Finnish DefMin Interest in F-35s NOT Gripens

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vilters

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Unread post06 Jun 2015, 13:54

Depends: Defend against what?

The Russians are some 30 years behind in 5th Gen Aircraft.
- Airframe
- Engine
- Avionix
- Stealth
You name it, they are 30 years behind.

For the role they are playing, they can "afford" to skip the F-35 and wait for the next one.

With all logistics in place, their pilots and maintainers well trained, I' do a bulk buy of new F-18 with all the new upgrades.

Best bang for the buck, and good for at least the next 30 years or so.
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XanderCrews

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Unread post06 Jun 2015, 15:04

barrelnut wrote:
pron wrote:Today a newspaper in Sweden tells that the government have opened up for Saab to share classified information about the new Gripen E with Finland. More on Swedish in the article, but you can use google translate.

http://www.di.se/artiklar/2015/4/1/finl ... pa-radarn/


Yes, I'm sure that the Gripen NG will be one of the candidates, however comments from the Air Force and the politicians in the defense committee, namely from the chairman Jussi Niinistö, indicates that the F-35 will be the preferred one.

He recently said in an interview that the "selecting an other plane besides the F-35 would be a purely political decision".

http://blogit.iltalehti.fi/jussi-niinis ... haamottaa/

Anyways, the Air Force has also said that they are currently drafting a document outlining the acquisition process, the document should be ready by next summer. They also said that it's far too early to talk about types, the whole process is in a very early stage at this point.


I used a translator on this and found it very interesting along with the comments, thank you for posting it
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hornetfinn

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Unread post11 Jun 2015, 09:18

vilters wrote:Depends: Defend against what?

The Russians are some 30 years behind in 5th Gen Aircraft.
- Airframe
- Engine
- Avionix
- Stealth
You name it, they are 30 years behind.

For the role they are playing, they can "afford" to skip the F-35 and wait for the next one.

With all logistics in place, their pilots and maintainers well trained, I' do a bulk buy of new F-18 with all the new upgrades.

Best bang for the buck, and good for at least the next 30 years or so.


Buying Super Hornet would not be good for many reasons in our (Finnish) time frame, IMO. That means years 2025-2030 when the actual aircraft will arrive and that is 10-15 years from now. So the aircraft would likely serve until 2060 or even longer.

Current Super Hornet users (USN and Australia) will very likely retire their aircraft (or at least most of them) by about 2040. This means we would be the only operators of Super Hornet for 20 years or even longer. We would be able to buy rather small amount of any aircraft (about 30-40 most likely). This means that those Super Hornets would receive very minor upgrades as it would not be economical to implement any major upgrades for such a small amount of aircraft. Flight hour costs would very likely rapidly increase during those 20 years also as the cost of spare parts and cost of all kinds of consumable parts would increase significantly and increase flight hour costs. I think that even though Super Hornets might be somewhat cheaper to procure, they would likely be much more expensive to operate especially after 2040. Of course the capabilities would be significantly lower than what F-35 brings and difference would grow during later years as F-35 will likely be very actively developed and SH not. Dassault Rafale, EF Typhoon and JAS Gripen have similar problems for our fighter selection.
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vilters

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Unread post11 Jun 2015, 09:51

Agreed to some extend.

But never forget the logistical chain (that you already have in place).

One of the most forgotten cost of a new weapon system is the installation of the logistical chain.

Everybody "thinks" in cost per airframe. Maintenance and fuel cost per flight hr.

Nobody talks about the cost of the logistical chain. => And that is the one that can bite HARD.

You have it in place already.

- Logistical chain is in place. => Known spare parts flow and fixed contracts.
- Maintainers and pilots "know the aircraft" => A HUGE advantage, and a HUGE saving in initial training costs. => This alone would justify to choose the SH.

- Continuity & stability of the fleet.
----------------------------------

That is also why Finland should plan for the future.
You guys can afford to buy 10 to 20 airframes more then minimum required, with all you will gain by having the logistical chain in place. => And these extra airframes will keep the overall flight hrs / airframe younger over the long time.

