Finland's request to purchase Lockheed Martin Joint Air-to-Surface Standoff Missiles (JASSM) to arm its Boeing F-18s has been turned down by the US government. The US Air Force, which manages the JASSM programme, confirms the preliminary request has been denied.

Local reports say the cruise missile was part of the second phase of the Finnish air force's F-18C/D mid-life update, called MLU2. This includes US anti-radar missiles and the Link 16 datalink, which were approved, the reports say. Alternatives to the JASSM include Boeing's SLAM-ER and the German-Swedish Taurus Systems KEPD 350 cruise missile.

The only JASSM export approved so far is to Australia, for its F-18A/B Hornets. Canberra is expected to announce its intention to buy 24 two-seat F-18E/F Super Hornets before next month's Australian International air show. US Congress was notified of the proposed $3.1 billion sale last week, but no weapons were specified.

The US Navy has no plans to arm its F/A-18s with JASSM, and Australia is paying to integrate the weapon on its upgraded Hornets. It is unclear whether the country is interested in arming the Super Hornets - which would replace its General Dynamics F-111s - with the missile. This would require an additional integration effort.

Source: Flight International