The Finnish Ministry of Defence (MoD) announced on 31 January that it had received responses from five manufacturers as part of its Boeing F/A-18C/D Hornet replacement programme, known as H-X.
Invitations for responses were sent in April 2018 to the French, Swedish, UK, and US governments for the Dassault Rafale, Saab Gripen, Eurofighter Typhoon, and Lockheed Martin F-35 Lightning II Joint Strike Fighter and Boeing F/A-18 Super Hornet respectively.
The response for quotation (RFQ) package contained 2,500 questions and seven scenarios that each bidder had to respond to, with the Finnish Defence Logistics Command now working on evaluating the responses. A more specific RFQ is expected to be released in the second half of 2019, and best-and-final offers are expected to be requested in 2020 before a final selection in 2021.
The programme envisages the acquisition of 64 aircraft, with the information packages soliciting information on aircraft, training systems, maintenance tools, testing equipment, weapons, sensors, and other support equipment. The programme has an acquisition cost of between EUR7 billion (USD8.03 billion) and EUR10 billion but it is expected that sustainment and through-life support costs will be under close scrutiny during the evaluation phase.
BAE Systems, which is leading the campaign for the Eurofighter Typhoon in the country, has outlined a number of industrial participation proposals as part of its bid. These include potentially some final assembly and check-out (FACO) work, with the established FACO facility to then serve as a base for support, maintenance, and potential upgrade work over the lifetime of the aircraft, Paul Hitchcock, managing director - Finland for BAE Systems, told Jane's .
Hitchcock added that in answering the request from Finland, the company worked with the Royal Air Force (RAF) to establish areas of strength.
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