The Government is due to decide next week on military purchase worth hundreds of millions of euros.
Finland plans to buy new Nato-compliant anti-aircraft missiles to replace Russian-made missiles that will be taken out of service. The government will also decide on whether or not to update its air surveillance radar system.
Finland will soon decide on a major arms acquisition – the largest since its purchase of Hornet strike fighter jets last year. Government plans to replace its arsenal of Russian-made BUK anti-aircraft missiles, purchased in 1996, with a new missile system currently in use in other Nato countries. There are two other alternatives: Norwegian-American NASAMS missiles or the French-Italian SAMP/T system.
YLE sources say that a decision on the deal is due next week. The new missile defence system would become active after 2015, and its cost is said to be more than 400 million euros. Expert sources estimate that compatibility with Nato systems is a key factor, but not the only reason for giving up the Russian missiles.
“We are talking about a major deal and many factors need to be taken into consideration,” said Olli Nepponen, Deputy Chair of the Parliamentary Defence Committee. “This deal might also prove to be beneficial to other domestic procurement projects,” he added.
Government is also expected to decide on revamping the radar system for air surveillance. Information obtained by YLE indicates that the total price tag of the arms deal could be up to 700 million euros. Against the backdrop of the economic decline, such a significant undertaking could bring benefits for industry in terms of reciprocal trade.