And for Russia? The way the Russian economy is going? I would not worry too much for the next 50 years or so.

As I wrote; You guys "can" afford to skip the F-35 and wait for the next one.
--------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------

And agreed again;
Typhoon, Rafale, Griphen, are no valid options.

All are pretty expensive and what do they bring extra?
- New logistical chain to be installed? => And be sure. => A logistical chain costs WAY- WAY more then the initial buy sum in the long run.
- New training of maintainers, pilots, managers.

And again, relatively small build numbers, older 4+ airframes, and they bring no "added value" at all.
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Unread post11 Jun 2015, 10:31

vilters wrote:Agreed to some extend.

But never forget the logistical chain (that you already have in place).

One of the most forgotten cost of a new weapon system is the installation of the logistical chain.

Everybody "thinks" in cost per airframe. Maintenance and fuel cost per flight hr.

Nobody talks about the cost of the logistical chain. => And that is the one that can bite HARD.

You have it in place already.

- Logistical chain is in place. => Known spare parts flow and fixed contracts.
- Maintainers and pilots "know the aircraft" => A HUGE advantage, and a HUGE saving in initial training costs. => This alone would justify to choose the SH.

- Continuity & stability of the fleet.
----------------------------------

That is also why Finland should plan for the future.
You guys can afford to buy 10 to 20 airframes more then minimum required, with all you will gain by having the logistical chain in place. => And these extra airframes will keep the overall flight hrs / airframe younger over the long time.

And for Russia? The way the Russian economy is going? I would not worry too much for the next 50 years or so.

As I wrote; You guys "can" afford to skip the F-35 and wait for the next one.
--------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------

And agreed again;
Typhoon, Rafale, Griphen, are no valid options.

All are pretty expensive and what do they bring extra?
- New logistical chain to be installed? => And be sure. => A logistical chain costs WAY- WAY more then the initial buy sum in the long run.
- New training of maintainers, pilots, managers.

And again, relatively small build numbers, older 4+ airframes, and they bring no "added value" at all.


F/A 18 E/F Super Hornets are not exactly equivalent to the legacy Hornets. There are a lot of systems and parts that are unique to the Super Hornet only...the savings from a supposedly common logistics chain may not be as big as you think. Hornetfinn's point about the potentially exorbitant cost to upgrade their Super Hornets as other users retire their fleet is a pretty valid point. Good luck funding Boeing to develop upgrades just for your few squadrons of Super Hornet.
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hornetfinn

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Unread post11 Jun 2015, 11:29

mk82 wrote:F/A 18 E/F Super Hornets are not exactly equivalent to the legacy Hornets. There are a lot of systems and parts that are unique to the Super Hornet only...the savings from a supposedly common logistics chain may not be as big as you think. Hornetfinn's point about the potentially exorbitant cost to upgrade their Super Hornets as other users retire their fleet is a pretty valid point. Good luck funding Boeing to develop upgrades just for your few squadrons of Super Hornet.


This is exactly what I was trying to say, thanks mk82!

Developing upgrades which cost say 5 billion dollars to develop would likely not happen for 30-40 fighters only. Or it might happen, but Finland would have to pay for it all and that would double the price of each aircraft. Developing similar upgrades for 3,000 F-35s would only cost about 60-70 million dollars for 30-40 fighters if development costs are divided equally. This is also serious problem for Gripen NG too.

Another point is that our fighters would likely have to operate under threat from rather hostile and advanced IADS. Without Growlers, Super Hornets might have serious trouble surviving it in the future. Buying also Growlers would be rather costly for our budget. Growlers would suffer from not being developed any more when we would operate them, or it becoming rather expensive for us.
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Unread post11 Jun 2015, 11:41

[quote="hornetfinn"]Developing upgrades which cost say 5 billion dollars to develop would likely not happen for 30-40 fighters only./quote]

There might be another idiotic 70ish in Canada. :bang: But I hope not, for all the same reasons already stated.
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Unread post11 Jun 2015, 12:21

Preliminary report of replacing the capabilities provided by our current Hornet force has been released, summary also in english (and swedish):

http://www.defmin.fi/files/3168/Esiselv ... isesta.pdf
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Unread post11 Jun 2015, 13:25

Thanks barrelnut, I was about to post that same report but you beat me to it.

