No Fighter Jets For Ukraine: Finland Says F/A-18 Hornet Fighter Jets To Kyiv Highly Unlikely Before 2026

Finland will not be able to deliver F/A-18 Hornet fighter jets to Ukraine until 2026 since the country’s air force needs them. This was announced on Friday by the TV and radio firm Yle.

Finland will receive the first F-35 fighters ordered to replace the F/A-18 Hornet not earlier than 2026, and the last batch ordered will arrive only by 2030. Until that time, the Finnish Air Force would need the Hornets.

The director of the Finnish defense company Patria, Esa Rautalinko, believes that the supply of decommissioned fighter jets to Ukraine is unlikely to be effective, even if it is delivered.

“What will be the costs of re-commissioning them to another country? You will have to install new systems and carry out repairs. It is not known how effective this will be,” he said.

Earlier, Finnish Prime Minister Sanna Marin said the country is open to transferring F/A-18 Hornet jets to Ukraine. Marin said such a discussion could be brought up in Finland since the country is purchasing new fighters to replace those it currently has. 

Marin had said, “I think we could discuss Hornet fighters – whether it would be possible to offer them to Ukraine, what kind of training is needed for this.”

The PM highlighted that all discussions on fighter jets are in the early stages, and comprehensive collaboration between Western allies will be required on this matter. 

RAAF-Classic Hornets
File Image: RAAF-Classic Hornets

In 2021, Finland announced the acquisition of 64 F-35A jets from the US to replace its aging fleet of F/A-18 Hornets. The first F-35 is predicted to arrive in Finland in 2025.

On March 10, Marin traveled to Kyiv. The PM spoke with Ukrainian President Volodymyr Zelenskyy and attended a memorial service for Dmytro Kotsyubailo, a national hero who died in the battle for Bakhmut on March 7.

Ukraine has been urging the West for fighter jets to boost its defenses. Even though Kyiv has received assurances of main battle tanks, there are still no indications that Ukraine could get a western fighter jet like F-16.