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US State Dept OKs possible missile sale to Finland in deal valued at 580m euros

If the purchase goes through — and a Finnish expert says the deal is not definite — the sale value would amount to some 580 million euros, according to the US State Department.

ESSM-ohjus laukaistaan yhdysvaltalaiselta lentotukialukselta.
An ESSM missile launched from aircraft carrier USS Carl Vinson. Image: Yhdysvaltain laivasto

The US State Department has approved the possible sale of some 200 surface-to-air missiles to Finland, according to a release the agency issued on Monday.

The US's Defence Security Cooperation Agency (DSCA) oversees foreign arms trades and notified Congress about two possible arms sales on Monday.

The DSCA said Finland is interested in buying some two hundred surface-to-air missiles to be used on naval vessels. The DSCA said Finland is also interested in purchasing Boeing-produced Harpoon anti-ballistic missiles and other missile systems.

Deal not final

The DSCA noted, however, that the announcement of the possible sale does not imply the sale has been concluded. According to US law, the State Department is required to inform Congress of any potential foreign arms deals. The legislature can then, if it deems necessary, block the deal within 30 days of the announcement.

Finnish researcher and expert in US foreign and domestic policy, Charly Salonius-Pasternak said it is impossible to say where Finland will source its next missile purchase.

"The same types of missiles can be sourced from many different countries," Salonius-Pasternak said. "This is to determine whether the missiles could be purchased from the United States."

On Tuesday Salonius-Pasternak tweeted: "US gave permission to sell anti-air (ESSM) and ship (Harpoon) missiles to Finland, for use by @Navyfi (the Finnish Navy). There are other excellent possibilities, choices to be made soon. Whatever choice, (I) am sure it'll be best overall fit into (the Finnish Defence Forces') long-term capability dev plans."

US State Dept: Sale would boost security

In its release, the DSCA stated that Finland plans to use the missiles on its "Hamina-class ships, multirole Corvette ships and coastal batteries."

The DSCA said: " The proposed sale of the missiles and support will increase the Finnish Navy's maritime partnership potential and increase regional security capability. Finland has not purchased Harpoon Block II+ ER previously, but will have no difficulty incorporating this capability into its armed forces."

"The missiles will provide enhanced capabilities in effective defense of critical sea lanes. The proposed sale of the missiles and support will increase the Finnish Navy's maritime partnership potential and increase regional security capability," the DSCA statement reads.

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