Finland has agreed to buy 64 Lockheed Martin F-35A fighter jets to replace its aging fleet of McDonnell Douglas F/A-18s bought in the early 1990s, in a 10 billion-euro ($11.3 billion) deal that represents the Finnish military’s largest-ever purchase, the government said in a news conference Friday.

Finland is just the last country to opt for the F-35A fighters after a selection process that also included the Boeing F-18 Super Hornet, France’s Dassault Rafale, Britain’s Eurofighter Typhoon, and Sweden’s Saab Gripen. Switzerland opted to buy the F-35 earlier this summer. Denmark and Norway have also opted to purchase the F-35A. A total of nine countries in Europe, and 13 overall will now field the F-35. 

Finland purchased 60 F/A-18 Hornets from the United States in the early 1990s but those aircraft are due to be retired by 2030. The Finnish Defense Forces began their search for a replacement fighter in 2014. 

Finland, which shares a nearly 850-mile border with Russia is not a member of NATO but has worked closely with NATO and is a member of the European Union. In the last century, Finland has fought four wars against the Soviet Union in a time span ranging from 1914 to 1944. 

U.S. Air Force F-35A Lightning II Joint Strike Fighter performs an aerial refueling mission with a KC-135 Stratotanker off the coast of Northwest Florida. The 33rd Fighter Wing is a joint graduate flying and maintenance training wing that trains Air Force, Marine, Navy, and international partner operators and maintainers of the F-35 Lightning II. (U.S. Air Force photo)

Finnish Prime Minister Sanna Marin said Finland’s decision was unanimous after a recommendation by the Finnish Defense Forces, to purchase the F-35A.

“New fighters are a key part of Finland’s defense,” Marin said to the news media. “Fighters protect the integrity of Finnish airspace, protect society from airstrikes and support (Finnish) army and navy operations.”

Finnish Defense Minister Antti Kaikkonen said they chose the F-35 after a military capability evaluation found the fifth-generation fighter jet “provided the best overall military capability to strengthen our defense system.”

“The F-35 effectiveness across air, land, and sea received the highest rating in the assessment,” he said during a press conference.