Finnish defense minister authorizes Hamina-class upgrades, torpedo system acquisition

Finland’s defense minister on December 19 authorized the country’s defense forces’ logistics command to sign contracts for the upgrade of Hamina-class fast attack missile craft (FAC).

The authorization follows the signing of a letter of intent and a pre-design activities contract with Patria Aviation Ltd. in October this year.

Finnish defense minister Jussi Niinistö has now authorized the logistics command to sign the upgrade contracts with Patria as prime contractor and Swedish company Saab Dynamics which will be delivering its torpedo system to Finland.

According to the defense ministry, the overall value of the upgrade is EUR 223 million and is expected to generate a domestic employment effect of about 300 man-years.

The mid-life upgrade (MLU) of the four vessels in the class will be performed as part of the Squadron 2000 upgrade program and will extend the missile boats’ service life to the 2030s. This will ensure sufficient naval defense readiness in the 2020s after the decommissioning of Rauma class FAC and before the Squadron 2020 corvettes enter service.

Upgrades are to start at the beginning of 2018 and to be completed by the end of 2021. In addition to hull and structure maintenance, Hamina boats will be equipped with light torpedoes, thus becoming the only units in the Finnish Navy with this capability. The addition of the torpedo capability will be the costliest part of the upgrade.

The boats will be equipped with the Surface Warfare Missile 2020 system, to be chosen in 2018. The missiles fitted on the Hamina-class boats will also be used on surface-to-surface missile batteries and Squadron 2020 corvettes.

The lightweight torpedo weapon system to be purchased has been designed bearing in mind the coastal conditions of the Baltic Sea, rich in islands; it represents the most up-to-date technology for underwater surveillance and warfare. The procurement of the lightweight torpedo system has been coordinated with the similar procurement by the Swedish Försvarets Materielverket (FMV); their system deliveries are scheduled to take place in 2023-2025.

The Hamina class is comprised of FNS Hamina, FNS Tornio, FNS Hanko and FNS Pori. The ships were commissioned into the navy between 1998 and 2006.

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