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US approves sale of missile launching systems for Finland’s new corvettes

The U.S. Department of State approved the sale of four missile launching systems for Finland’s new Squadron 2020 corvettes at an estimated cost of $70 million, the Defense Security Cooperation Agency said in a press release.

“The Government of Finland has requested a possible sale of four (4) Mk 41 Baseline VII Strike-Length Vertical Launching Systems,” the Tuesday, February 20 release said.

Also included are spares, handling and test equipment, test equipment, U.S. government and contractor engineering, training, technical, and logistical support services.

On February 5, the U.S. State Department approved the sale to Finland of 68 Evolved SeaSparrow Missiles (ESSM) which are used for air defense and can be launched from the Mk 41 systems. The launcher can fire a range of other missiles including other surface-to-air and ground attack missiles, Tomahawk cruise missiles, and the RIM-161 Standard Missile 3 anti-ballistic missile.

“The vertical launching systems will enable Finland to acquire missiles that will significantly enhance the Finnish Navy’s area defense capabilities over critical air-and-sea-lines of trade and communication,” DSCA said, stressing maritime partnership, interoperability, and regional security.

The principal contractor will be Lockheed Martin.

DSCA said that implementation of the sale will require up to 12 U.S. government and up to five contractor personnel to travel to Finland to provide support over ten years.

The Finnish Navy’s Squadron 2020 project aims to replace seven vessels with four modern corvettes to be built in Finland and planned to be used into the 2050s. The ships’ weapons and sensors will be procured from outside the country.

Final procurement decisions will be made in 2018 and the vessels will be built between 2019 and 2024

Other than maritime patrol and air defense, the Navy says corvettes could be used mine-laying and anti-submarine warfare.

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