Finland to Make Up for Lost Time in HX Fighter Competition

(Source: Finnish Ministry of Defence; posted Sept. 02, 2020)

HELSINKI --- A response to a request for information, two rounds of calls for tenders, several weeks of negotiations with each tenderer, evaluation events abroad and a successful HX Challenge in Finland.

This is a summary of the data acquisition history of the HX project in recent years. Although a lot of information has been obtained, the main goal of the HX project in the coming months is clear: Missing test events abroad and the fourth week of negotiations in Finland will be conducted despite the exceptional situation, but in accordance with all restrictions and rules related to the pandemic.

The condition for sending a final invitation to tender is that there is a sufficiently detailed understanding with the tenderer of the entire offer. In addition, the goal of contract negotiations is to achieve sufficient contract readiness with each bidder so that we can move toward the procurement decision. The order of march is thus clear: Negotiations and test events should be completed before final bids are requested.

What does this mean in practice?

This means that a detailed plan is made with each HX provider for the corona arrangements for negotiations and test events, i.e. travel, secure appointments and quarantines. On the basis of these detailed plans, the remaining testing and verification activities, and the fourth round of negotiations, will be carried out by the end of 2020. Under the current schedule, the final bid can be requested during January 2021, and the procurement decision will continue to be made during 2021 under the guidance of the government program.

So, one round of negotiations is still ahead, but the HX project and the negotiations have by no means been on hold due to the corona situation. In fact, there has been a great deal of negotiation on the issues that can be discussed at a distance. I'm even a little surprised at how well we have been able to take advantage of the vacancy exercise of the negotiating week of time for other critical preparatory work and the promotion of the project.

Translation: "Test events abroad and the 4th negotiation weeks in Finland will be conducted despite the exceptional situation, but in accordance with all restrictions and rules related to the epidemic situation."

With regard to all bidders, it can be said that there is still enough to negotiate, for example, for final procurement packages, which will therefore include armaments, in addition to cost accounting and industrial cooperation.

All negotiation and testing activities aim to ensure that Finland has all the necessary information to support decision-making and that Finland receives five offers for HX systems of the highest possible quality and meeting the other conditions of the procurement for the final performance comparison.

The task of the Defense Administration is to present a procurement with the content that will produce the greatest possible performance for the defense system until the 2060s. The responsibility is great and therefore the groundwork is done very carefully and very thoroughly. It is for this reason that missing negotiations and test events are so important.

Building defense capability requires decades of design work. The delay in negotiating or testing an HX project is unfortunate, of course that annoyance must also be put in the right proportions in these anomalous circumstances. In the big picture, the delay in negotiating or testing the HX project is not significant, although of course the back end of using modern equipment is still at the turn of the decade.

I dare say that the HX project is progressing as planned. The criteria for procurement have not changed; The performance of the outgoing Hornets will be fully compensated in accordance with the requirements of the security environment.

The funding of EUR 10 billion set in the Committee of Ministers for Economic Policy in autumn 2019 can fully compensate for outgoing performance in terms of both quality and quantity. Furthermore, I can also say that all the tenderers have shown their commitment to the tender. Thanks for that once again.

Program director Lauri Puranen has been the Program Director of Strategic Projects at the Ministry of Defense since the beginning of 2016. Prior to that, Puranen chaired the Hornet Performance Replacement Preliminary Study Group. Major General (ret’d.) Puranen served as Commander of the Air Force in 2012-2014.


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