of the meeting.
The negotiations with the United States over the deal lasted for a year. However, Finland has sought to purchase missiles from the United States since 2002.
The first lot of the ordered AGM-158 JASSM (joint air-to-surface standoff) missiles will arrive in Finland either in later 2015 or early 2016.
The missiles manufactured by the American Lockheed-Martin company will be acquired as part of the upgrade package of the Finnish Air Force's F-18 Hornet fighter jets, the total price of which will exceed EUR 700 million.
In November, the United States Congress approved the selling of no more than 70 missiles to Finland for around EUR 185 million. Ultimately Finland purchased fewer missiles than that, but the exact number is being kept under wraps.
“The number is always relative”, says negotiating official Jari Takanen from the Ministry of Defence.
“In a crisis situation more missiles could still be acquired.”
The tax-free price of the ordered system is in the region of EUR 145 million. The system itself accounts for a major portion of the purchase price.
An individual missile comes with a price tag of just under EUR 1.3 million.
Before the missiles arrive in Finland, the Air Force will send a few Hornet jets for software testing in the United States.
The Defence Forces' Deputy Chief of Staff Operations, Lieutenant General Mika Peltonen justifies the JASSM purchase with improved preventive capability.
“Reach is a new element for us, with which we can build our precautionary capability. This way the emergence of crisis situations can be averted markedly more efficiently than before”, Peltonen says.
“In the Winter War, fighting was limited to the reach of the artillery. Now we will have a weapon that will reach a bit further. I will not comment on the operative reasons.”
The JASSM is a cruise missile that the military calls an attack missile or air-to-surface missile. Its reach is in excess of 350 kilometres.
Once a JASSM missile separates from a wing rack of a fighter jet its folding wings open up and the jet engine starts.
The roughly 1,000 kilogram and 4.3-metre missile will seek its target independently with the help of its inertial navigation and satellite positioning systems.
Previously in HS International Edition:
Defence Forces look to tactical missiles (27.10.2011)
US refuses to sell air-to-ground missiles for Finland´s Hornet jets (5.2.2007)
Military spending cuts: Defence Forces to save nearly EUR 20 million by relinquishing real estate holdings (10.2.2012)
Significant cutbacks planned for Defence Forces (8.2.2012)
Finnish Army facing considerable cutbacks (1.3.2012)
Finnish Defence Forces
AGM-158 JASSM (Wikipedia)