The US Defense Security Cooperation Agency (DSCA) has notified Congress of State Department approval for the possible sale of arms packages centred either on the F-35 LIGHTNING II or the F/A-18E/F SUPER HORNET and EA-18 GROWLER aircraft, the agency announced on 9 October.

For the potential F-35 Foreign Military Sale (FMS), the government of Finland has requested 64 aircraft; 66 Pratt & Whitney F-135 engines; 500 GBU-35/B Small Diameter Bombs II plus associated test vehicles; 150 AIM-9X Block II+ SIDEWINDER missiles plus training devices; 100 AGM-154C-1 Joint Stand-Off Weapons (JSOW); 200 AGM-158B-2 Joint Air-to-Surface Standoff Missile-Extended Range missiles plus associated test and training devices; 120 KMU-556 JDAM Guidance Kits for GBU-31 and 150 KMU-572 for GBU-38/54 plus associated test and training devices; 120 BLU-117, 32 BLU-109 and 150 BLU-111 general-purpose bombs.

Also included are EW and C4I systems, support and logistics devices and services unique to the aircraft plus training devices and a wide array of government and contractor logistics support. The total estimated cost of the package in $12.5 billion (€10.6 billion) and the principal contractors will be Lockheed Martin Aeronautics, Pratt & Whitnety Military Engines, Boeing and Raytheon Missiles & Defense.

The F/A-18 offer is slightly different and is valued at $14.7 billion (€12.4 billion). The Finnish government has requested a total of 72 aircraft (58 F/A-18E, eight F/A-18F and 14 EA-18G); 166 F414-GE-400 engines; and a broadly similar quantity of weapons systems, adjusted as appropriate for the aircraft. Training and logistics support requests are also broadly similar as appropriate for the specific aircraft types. Principal contractors will be Boeing, Northrop Grumman, Raytheon and Raytheon Missile Systems, General Electric and Lockheed Martin.

An EA-18G GROWLER in service with the Royal Australian Air Force. (Photo: RAAF)

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