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Finnish Navy requests final tenders for new 400m corvettes

Suppliers in Sweden, Canada and Germany are vying for a deal that would include four new state-of-the-art vessels and their weapons and control systems.

Puolustusministeriön havainnekuvassa Laivue 2020 -hankkeen alukset lähestyvät Kustaanmiekkaa.
A conceptual drawing of the Squadron 2020 boats near Helsinki. Image: Puolustusministeriö

The logistics command of the Finnish Defence Forces has received permission from the Defence Ministry to request the final tenders for new state-of-the-art military boats for the Finnish Navy. The 400-million-euro Squadron 2020 combat system will include four new ice-breaking missile corvettes, along with various weapons, sensors, and integrated command and control systems.

The final tender requests are the result of process that began last summer, when three suppliers were chosen from a field of eight to participate in the final bidding: Sweden's Saab, Germany's Atlas Electronik, and Canada's Lockheed Martin Canada.

The weapons systems on the boats will include surface-to-surface missile systems, torpedoes, guns and sea mines. The Ministry of Defence announced in July that it had decided to purchase the Israeli Gabriel missile system after a round of competitive bidding. The torpedoes were ordered from Saab, in Sweden.

The boats will eventually be fitted out with surface-to-air missile systems, which will be ordered later.

Plans to build the vessels in Rauma

The four new vessels are part of a wider naval modernization push in Finland, and will replace the Finnish Navy's Rauma-class fast-attack missile boats and Hämeenmaa-class minelayers, which will reach the end of their life-cycle in the mid-2020s. Guns and other equipment on the boats to be retired will be moved to the new vessels in the transition.

The Finnish Defence Forces hope to have the new corvettes built in Finnish shipyards in the western municipality of Rauma, but the shipbuilding contract has still not been finalized. The project is behind schedule, as the contract was supposed to have been signed already last spring.

"The objective is to sign the shipbuilding contracts and the combat system contracts by the end of the year," said Major General Lauri Puranen, a former commander of the Finnish Air Force who is associated with the project.

According to the plan, the last ship should be handed over to the Finnish Defence Forces by 2025. The value of the entire naval modernization project is estimated at 1.2 billion euros.

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