Propulsion supplier Pratt & Whitney has reached a partnership deal with Finnish defence firm Patria to support Finland’s planned acquisition of Lockheed Martin F-35 fighters.

The majority state-owned manufacturer will assemble F135 engines, under licence from P&W, to support Finland’s F-35 programme, which covers 64 examples of the conventional take-off and landing A-model variant.

Patria revealed the deal on 12 June, saying it had signed a memorandum of agreement with the US engine maker.

“This unique agreement between Patria and Pratt & Whitney on establishing capabilities for the F135 engines is another important milestone for Finland’s F-35 programme and Patria,” says Petri Hepola, the company’s chief F-35 programme officer.

Finland FA18 with US F35 c Finnish air force

Source: Finnish air force

Finland plans to replace its 55 Boeing F/A-18C/D Hornet fighters with 64 Lockheed Martin F-35As

The agreement covers the assembly of F135 engines and components between 2025 and 2030, Patria says. Finland will build new production lines near the city of Nokia to cover assembly and maintenance.

Following the completion of F135 production for the Finnish jets, the Patria facilities will switch to maintenance, repair, overhaul and upgrade operations, beginning in 2030.

F-135 engine

Source: US Air Force

Pratt & Whitney produces two versions of the F135 engine: one for the conventional and carrier launched F-35 fighter variants and a second for the short take-off and vertical landing B model

“We look forward to seeing Patria-assembled F135 engines powering sovereign Finnish F-35 fighter jets in the near future,” says Chris Johnson, P&W’s vice-president of the F135 programme.

Development of a propulsion supply base within Finland will expand the F135 engine sustainment network and increase the resilience of NATO’s industrial base, he adds.

“The ultimate focus is a transition to a national depot capability in support of Finnish air force operational requirements for decades to come,” Johnson notes.

Photos released by Patria show early construction work already under way at the Nokia site.

The Finnish company has separate partnership agreements with F-35 prime contractor Lockheed covering a range of other manufacturing work, including 400 sets of landing gear doors and 400 forward fuselage sections for the advanced stealth fighter.

Selected through Helsinki’s HX fighter programme, Finland is set to receive its first F-35s in 2025, which will be used to train Finnish personnel in the USA. F-35s will begin arriving in Finland in 2026, where they will eventually replace the Finnish air force’s current fleet of 55 Boeing F/A-18C/D Hornets.

Helsinki plants to operate both fighter types simultaneously until 2030, when the Finnish F-35 fleet reaches full operational capability and the Hornets are retired from service.