Boeing and the US Navy have received approval from the US Department of Defense to offer the EA-18G Growler electronic attack jet to Finland.
The approval came after Finland’s defence ministry issued a query about the potential to acquire Growlers as part of its HX fighter procurement programme that is aimed at replacing its 62 Boeing F/A-18C/Ds.
“All strike fighter aircraft rely on Growler escort to increase survivability during high-threat missions,” says Dan Gillian, Boeing vice-president, F/A-18 and EA-18G programmes.
“The combination of the Super Hornet Block III and Growler would provide Finland with superior technological capability particularly suited to Finland’s HX mission requirements.”
Finland is now the second nation approved to be offered the Growler after Australia, which has taken delivery of 12 of the tactical jamming jets. One of those was lost during an engine fire accident at Nellis AFB in January 2018 while it was taking part in the annual Red Flag exercise.
Helsinki has shortlisted the Super Hornet to meet the HX requirement, alongside the Dassault Rafale, Lockheed Martin F-35, Saab Gripen E/F and Eurofighter Typhoon.
All five manufacturers submitted bids in response to an invitation to tender that closed on 31 January, kicking off an analysis and initial negotiation phase.
A more detailed request for quotations will be called during the second half of 2019, followed by second-round negotiations ahead of a decision scheduled for 2021. Deliveries of the aircraft are expected to start in 2025.