Finnish DefMin Interest in F-35s NOT Gripens

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hythelday

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Unread post28 Apr 2018, 14:24

popcorn wrote:So who foots the bill for Finnish-specific kit for the F-35?



Which is what exactly? Custom Moomin paintjob?
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popcorn

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Unread post28 Apr 2018, 14:31

hythelday wrote:
popcorn wrote:So who foots the bill for Finnish-specific kit for the F-35?



Which is what exactly? Custom Moomin paintjob?

No free lunch, Finland would pay for any custom capabilities it would require regardless of which platform it chooses.
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barrelnut

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Unread post28 Apr 2018, 17:14

popcorn wrote:
hythelday wrote:
popcorn wrote:So who foots the bill for Finnish-specific kit for the F-35?



Which is what exactly? Custom Moomin paintjob?

No free lunch, Finland would pay for any custom capabilities it would require regardless of which platform it chooses.


Well, that's the thing. Finnish Air Force does not want any custom capabilities, those can get very expensive. They want widely used upgrades (funded by multiple interested parties) that are affordable.
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SpudmanWP

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Unread post29 Apr 2018, 07:33

popcorn wrote:So who foots the bill for Finnish-specific kit for the F-35?


Chutes, done
Custom A2G munitions, very cheap thanks to UAI
Custom radio stuff, super cheap thanks to software-based radio
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magitsu

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Unread post29 Apr 2018, 20:05

No pressing need for anything besides the semi-autonomous maintenance ability.

It's going to be interesting. FiAF will negotiate with everyone to make each offer the best possible package to match the evaluation criteria. Those are only meets minimum / doesn't. If those are cleared, only then will they get ranked in the performance criteria.

Price/performance isn't going to be compared directly. But perhaps the cheaper offers can include more fighters in their package, which would lead to better capability assessment.

It will be interesting to see whether any of the candidates reach conclusion that they won't pass one or more of those minimum criteria, which could lead to them not placing the final bid.

One big cutoff point is that they need to be able to fund the upkeep from normal budget. Which means around 10% of the defense spending. That would be slightly less than 300 million yearly.
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loke

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Unread post30 Apr 2018, 07:54

f-pole wrote:
The qualifying criteria are:

1. Maintenance, training and mission support systems that enable independent operation during wartime. There probably is a requirement to be able to handle basic sustainment and maintenance tasks independently.
2. Life cycle costs, which were mentioned to cover not only acquisition and operation costs, but also planned upgrades to maintain capabilities to 2060. Acquisition costs have fit within the budget frame, and operating costs should be able to be covered with the current budget.
3. Industrial co-operation, mostly related to maintenance, training and building proficiency to upgrade the aircraft. 30% of the acquisition cost was mentioned as the baseline.

Welcome to the forum!
And thanks for the information!

I thought there were 5 criteria in total? Or am I mistaken? If not, what was the 4th criterion?

Item 2 seems a pretty tough one, in particular for the Typhoon and Rafale.... They are very expensive to operate.

Regarding item 1: How would this affect the F-35? I may be wrong but I thought one of the ideas behind costs savings with the F-35 was that a lot of the maintainance and upgrade work will happen centralized?

In any case: in the Danish eval they concluded that operating costs per a/c was slightly higher for F-35 than the SH.
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hornetfinn

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Unread post30 Apr 2018, 08:42

loke wrote:
f-pole wrote:
The qualifying criteria are:

1. Maintenance, training and mission support systems that enable independent operation during wartime. There probably is a requirement to be able to handle basic sustainment and maintenance tasks independently.
2. Life cycle costs, which were mentioned to cover not only acquisition and operation costs, but also planned upgrades to maintain capabilities to 2060. Acquisition costs have fit within the budget frame, and operating costs should be able to be covered with the current budget.
3. Industrial co-operation, mostly related to maintenance, training and building proficiency to upgrade the aircraft. 30% of the acquisition cost was mentioned as the baseline.

Welcome to the forum!
And thanks for the information!

I thought there were 5 criteria in total? Or am I mistaken? If not, what was the 4th criterion?


4th criterion is impact on security and defence policy. This is a criteria that is evaluated separately and is not really part of the competition. Candidates have no requirements in this and they don't have any way of affecting it. Basically it's just a political evaluation of what would likely happen politically if a candidate is selected.
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loke

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Unread post30 Apr 2018, 09:45

magitsu wrote:Price/performance isn't going to be compared directly. But perhaps the cheaper offers can include more fighters in their package, which would lead to better capability assessment.

I had the impression that the number of a/c was pretty much fixed at 64? Is this not the case?

In a way I would not be surprised if this requirement was relaxed. I doubt it would be possible to operate 64 F-35 in a meaningful manner on the annual budget of the Finnish Air Force (unless the budget is expanded considerably).

