Finland’s requirement is for 64 aircraft and when the Request For Information (RFI) came out in 2016 it was one of the most comprehensive RFIs. This year the competition ramped up a notch. In April Finland issued a formal Request For Quotation (RFQ) and expect responses in January 2019. Further rounds of discussions and refinement are likely to follow before a decision is made in about 2020 and a contract placed in 2021. The outline requirement is for a multi-role fighter. Something that can both protect their sovereign airspace and has a ground attack capability. It also has to provide a deterrent effect and possess impressive electronic warfare and Intelligence, Surveillance and Reconnaissance capabilities. Eurofighter, championed in this campaign by the UK government and BAE Systems, is competing against Lockheed Martin and the F-35, Boeing with the Super Hornet, Saab with the Gripen and Dassault with the Rafale.
There are a number of key aspects under consideration, including operational evaluation of the aircraft, the industrial partnership on offer, price, security of supply and the broader national defence and security considerations. And when considering all those major elements, that the Eurofighter bid stacks up well. One key requirement is that Finland wants an aircraft that’s going to be in service until around 2060 and Paul believes recent announcements around the Eurofighter show that they are more than capable of meeting that demand.
Designed from the outset for high reliability, low maintenance and the ease of upgrade, Eurofighter Typhoon is now delivering unparalleled levels of operational availability in service with customer air forces. It is in operational service with six nations – Germany, Italy, Spain, the United Kingdom, Austria and the Kingdom of Saudi Arabia – and on order from the Kingdom of Oman and the State of Kuwait. It provides an unmatched combination of air vehicle performance, beyond visual range air-to-air weapons and sensor capability, securing its position as the primary air superiority fighter for its customer air forces. And with almost 500 aircraft in service across Europe alone, Eurofighter Typhoon will remain the backbone of Europe’s combat air capability for decades to come.