The Defence Forces has launched a project to buy surface combatants to replace the Navy's capabilities which will become outdated in the 2020s. The new vessels are expected to be capable of territorial integrity surveillance, securing vital sea lines of communication and deterring attacks from the sea.
To be able to carry out these tasks, the vessels have to be able to monitor maritime areas above and under the water surface and in the air space and to use weapons to counter potential threats from enemy forces. The exact configuration of the battle system will be decided in the course of planning but at least sea mines and missiles are likely to be included in the main weapon systems.
The vessels are designed primarily for the needs of national defence and it is vital that they can operate also in winter conditions; they are expected to navigate through ice-covered waters. In addition, they could be used for international crisis management. At this point the plan is to construct four vessels.
The life-cycle of six current surface combatants will end by mid-2020s; these include Rauma-class fast attack missile crafts and Hämeenlinna-class minelayers. Minelayer Pohjanmaa was decommissioned already in 2013. The life-cycle of the vessels to be decommissioned cannot be extended in a cost-efficient way.
The Finnish Defence Forces Logistics Command will send requests for information (RFI) to potential suppliers.
The planning phase of the project is 2015-2018 and construction is scheduled to start in 2019. Building these capabilities requires a funding of over billion euros.