Since military inflation is higher than the general inflation I wonder if there is actually a risk that none of the fighter jets would meet the annual budgetary requiments, unless the number of a/c is reduced!?
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barrelnut

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Unread post30 Apr 2018, 11:13

loke wrote:
magitsu wrote:Price/performance isn't going to be compared directly. But perhaps the cheaper offers can include more fighters in their package, which would lead to better capability assessment.

I had the impression that the number of a/c was pretty much fixed at 64? Is this not the case?


It's just speculation. I don't think purchasing more than 64 is a realistic option. It would mean that more pilots, other personnel and resources in general would needed thus pushing annual cost of fighter force upwards. And that's not possible.
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loke

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Unread post30 Apr 2018, 12:03

barrelnut wrote:
loke wrote:
magitsu wrote:Price/performance isn't going to be compared directly. But perhaps the cheaper offers can include more fighters in their package, which would lead to better capability assessment.

I had the impression that the number of a/c was pretty much fixed at 64? Is this not the case?


It's just speculation. I don't think purchasing more than 64 is a realistic option. It would mean that more pilots, other personnel and resources in general would needed thus pushing annual cost of fighter force upwards. And that's not possible.

I agree it not realistic to purchase more than 64, and that's not what I meant. I think the question is rather, could less than 64 be an option?

E.g., 48 F-35 instead of 64 Gripen E

This is an important question because, it may well be that 64 F-35 may not fit into the annual budget of the Finnish defence forces. The Danish eval seemed to indicate higher per plane operating costs for F-35 than the SH... Finland of course has other requirements than Denmark, and the operating costs per plane may well be higher for Finland than for Denmark (it seems they require more autonomy and more local support).
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magitsu

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Unread post30 Apr 2018, 18:03

Yes, certainly not more than 64 is not likely. But as I said, the packages will be negotiated one on one to provide the best capability. The best capability could still mean something else than just "64 fighters".
For the more expensive to operate jets it's indeed possible that they don't reach 64, but the cheapest might. Then it would become a matter of how do they assess the total capability of the package. Certainly 1 F-35 is more capability than 1 Gripen, but how much...

Indeed, they have to be able to fund the upkeep with 10% of the defense budget, which is close to what the current costs are. So they'll have about 300 million each year to pay for the whole setup.
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SpudmanWP

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Unread post30 Apr 2018, 18:17

64 F-35s for $10 Billion is doable given that the Korean deal was $7 billion for 40 leave $3 billion for 24 ($125 mil each). Keep in mind that F-35s for Finland will be a lot cheaper than F-35s for Korea due to being in later Lots (more economy of scale).

Damn, that's a long sentence :)

"Gross Weapon System Cost" (the highest per-F-35 cost calculated) in the 2020-2023 range is about $100 mil, so the above calculation (ie 64 for $10 Billion) is doable.

The package contains 64 aircraft along with the technical systems, training systems, maintenance tools, testing equipment and spare parts as well as weapons, sensors and other type-specific support functions.


So, that is about $6.4 Billion for the F-35, initial spares, helmets, tools, docs, etc (ie "Gross Weapon System Cost"). That leaves $3.6 Billion for the weapons (about a $Billion), Full-Mission simulators ($7.2 mil each), etc. Looks to be doable depending on the parts, level, and length of support required under contract.

One other thing to keep in mind, the F-35 comes with an 8000hr airframe life built in where other fighters need a MLU to achieve that. That was one of the factors that the Denmark eval brought to life.
Last edited by SpudmanWP on 30 Apr 2018, 18:24, edited 2 times in total.
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loke

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Unread post30 Apr 2018, 18:20

OK, thanks for clarifying that the number of a/c is not fixed at 64 but can be negotiated to a potentially lower number, depending on the capabilities and cost.

No doubt the F-35 will win this.
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loke

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Unread post30 Apr 2018, 18:25

SpudmanWP wrote:64 F-35s for $10 Billion is doable given that the Korean deal was $7 billion for 40 leave $3 billion for 24 ($125 mil each). Keep in mind that F-35s for Finland will be a lot cheaper than F-35s for Korea due to being in later Lots (more economy of scale).

Damn, that's a long sentence :)

"Gross Weapon System Cost" (the highest per-F-35 cost calculated) in the 2020-2023 range is about $100 mil, so the above calculation (ie 64 for $10 Billion) is doable.

Who talked about acquisition costs?

We were talking about operating costs. Finland is a small country with a small economy. They have stated they need to fit the operating cost of the new a/c within the existing budget.

Operating 64 F-35 will be quite expensive for such a small country!

It is still not clear to me if the operating costs per plane would be higher for Finland than for e.g. Denmark, given that Finland wants more autonomy in operating their F-35 -- I guess it might!?
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Unread post30 Apr 2018, 18:29

F-35s have better range & can do more than their classic Hornets so my calculation is that it will be cheaper, per mission, to operate the F-35.

The F-35 is also cheaper to upgrade, lasts longer, etc.
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