HELSINKI — Finland hopes to win is hoping to conclude the formal approval process to purchase guided multiple launch rocket system (GMLRS) M31A1 unitary missiles and GMLRS M30A1 alternative warhead missiles (in pods) from the United States during the course of the next four to seven months.
The Finnish Ministry of Defense (MoD) has set a maximum budget of US$150 million for the acquisition of 240 M31A1 and M30A1 warhead missiles from Lockheed Martin. Both missiles have a range of around 43 miles 70 kilometers (44 miles) and are intended to be primarily deployed by the Finnish Army’s artillery, armored and mobile rapid response units.
The formal purchase request by Finland covers the acquisition of 40 GLMRS pods: 15 pods of M31A1 unitary missiles (six6 missiles per pod) and 25 pods of M30A1 alternative warhead missiles comprising six 6 missiles per pod. for a total of 150 missiles.
Finland's purchase request has resulted in a determination approving a possible Foreign Military Sale to Finland from the US State Department.
The Defense Security Cooperation Agency has issued followed-up by issuing the required certification informing the US Congress of a possible sale; a formalized acquisition agreement on the purchase now awaits congressional final approval. and clearance by the U.S. Congress.
Jouko Tuloisela, an adviser at the MoD, described the acquisition process as "ongoing." The total cost, Tuloisela said, would include technical training, software development and full logistics support.
"Negotiations are underway and everything is positive," Tuloisela said.
The M31A1 and M30A1 missiles are to be used in the Finnish Army’s heavy missile launchers.
The Finnish Army recently completed a US$50 million upgrade to its 22 M270 MLRS launchers to enable them to fire precision GPS-guided munitions. The M270 MLRS launchers had been bought from the Netherlands in 2006 at a cost of about $50 million.
Finland had considered using the M270 MLRS launchers to fire cluster munitions, but dropped this proposal. Similarly, cost factors played a prominent role in the MoD's decision not to acquire Lockheed's MGM-140 Army Tactical Missile System (ATACMS).
The Finnish Army had initially examined the possibility of purchasing 70 ATACMS surface-to-surface missiles, which have a range of over 99 miles 160 kilometers. But its high cost forced MoD to abandon the procurement. (100 miles). The high costs associated with this possible procurement resulted in it being abandoned by the MoD.