US firm Sierra Nevada (SNC) has been awarded a $170 million contract to deliver two Rapcon-X surveillance aircraft to the Finnish Border Guard.

To be acquired under Finland’s MVX requirement, the Rapcon-X aircraft will replace the border service’s legacy Dornier 228s. Deliveries are expected in 2026 and 2027 with the pair to bear the registrations OH-MVX and OH-MVY.

SNC MVX-c-Finnish Border Guard

Source: Finnish Border Guard

Modified business jets will gain surveillance capability

Based on the Bombardier Challenger 650 business jet, SNC’s Rapcon-X modification integrates a suite of sensors and other equipment to meet the MVX criteria.

Through MVX, which has been running since 2019, Finland is seeking a platform that offers “a significant improvement in operating time and thus, coverage of wider areas” alongside better sensors, next-generation technology and increased transport capacity, the border service states.

“The Finnish Border Guard is about to have a capability whose performance and wide range of sensors is state of the art, even in international comparison,” says MVX Program Manager, Lieutenant Colonel Kenneth Rosenqvist.

“It is a world-class multirole aircraft that is capable of operating in the Finnish Border Guard’s demanding operating environment.”

The Finnish Border Guard’s current fleet monitors borders and territorial waters, supports rescue efforts in maritime emergencies, identifies environmental emergencies at sea and supports clean-up efforts. In addition, it provides patient transport capability for the country’s health ministry.

SNC initially faced competition from Field Aerospace, L3Harris Technologies, and ST Airborne Systems, with the other candidate aircraft the Cessna Citation Longitude and Dassault Aviation Falcon 2000LXS, says the Finnish Border Guard. However, just one other company was invited to submit a final bid by last year’s deadline.

In its baseline configuration, the Challenger 650 can fly up to 4,000nm (7,400km) with a crew of 12 and boasts a claimed 11h endurance.