Finland has requested the purchase from the USA of cruise missiles and communications equipment to support the third phase of an extensive upgrade to its Boeing F-18C/D fighters.

Key elements of the proposed modernisation package include 79 Multifunctional Information Distribution System datalinks, 70 Joint Helmet Mounted Cueing Systems, colour cockpit displays and 15 Raytheon AGM-154C JSOW cruise missiles. The GPS-guided weapon has a range of around 130km (70nm), according to its US manufacturer.

Worth a potential $406 million, the new deal was outlined by the US Defense Security Cooperation Agency in a notice issued on 9 September. "The Finnish air force needs this upgrade to keep pace with high-tech advances in sensors, weaponry and communications," it says.

Finland's earlier upgrades to the F-18 have added weapons including Raytheon's AIM-9X Sidewinder short-range air-to-air missile and Boeing's JDAM bomb guidance kit. It also late last year signed a $23.4 million deal with Northrop Grumman for 10 Litening AT targeting pods.

 F-18C Finland
© Dragon Lady/AirSpace

Helsinki's air force inventory includes 55 single-seat F-18Cs (one pictured above) and seven D-model trainers, according to Flight's MiliCAS database.

Source: Flight International