Finland has made a fresh request to arm its Boeing F-18C/D Hornet fighters with Lockheed Martin's AGM-158 JASSM cruise missile, more than four years after a previous attempt was blocked by the US Congress.
News of the step came on 31 October, when the US Defense Security Cooperation Agency (DSCA) released details of a potential $255 million deal with Helsinki. This would include the delivery of 70 of the stand-off-range weapons, plus two test rounds, it said.
"Finland's acquisition of JASSM is intended to modernise its current aircraft munitions suite and counter potential threats," the DSCA said, while describing the nation as "an important force for political stability and economic progress in Europe".
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Finland's previous request to arm its F-18Cs with JASSM weapons was rejected
Developed for the US Air Force to provide a precision strike capability from a range of more than 370km (200nm), the JASSM weapon system has recently been delivered to the Royal Australian Air Force for use with its F/A-18F Super Hornet strike aircraft.
If approved, a deal with Finland would represent the first sale of the type to a member of NATO's Partnership for Peace organisation.
The Finnish air force has an active fleet of 55 single-seat F-18Cs and seven two-seat F-18D trainers, as listed by Flightglobal's MiliCAS database.