Finnish DefMin Interest in F-35s NOT Gripens

Program progress, politics, orders, and speculation
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sprstdlyscottsmn

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Unread post07 Mar 2019, 21:43

Sure, but not necessarily for export. I don't know, I wasn't there.
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hornetfinn

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Unread post08 Mar 2019, 08:33

sprstdlyscottsmn wrote:
hythelday wrote:Any idea what criteria didn't F-16 meet exactly?

in 1992? No BVR missile would be my guess.

EDIT* Nevermind, I forgot that they were Sparrow compatible.


AFAIK, Finland was at later stage offered F-16C/D Block 50s which definitely were/are AMRAAM compatible. At first only F-16A/B were offered but quickly changed to C/D when competition got tougher and it was clear that A/B would have no chance. In Finland tests were done with F-16D Block 40G variant though. Of course Block 40s were also AMRAAM compatible at the time, at least AFAIK. I'm pretty sure AMRAAMs would've been also part of F-16 package as they were with Hornets.

I think the real problem was that industrial participation and technology transfer requirements were not fully met with F-16 offer. I think GD thought that they'd win due to being lowest bidder and F-16 being mature and good aircraft.
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magitsu

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Unread post08 Mar 2019, 08:34

Yeah, it's the most reasonable explanation. According to some stories Hornet deal had AMRAAM as one differentiator (participants ofc add unreliable heroics to old stories). Also better radar. But they failed spectaculary in their prediction that F-16 production would end before F-18. Nevertheless, it's been in use and costs didn't balloon to unusable levels.

Russians tried a few underhanded plays. They even offered MiG-31 through the foreign service :D Such was the desperation to make deals to keep people employed after the fall.
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magitsu

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Unread post08 Mar 2019, 09:56

Well well, surprise. The Finnish Government just collapsed. First time since 1982. Only a little over month to scheduled election, so it's quite weird that they even decided to do it. It's related to the failure to complete their big promise of national social/health reform and regional admin reform.

Probably doesn't mean anything to the figher project. Defense matters were handled well by the government.
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steve2267

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Unread post17 Mar 2019, 21:03

magitsu wrote:Well well, surprise. The Finnish Government just collapsed. First time since 1982. Only a little over month to scheduled election, so it's quite weird that they even decided to do it. It's related to the failure to complete their big promise of national social/health reform and regional admin reform.

Probably doesn't mean anything to the figher project. Defense matters were handled well by the government.


Were the "national social/health reforms" related to health care costs? Specifically, if health care costs are rising, could that mean fewer Euro's for defense or for the F/A-18 replacement program?
Take an F-16, stir in A-7, dollop of F-117, gob of F-22, dash of F/A-18, sprinkle with AV-8B, stir well + bake. Whaddya get? F-35.
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magitsu

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Unread post17 Mar 2019, 21:15

Yes, but in the long term. The balance between to be cared for and those that fund it is getting worse. They were seeking 3 billion yearly savings with this health / social reform. They bungled it up this time (previous 2 govs also did, but differently) by mixing regional administration restructure together with it. The prime minister's Center party's eternal goal. They need to relocate power to the regions because their old voter base is moving to cities where other parties reign. The party has strong agricultural roots.

New PM is likely going to be from the Social Democrats. Their focus is more towards domestic jobs, unions, state capitalism. Their leadership is the only one which hasn't promised a fixed number of jets. The media has rallied 64 as end all be all. Nobody still knows how the RFQ answers turn out. All parties have committed to replacing the capability of the Hornets. They can provide different political guidance starting from this summer after the new government and their program is in place. That is of course somewhat dependent on what economical outlook they have then.

64 is misleading especially because the monetary amount is still a very rough estimate. Best guess in the public is still between 7-10 Billion. It remains to be seen whether the politicians want to guide towards specific cost or focus on 64 or other number of jets and draw conclusions from there. The project is currently designed to give only one recommendation, no second places.

The parliamentary parties produced a defense white paper in 2017. It's the backbone for mutual understanding in this question. It states for example: "The Finnish military operating environment has changed. Military action and military tensions in the Baltic Sea region have increased. Military crisis pre-warning times have been reduced and the threshold for force has been reduced."

The current minister of defense states that: "The Government's Defense White Paper outlines that the capability will be replaced in full." His view is that "in full" means the same amount than before. But he or his party won't be in the new government, so that "full replacement" might be interpreted differently if there's a political necessity.

Apart from that there's a political agreement to this end: "As far as the fighter project is concerned, it is stated that the purchase of a new multifunctional fighter will be financed outside the normal defense budget, but its use and maintenance must be able to be financed from the normal defense budget."

