[Major Mikko Koli, test pilot] FINAF F/A-18 Mid-Life Upgrades 1 and 2 were conducted from 2010 to 2016. In MLU 1, the Air-to-Air and close-distance capabilities were improved and readiness for the utilization of Link 16 tactical data exchange network on the F/A-18s created. In MLU 2 Air-to-Ground capability with JDAM, JSOW and JASSM weapons were integrated to our F/A-18 fleet. During MLU 1 the focus was on enhancing the Air-to-Air combat and close combat capability. The second Mid Life Upgrade was about development of the Air-to-Ground capability and further improvement for multi-national interoperability through the Link16 data link system. The F/A-18 Air-to-Ground capability contributes significantly to the joint operations of the Finnish Defence Forces. It enables us to support other defence branches by expanding our scope from Air-to-Air missions only. The F/A-18 is an excellent platform for this. [Captain Mikko Kankaisto, test pilot] Besides the Air-to-Ground capability development, Air Force has worked on training programs for the new weapon systems. They are based on our national training system, information received from the weapon system manufacturers and experience gathered from multinational partners. Weapon integration work consists of building the technical ability to maintain the systems and creating the operational readiness to use the new capability. In the first phase of the integration project, the emphasis was on the technical side, making the F/A-18 ready for the new weapons and also readying the payload for the aircraft. Bringing the Air-to-Ground capability into the concept of FINAF air operations, has required a lot of training on all levels of staff. Everyone from Command and Control personnel to the maintenance technicians arming the jets, must learn their new role. Mid-Life Upgrade 2 and the integration of the Air-to-Ground weapons enables us to realize the full potential of the F/A-18. The F/A-18 of Air-to-Ground weapons have different ranges and methods of control. They all have a role to play in different scenarios of conflict and they are intended for different types of targets. The JASSM is an important part of the joint capabilities of the Finnish Defence Forces. It is a weapon system that raises the threshold for hostile offensive action. It enables us to quickly strike targets at a long range supporting Army, Navy, Air Force and joint operations. JASSM integration began with mechanical work at NAS Patuxent River, US, where wing hardpoints were tested for carrying the missile payload during test flights. In the missile integration phase the aircraft software interface was made compatible with the new weapon. The project concluded with successful JASSM test launches of the missile in March 2018.