HX Fighter Replacement Programme Gears Up
Boeing will be showcasing the EA-18G GROWLER electronic attack aircraft at the 100th anniversary air show of the Finnish Air Force at Tikkakoski Airport in Jyväskylä later this month. The two aircraft from VAQ-129 at NAS Whidbey Island, WA, will mark the type’s first appearance in Finnish airspace.
Boeing is offering the F/A-18E/F SUPER HORNET for Finland’s HX fighter programme, which aims to replace the current fleet of 62 F/A-18C/D HORNETs, due to retire by 2030, with a manned aircraft. The acquisition programme recently took a major step forward with the issue in April of a request for tender, for which responses are due early in 2019. The request was issued to Boeing (for the SUPER HORNET), Dassault (RAFALE), Eurofighter (TYPHOON), Lockheed Martin (F-35) and Saab (GRIPEN). The number of aircraft required has not been confirmed but is unlikely to fall below 48, according to close observers of regional security issues and could well rise to 60.
A selection decision is due to be taken by 2021, according to the Finnish Ministry of Defence.