They have max. 10% of the yearly defense budget in the future. So even if the 7-10 billion could allow more frames, they don't want to buy more than they can fund from the yearly budget. This shouldn't be too hard given they already have proven able to fly 62 (originally 64) F-18C/D Hornets with current funding levels that are less than 10% from the overall funds. Though they have some, usual problems, with too fast infrastructure cost growth etc.

Here's a short blog in English about that Defense White Paper: https://corporalfrisk.com/2017/02/26/wh ... prospects/
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steve2267

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Unread post17 Mar 2019, 22:08

When Finland exercises tactical aviation operations from roads, is the road shutdown for the duration of the exercise? For the duration of takeoffs, then re-open road, then close again for landings? Or is civilian ground traffic interspersed with aircraft operations (could be a FOD risk, though?)? Or are the runways actually frontage roads that parallel the main roadway? (I am just trying to imagine how tacair ops impact and/or live with commercial vehicle traffic.)
Take an F-16, stir in A-7, dollop of F-117, gob of F-22, dash of F/A-18, sprinkle with AV-8B, stir well + bake. Whaddya get? F-35.
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magitsu

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Unread post18 Mar 2019, 02:17

Take a look at the picture in this page (or google translate the text as well). It's probably the most famous site for practicing road base operations. There's around 10 of them embedded within the main road network. The article states that it could take 20 trailer trucks to bring in all of the road base equipment.

2700 m long and roughly 40 m wide, asphalt concrete. So it's basically double width of a normal road.

They close the road completely for almost a week for major exercises. The local traffic finds some alternate route, adding around 10km depending on the location to their trips. Heavy traffic tries to plan in advance so it doesn't have to use even the alternative routes during road closures.

So basically they are on the main road and local traffic reroutes through secondary roads. Heavy traffic finds in advance different main roads.

https://fi.wikipedia.org/wiki/Lusin_varalaskupaikka

Another article with a ton of pictures which tell more than x number of words: http://www.lentoposti.fi/uutiset/lusin_ ... keutumisia

Bonus: Here's how Singapore does it. Quite similar setup at least superficially. https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=9T9pFhQirMw
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steve2267

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Unread post18 Mar 2019, 04:48

Thanks for the brief description!
Take an F-16, stir in A-7, dollop of F-117, gob of F-22, dash of F/A-18, sprinkle with AV-8B, stir well + bake. Whaddya get? F-35.
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magitsu

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Unread post18 Mar 2019, 15:53

First casualty of the government resignation. 1.2 billion four corvette building go ahead is delayed until the next government. It's almost a year late already. Now that project can receive another political assessment if the new government really wants to.

Also new Chief of Defense can't be appointed, which is stalling a huge train of promotions until mid-Summer.
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magitsu

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Unread post09 Apr 2019, 13:06

Saab won the other big acquisition in Finland, the combat management system provider for four ice strengthened corvettes (for all intents and purposes, light frigates - 3000 tn and 110 m with Mk 41 8-cell at Strike length).
Lockheed Martin Canada and Atlas Elektronik lost after the down selection to three. https://saabgroup.com/media/news-press/ ... programme/

So the naval combat system will be Saab 9LV across the board.
ESSM and Gabriel missile picks probably don't mean much related to the Air Force competition.
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steve2267

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Unread post09 Apr 2019, 14:27

By "going Swedish" on the Naval side... does that make it any easier should they go F-35 (Lockheed Martin / US) on the Air Force side?
Take an F-16, stir in A-7, dollop of F-117, gob of F-22, dash of F/A-18, sprinkle with AV-8B, stir well + bake. Whaddya get? F-35.
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magitsu

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Unread post09 Apr 2019, 14:50

Perhaps it soothes some weaker willed politicians that one of these ends up furthering the cooperation between Sweden and Finland (there's been a few notable Israeli arms sale wins within the last year). Although that's bs from any other perspective than politicians. The cooperation is there no matter the equipment because it serves both, and it really can't be deepened much further due to lack of political will to make an actual alliance.

For the military there's no change.

There's no proper public discussion about the desired degree of reliance to the US. So that angle probably doesn't develop.

From project management view these projects are somewhat similar. Both will use prime contractor model. But the naval one is much more risky since it's rather unique domestic build.
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magitsu

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Unread post11 Apr 2019, 04:31

Striking fresh: Finland’s combat aircraft procurement programme
https://www.janes.com/images/assets/464 ... gramme.pdf
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Unread post11 Apr 2019, 15:53

Today it was confirmed that JASSM plays no part in the requirements. Which wasn't surprising given its shelf life of 15 years and no ready integration to any of the competing platforms.
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