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Finland’s government has greenlighted the construction of a facility for assembling F-35 Block 4 fighter jets following the Ministerial Finance Committee’s approval of the Defense Ministry’s proposal for land and facilities lease.

This development is a direct outcome of the $9.6 billion agreement with Lockheed Martin, made in February 2022, for supplying the Finnish Air Force with 64 F-35 aircraft. The assembly site, integral to the contract’s initial industrial phase, will be located near Nokia, with the lease signed in January by the Finnish Defense Forces and Defense Properties Finland.

Scheduled to begin construction in the latter half of 2024, the assembly building’s operations will extend through the F-35 fleet’s lifespan, underlining the long-term commitment between Finland and Lockheed Martin. Defense Minister Antti Häkkänen highlighted the significance of this industrial cooperation, stating, “Industrial cooperation tied to the F-35 agreement will generate critical maintenance and repair expertise for Finland’s indigenous defense industry… The agreement will also create significant know-how in Finland for F-35 engine assembly and testing.” The plant will work in tandem with Patria’s aviation division in Tampere, employing around 100 staff for various assembly tasks.

This move not only enhances Finland’s defense capabilities by replacing the outdated McDonnell Douglas F/A-18 Hornet jets by 2030 but also fortifies its defense industry’s infrastructure and skill set. The initial F-35 deliveries are expected by 2026, with plans to station them in Lapland’s Arctic bases.


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