C4iSR: Air

Finland announces HX Challenge event for bidders

10 September 2019

A flight testing campaign for the HX contenders to replace Finland's F/A-18C/D fleet, known as the HX Challenge, will take place in early 2020. Source: Finnish Air Force

Finland has revealed that bidders for its Boeing F/A-18 Hornet fighter replacement, in a programme known as HX, will take part in a test and evaluation event early in 2020 called the "HX Challenge".

Writing in his blog for the Finnish Ministry of Defence on 9 September, Programme Director Lauri Puranen said that the event would take place between January and February 2020 at the Satakunta Airport in Pirkkala, near the city of Tampere.

The purpose of the event would be to further evaluate the bidders' platforms and validate performance claims made during the bidding and negotiation periods.

Negotiations with the bidders have been ongoing since January this year, according to Puranen, and are expected to be completed in September following three rounds of discussions with each bidder. A more defined request for quotations is expected in October, with clarifications and modifications to the original requirements to be applied equally to all candidates.

Launched in 2014, the HX programme involves the overhaul of Finland's air combat capability with new aircraft, weapons, and sensors to completely replace its current fleet of Boeing F/A-18C/D Hornets.

Bidders for the programme include the Lockheed Martin F-35A Lightning II Joint Strike Fighter, Eurofighter Typhoon, Dassault Rafale, Boeing F/A-18E/F Super Hornet and E/A-18G Growler, and Saab Gripen E.

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