Aerial Warfare

Finnish Defence Forces Acquires F-35 Fighter Avionics and Maintenance Services from Insta


Finnish Defence Forces Acquires F-35 Fighter Avionics and Maintenance Services from Insta

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Finnish Defence Forces Acquires F-35 Fighter Avionics and Maintenance Services from Insta
Finnish Defence Forces Acquires F-35 Fighter Avionics and Maintenance Services from Insta

Insta and the Finnish Defence Forces have agreed on the three-year acquisition package related to Finland’s F-35 fighter program. The acquisition is based on the strategic partnership agreement between the Finnish Defense Forces and Insta and covers the years 2024–26. The acquisition covers, among other things, building maintenance and service capabilities for the avionics of the Finnish Air Force’s Lockheed Martin F-35 Lightning II multi-role fighters, i.e. the plane’s electronic systems, as well as related support services. The F-35 fighters will be put into service from 2026 onwards. This agreement ensures in part that Finland has the necessary competences and the ability to maintain the F-35 systems and security of supply for decades to come. The systems in the F-35 fighter jet require special expertise and a broad understanding of technology. Long-term cooperation, a strategic partnership with the Finnish Defence Forces, and earlier fighter purchases have resulted in Insta accumulating strong technology and business area expertise that can support the security of supply of the Finnish Defence Forces’ critical systems, even during emergencies.

“We have the opportunity to provide maintenance and repair services for avionics systems on F-35 fighters even outside of Finland. The potential market is extensive since several NATO countries have chosen F-35 fighters. Insta’s solutions are state of the art in terms of the level of integration and the capability in terms of different systems and service branches. NATO is strongly emphasizing multi-domain thinking, where such integration is a key factor; this makes our solutions interesting to others”, says Petri Reiman, Senior Vice President for Insta Advance.

“So far, Insta has been responsible for the maintenance of the avionics systems on the Hornet fighter jets. Building capability for maintaining the F-35’s avionics systems allow for us to establish a strong continuum of competence regarding critical systems and technology and, with the introduction of new technology, also provides new types of opportunities for further developing competence. The advancement of technology and equipment at record pace will also emphasize the significance of preventive maintenance and repair, not to mention cyber security. In addition to maintaining the aircraft’s avionics systems, Insta will also be responsible for integrating the new fighter’s systems with the Finnish command & control systems together with the Finnish Defence Forces,” says Ville Kettula, Insta’s VP for the aviation business.

With Finland’s accession into NATO, defence systems are being increasingly cross border connected, the amount of data is growing, and the technology is advancing at a record pace. Being able to leverage this data for leadership and the forming of a situational picture will be decisive in terms of warfare. The F-35 stealth fighters, which Finland will start receiving in 2026, are known as the world’s most modern and versatile fighter jets. They are also flying data links that continuously gather a situational awarenesse of their environment and compare it to threats. The planes share data among themselves and with the ground forces, thereby enabling them to be used for surveillance and reconnaissance duties as well. The advanced sensor technology allows for detecting our own aircrafts, vehicles, ships, and troops as well as those of the enemy and unknown units. The stealth capabilities of this fifth-generation fighter enable it to see further than the distance required for its detection. The gathered information is simultaneously relayed to all systems that have joined the data link. In addition to maintenance activities, Insta has engaged in continuous research and product development work in order to improve the operational reliability, flight safety, and performance of the fighters.

Finland will receive a total of 64 F-35 fighters. The aircraft have an estimated service life of 30 years, which means that there will be work to be done well into the future. As a provider of maintenance for the F-35 fighter fleet’s avionics, Insta is part of Lockheed Martin’s global maintenance network and a contracting partner to the aircraft manufacturer. In addition to avionics, Insta’s Defence business focuses on command & control systems, simulators, cyber security, and system integrations for connected defence. Insta’s AirC2 product family, for example, contains solutions for the integrated command of air defence in terms of both anti-aircraft and fighter defence. In March of this year, Insta signed a collaboration agreement with the NATO Communications and Information Agency (NCIA). The agreement enables Insta to offer the NCI Agency, for NATO’s own needs or for use in other NATO countries, commercial off-the-shelf products (COTS) and services, such as situational picture systems, command & control systems and cyber security services, data encryption and gateway solutions as well as software services. Already in 2023, Insta and Lockheed Martin signed a collaboration agreement on the development of the next-generation data relay and filtering solution. The signed agreement was the first project related to the indirect industrial cooperation of Finland’s F-35 fighter porgram.

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