Finland Orders C-295 Light Transports
In May 2006, the Finnish Air Force officially selected EADS CASA’s C-295M as its next generation tactical transport aircraft. They will replace Finland’s aging Fokker F-27 transports at Tikkakoski AB, as the older aircraft are decommissioned in 2015. This decision finalizes a selection process that took over 18 months, including flights in both near-arctic and hot summer conditions. The C-295M’s standard competitor is Alenia’s C-27J Spartan; each type has won some competitions, and lost others. The C-295 won this one.
May 2010 saw a follow-on order, and then a special aircraft modification, which helped create a global product offering for Lockheed Martin.
Contracts & Key Events
The C-295 is still being modified, and integration of the airborne mission payload is targeted for late 2012. That will be followed by flight testing, and by full system testing. Lockheed Martin.
May 24/10: Lockheed Martin announces a 4-year, $100 million contract to convert one of Finland’s C-295Ms into a ground surveillance and reconnaissance aircraft, and provide associated ground systems and communications terminals.
Discussions with Lockheed Martin representative confirmed that these are ISR aircraft, like the smaller King Air 350 turboprops that are playing prominent roles in Iraq and Afghanistan. An even closer comparison might be the C-295 ASW/MPA, the aircraft’s maritime patrol and surveillance variant. Both comparison aircraft include a ground-looking radar, advanced surveillance turret, associated communications and electronics gear, on-board workstations and processing equipment, and links that can beam the results to ground stations and terminals for distribution. Lockheed Martin is not offering specifics regarding the Finnish systems, but they are claiming that the Finnish system will include open and modular architecture to make future system upgrades and payload switch-outs easier. Lockheed Martin’s team also includes:
- Finland’s Patria Oy, and other Finnish companies to be determined
- Applied Signal Technology
- Finmeccanica subsidiary DRS Technologies
- L3 Communications
- Rockwell Collins
May 5/10: Finland will reportedly pay EUR 137.6 million (EUR 112/ $146.6 million, plus VAT taxes, equals about $177.3 million) for a military version of EADS-CASA’s twin-turboprop C-295M transport aircraft, for delivery in 2013. An associated offset agreement provides for 100% industrial offsets, and the contract is expected to be signed by the end of 2010.
There are indications that this may be the order for the fully-outfitted C-295 ISR aircraft described in Lockheed Martin’s May 24/10 release. Finnish Ministry of Defense [in Finnish] | Reuters.
May 15/06: A contract for just over EUR 45 million ($57.3 million at current conversion) is signed, covering 2 aircraft and 5 options. EADS | Defense Aerospace.