WASHINGTON – The U.S. State Department has cleared a pair of first-time missile sales for Finland’s navy that could top $730 million in total.
The announcement comes as Finland, concerned with actions from neighboring Russia, is looking to increase its defense spending. While not a NATO member, Finland has made moves to increase ties with its European allies following Russia’s 2014 invasion of Crimea – moves that have led Russia to pre-emptively threaten its neighbor if it takes more concrete steps to join the military alliance.
The packages were announced Monday by the Defense Security Cooperation Agency. Announced weapon sales are not final; members of the Senate can now object if they wish, and then negotiations will begin between Finland and the U.S. on final prices and amounts of equipment.
The first package covers 68 Evolved Seasparrow Missiles (ESSM) and one ESSM inert operational missile, along with associated parts and technical expertise, with an estimated cost of $112.7 million. These weapons are for use on Finland’s new Squadron 2020 class Corvette ships.
The second package, which comes with an estimated price tag of $622 million, covers a mix of surface launched Harpoon weapons, which will go on Finland’s Hamina class ships, Multirole Corvette ships, and Coastal Batteries.
Included in this package are 100 RGM-84Q-4 Harpoon Block II Plus Extended Range (ER) Grade B Surface-Launched Missiles, 12 RGM-84L-4 Harpoon Block II Grade B Surface-Launched Missiles, 12 RGM-84Q-4 Harpoon Block II+ ER Grade B Surface-Launched Upgrade Kits, four RTM-84L-4 Harpoon Block II Grade B Exercise Surface-Launched Missiles, and four RTM-84Q-4 Harpoon Block II+ ER Grade B Exercise Surface-Launched Missiles.
It is the first time Finland has purchased either weapon, according to the DSCA notification. The notification states that the weapons will be used to provide enhanced capabilities in effective defense of critical sea lanes, a growing concern for NATO members.
Work on the ESSM package will be done at Raytheon Missile Systems in Tucson, Arizona, for the missiles, and BAE Systems in Aberdeen, South Dakota, for the missile canisters. On the Harpoon package, work will be done by Boeing’s St. Louis factory. In both cases, DSCA expects there will be commercial offsets required.
Aaron Mehta was deputy editor and senior Pentagon correspondent for Defense News, covering policy, strategy and acquisition at the highest levels of the Defense Department and its international partners.