Monday, January 17

No, Finland does not pay much less for F-35 aircraft

  • Jarle Nergård

    Brigades and commander of the Combat Aircraft Department in Defense Materiel

Norway buys 52 F-35 fighter jets from American Lockheed Martin. According to the Ministry of Defense, the total purchase price is NOK 90.2 billion.

The fact is that Norway and Finland will pay about the same amount for the new F-35 aircraft.

This is a debate post. Opinions in the text are at the writer’s expense.

On Wednesday 5 January, NTB published several cases in which they claimed that «Finland pays NOK 440 million less per. aircraft than what Norway on average pays for the same type of aircraft. “

This is not correct. The fact is that Norway and Finland will pay about the same amount for the new aircraft.

Too high

What NTB has done in its calculations is that they have taken the total Norwegian and Finnish project costs, which in both countries include aircraft, weapons, equipment and much more, and distributed these on the number of aircraft that the countries buy.

In this way, they have arrived at alleged air fares for Norway and Finland, which in both cases are far too high.

The price has dropped

The actual airfare is shown in the graph below. It is made by the US Office of the Auditor General and shows the price development for each production series or “lot” that is so far on contract for the F-35 version that both Norway and Finland buy.

The aircraft in “lot 7” are the ones that were delivered in 2015, the year Norway received its first two aircraft. “Lot 14” is aircraft to be delivered in 2022, where the base price for aircraft without an engine is now down to 77.9 million dollars, or just under 700 million kroner.

Flight price for F-35A. The graph is made by the US Office of the Auditor General GAO.

This is the price all countries that buy aircraft from that production series must pay.

As the graph shows, the price has fallen sharply since the beginning and has now almost flattened out. We expect it to be reduced somewhat more before Finland begins its acquisition in 2025, but only by a few percent.

Close to Norwegian price

When Finland, on top of this, has to pay a surcharge for each aircraft because they are not part of the F-35 partnership, it means that they will receive aircraft with an average price that is close to the Norwegian, and which in no way is 440 million lower per. fly.

This is supported by what the Finns themselves say about their air fares. They state that the planes make up approx. 4.7 of the total 8.4 billion euros they expect to spend on the procurement. This equates to around $ 83 million per year. aircraft, which is not very different from the average price we ourselves expect.

Again, distributing top numbers on the number of aircraft in this way does not give the whole picture, but this at least shows that the Finnish air price does not differ significantly from what others expect to pay, including us here in Norway.

Ready to take over

The focus for the Norwegian F-35 procurement has always been to ensure the best possible transition between the F-16 and the F-35. Norwegian F-16 is approx. 15 years older than today’s Finnish fighter jets, and we could not wait much longer to replace them.

This has been the driver of the procurement plan we have been working on for almost ten years. A plan that has ensured that the F-35 is ready to take over when we thank the F-16 this week after more than 40 years of faithful service.

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