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Friday, November 03, 2006

Finnish Air Force F-18s Could Have Airstrike Capability in 2012

Finnish News Agency
Nov 3, 2006 - 3:49:25 AM

Finland might buy air-to-surface missiles (ASMs) for its McDonnell Douglas F-18 'Hornet' aircraft from the United States.

Finland and the US are in talks about a possible arms deal, including guided bombs and long-range missiles, something that would happen in 2012 at the earliest.

The US Congress, which would have to approve the sale, has been notified of Finland's inquiry.

Originally designed as a dual-role naval "strike fighter", Finland's 63 Hornets are currently prefixed "F", not the standard "F/A", to emphasise that they are to be used for interception only.

The Finnish Air Force has not possessed significant airstrike ordnance since the end of the second world war.

Major General Heikki Lyytinen, the commander of the Finnish Air Force, told the Finnish News Agency (STT) on Tuesday that the weapons upgrade supplier might also be European.

"We have not made any decisions regarding the actual procurement," Gen Lyytinen said. "One should know by the end of April what weapons to integrate with the Hornets."

The weapons contract would be worth hundreds of millions of euros, Gen Lyytinen said.
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