Finland Approves Construction of Patria’s F-35 Block 4 Assembly Facility

World Defense

Finland Approves Construction of Patria’s F-35 Block 4 Assembly Facility

Defense News ,Finland :-  Patria, in collaboration with the Finnish Ministry of Defence, is set to construct an assembly facility in Finland for the production of F-35 Block 4 fighter jets. The Ministerial Finance Committee's recent approval of the Defence Ministry's land and facilities lease proposal marks a significant milestone in the $9.6 billion jet procurement contract between Finland and Lockheed Martin, covering the delivery of 64 F-35s to the Finnish Air Force.

The assembly plant, a crucial component of the contract's initial stage, will be located near the town of Nokia, with construction of the engine assembly building scheduled to begin in the latter half of 2024. The lease agreement for the site was signed in January between the Finnish Defence Forces and Defence Properties Finland.

Defence Minister Antti Häkkänen emphasized the industrial cooperation's contribution to Finland's defense industry, stating, "The F-35 agreement will generate critical maintenance and repair expertise, including reliability of maintenance, fostering significant know-how in Finland for F-35 engine assembly and testing."

The assembly plant will collaborate closely with Patria's aviation division's regional aircraft hub in Tampere, with an estimated 100 personnel engaging in various assembly roles at the facility. Patria, in which the government holds a 50.1% stake, will work alongside the Norwegian company Kongsberg, which controls the remaining share. Additionally, Patria owns half of the Norwegian defense contractor Nammo.

The F-35s are slated to replace the aging McDonnell Douglas F/A-18 Hornet jets of the Finnish Air Force, scheduled for retirement by 2030. The first batch of F-35s is expected to be delivered and deployed to Arctic air bases in Finland's Lapland region by 2026.

The industrial cooperation component is anticipated to expand gradually by 2030, potentially encompassing the production or assembly of specific aircraft parts and systems in Finland. The Finnish Air Force has already conducted tests to assess the F-35's suitability for operating in extreme Arctic weather conditions, with recent exercises including maneuvers on "closed highway" stretches in the Arctic and sub-Arctic regions.

Ongoing exercises, such as the weeklong Hanki drills in the northern part of the country, aim to further evaluate the F-35's adaptability to Finland's challenging winter conditions, characterized by limited daylight.

Leave a Comment:
No comments available for this post.