COPENHAGEN, Denmark (AP) — Finland has agreed to buy 64 Lockheed Martin fighter jets to replace its aging fleet of combat planes in a 10 billion-euro ($11.3 billion) deal that represents the Finnish military's largest ever purchase, the government said Friday.
Finland picked the American company's F-35A fighters from five contenders, which also included the Boeing F-18 Super Hornet, the Dassault Rafale from France, Britain's Eurofighter Typhoon and the Saab Gripen from Sweden.
The Finnish air force has a fleet of more than 60 F-18 Hornets that were acquired from McDonnell Douglas in the early 1990s. It started looking for a successor aircraft in 2014.
The Defense Ministry said Friday that the price tag for the deal with Lockheed Martin includes training and other equipment.
European Union member Finland, which is part of the European Union, is a militarily non-aligned nation but closely cooperates with NATO in a way similar to neighboring Sweden.
Switzerland, another militarily non-aligned European country, and NATO members Denmark and Norway previously decided to buy the Lockheed Martin F-35.
Finland, which shares a 1,340-kilometer (832-mile) border with Russia, has increased its bilateral defense and military cooperation with both Sweden and the United States in the past few years.