Finland chooses Lockheed Martin F-35A in huge deal


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COPENHAGEN, Denmark (AP) – Finland has agreed to buy 64 Lockheed Martin fighter jets to replace its aging fleet of fighter jets as part of a € 10 billion (US $ 11.3 billion) deal that the represents the largest purchase by the Finnish military ever, the government announced on Friday.

Finland selected the American company’s F-35A fighters from five competitors, including the Boeing F-18 Super Hornet, the Dassault Rafale from France, the British Eurofighter Typhoon and the Saab Gripen from Sweden.

The Finnish Air Force has a fleet of more than 60 F-18 Hornets that were acquired by McDonnell Douglas in the early 1990s. The search for a successor aircraft began in 2014.

The Department of Defense said Friday that the price of the Lockheed Martin deal includes training and other equipment.

Finland, a member of the European Union, is a militarily non-aligned country, but, like neighboring Sweden, works closely with NATO.

Switzerland, another militarily non-aligned European country, and NATO members Denmark and Norway had previously decided to buy the Lockheed Martin F-35.

Finland, which shares a 1,340-kilometer border with Russia, has in recent years increased its bilateral defense and military cooperation with both Sweden and the US.

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