Finnish Minister of Defence, Jussi Niinistö, has authorized the nation’s Defence Forces to start the Finnish Navy project, Squadron 2020.
The aim of the project is to construct four new corvette-size fighting ships for year-round operation in the special weather and ice conditions at the Baltic Sea.
A Request for Information had been issued informing shipyards about the project and inquiring know-how and price information from shipbuilders and suppliers to base the Request for Quote on. The RFI was sent out on December 18, 2015 and answers are requested by the end of March next year.
The four new vessels will replace the already decommissioned FNS Pohjanmaa, four Rauma-class fast attack missile craft and two Hämeenmaa-class minelayers that will reach the end of their life-cycle by the mid-2020s.
Central criteria for selecting the constructor are the Finnish Navy’s strict requirements for the ships performance in winter conditions and naval mine-laying capability. The Finnish Defence Forces said that foreign military shipyards were not suited for this project as the vessels operate in harsh conditions and necessitate complex maintenance. The new vessel class project is estimated to require a funding of €1.2bn, and the life-cycle of the vessels will be at least 35 years.
Procurement decisions will be made in the course of next year. Upon completion of the contract negotiations, the contracts will be signed in 2019. The first naval engineering tests are scheduled for 2020 and according to plan the last ship should be handed over to the Finnish Defence Forces in 2024.