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Finland signs $395m military deal with US to bolster NATO defence against Putin

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Ukrainian crews reload a HIMARS launcher

Finland will strengthen its military capabilities with an upgrade to its arsenal of multiple-launch rocket systems, following the approval of a $395million deal by the US State Department.

The deal, if approved, will provide NATO’s newest member with the tracked M270A2 MLRS, known for its effectiveness against Russian forces during the ongoing conflict in Ukraine.

The Defence Security Cooperation Agency made the announcement on Tuesday, reporting Helsinki had requested the purchase of the M270A2 upgrade for its existing M270A1 Multiple Launch Rocket Systems.

The agency said the upgrade “will include intercom systems, radio communication mounts, machine gun mounts, a battle management system vehicle integration kit, publications for MLRS, spares, services, support equipment, and other related elements of programme and logistics support.”

In all, the package is expected to cost $395 million, according to agency.

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The sale will bolster the security of NATO’s most recent addition, after Finland joined the international security alliance in April this year.

The agency press release reads: “This proposed sale will support the foreign policy and national security of the United States by improving the security of a North Atlantic Treaty Organisation (NATO) ally that is an important force for political stability and economic progress in Europe.

”The proposed sale will improve Finland’s capability to meet current and future threats, and will enhance interoperability with US forces and other allied forces.

“Finland will have no difficulty absorbing this upgrade into its armed forces.”

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The M270A2 is an enhanced version of the M270A1, featuring a new fire control system, a more powerful engine, and improved armour for its crew.

Finland will be the first foreign customer to acquire the system, signifying its commitment to bolstering its military capabilities.

The M270A2 and its wheeled counterpart, the M142 High Mobility Artillery Rocket System (HIMARS), have been essential for Ukrainian forces fighting Russian targets.

It comes as Finland continues its long habit of focussing its defence plans purely on the Russian threat, given the two countries share a 830-mile border.

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