HELSINKI — The Finnish government has approved an expansion to its defense procurement budget for 2022 that takes into account preliminary costs associated with the €10 billion (U.S. $12 billion) HX Fighter Program and the acquisition of new multirole aircraft.

The proposal for new budgetary measures was presented to Finland’s national parliament, the Eduskunta, on Sept. 27. It is now included in the preliminary defense budget for 2022.

Under the government spending plan, the armed forces’ procurement expenditure budget will rise to €2.37 billion. The government has so far authorized the spending of €9.46 billion to meet HX-FP acquisition costs.

About €144 million of the proposed increase in the military’s procurement budget relates to value-added taxes connected to the purchase of multirole fighters.

Logistics Command received final quotes from five manufacturers for the HX effort in April 2021, and they are currently under evaluation. Each contractor’s submission contained information on the inclusive solution and package tailored to each multirole fighter option.

The final quotes were received on five candidate aircraft: Boeing’s F/A-18 Super Hornet, the Dassault Rafale, the Eurofighter Typhoon, Lockheed Martin’s F-35 and the Saab Gripen.

The process is likely to run to the end of the third quarter of 2021, and the Defence Ministry is expected to ask the government to buy the aircraft by the end of the year.

The ongoing evaluation examines the scale of industrial cooperation offered by each manufacturer, including maintenance system solutions. On price, the military specified an offering, including operating and maintenance costs, must be affordable according to the existing defense budget.

In the last phase of the evaluation, the military will require candidate aircraft take part in a simulated, long-term war game to determine the operational efficiency of each candidate’s proffered HX system, including entire life-cycle costs.

The HX-FP is the military’s largest-ever procurement. The choice of aircraft will influence the force’s operational and combat capability well in to the 2060s.

Future defense procurement activities are expected to involve partners for cross-border weapons acquisition. In September, Finland reached an agreement with Sweden covering the procurement of soldiers’ weapons systems and linked technologies. The agreement sets down guidelines to manage joint procurement projects.

Gerard O'Dwyer is the Scandinavian affairs correspondent for Defense News.

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