Last weekend there was a Turku Airshow (surprisingly in Turku, Finland) where there was F-35 simulator presented by Lockheed Martin and Swedes brought couple of JAS-39 Gripen C's for the show.

Gripen show:


Finnish Hornet did an own show:
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Unread post11 Jun 2015, 14:22

mk82 wrote:F/A 18 E/F Super Hornets are not exactly equivalent to the legacy Hornets. There are a lot of systems and parts that are unique to the Super Hornet only...the savings from a supposedly common logistics chain may not be as big as you think. Hornetfinn's point about the potentially exorbitant cost to upgrade their Super Hornets as other users retire their fleet is a pretty valid point. Good luck funding Boeing to develop upgrades just for your few squadrons of Super Hornet.


I would go one step further and ask if there are any systems that remained the same between the C/D and the E/F? They are also a good bit bigger, hence may not even fit in the same facilities as the older Hornets.

They do, however, still need their inch size tools, but that goes for the F-35 as well.

The support phone number will stay the same, so if they want to stick with the devil they know...
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Unread post12 Jun 2015, 02:03

Finland should replace Hornet fleet in 2020s: official report
11 Jun 2015 Jussi Rosendahl

"Finland should replace its aging Hornet fighter jet fleet with multirole fighter aircraft in a procurement estimated at 5 to 10 billion euros ($5.6-$11.2 billion), a government commissioned report showed on Thursday.

The planned service life of Finland's 62 F/A-18 Hornet jets comes to an end from 2025 to 2030. The report proposed that a request for quotations for new jets should be carried out in 2017-2018 with final decisions made in the early 2020s.

The working group did not recommend any specific model or manufacturer.

It mentioned as possible candidates: Saab's Jas Gripen; Dassault Aviation's Rafale; Boeing's Super Hornet; Lockheed Martin's F-35; the Eurofighter, which is made by Britain, Germany, Italy and Spain."

Source: http://www.reuters.com/article/2015/06/ ... FR20150611
A4G Skyhawk: www.faaaa.asn.au/spazsinbad-a4g/ & www.youtube.com/channel/UCwqC_s6gcCVvG7NOge3qfAQ/videos?view_as=subscriber
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Unread post12 Jun 2015, 06:22

I think we might get real evaluation between Rafale, Gripen, Typhoon, Super Hornet and F-35 for Finnish acquisition. We had very thorough one 25 years ago when Mirage 2000, Gripen, F-16 and Hornet were evaluated. Funnily, Gripen and Hornet will likely be in this one too in their evolved form... :)

If we manage to get 5 to 10 billion euros for our acquisition, it would be more than previously thought and also quite large one for any fighter manufacturer. I think this is quite likely last chance for European manufacturers and Boeing to get major new order for their jets. It would also be very good order for F-35 program. Interesting to see how this plays out.
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Unread post12 Jun 2015, 07:25

Few observations regarding the released report.

* No preferred type at this point, lists all the usual suspects as potential candidates
* Emphasizes the importance of stealth multiple times (Air combat, SEAD, recon etc.)
* Lists European manufactured planes and adds the F-35 into that list because of the Italian production line (so it's a domestic plane in that sense)
* Needs to be able to detect, classify, target and attack moving ground targets
* Needs to be able to collect intelligence info and do swift recon missions on areas of interest
* Needs to able to perform SEAD missions to neutralize enemy AD assets, EW capability needed also
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Unread post12 Jun 2015, 14:07

How many of these contenders are going to be in production during that timeframe?
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Unread post13 Jun 2015, 09:03

The political side will be interesting as well. I have a hunch that bilateral sensibilities are actually more important since Finland is not in the NATO.

France isn't really active around the Baltic sea. There's some French equipment in use (retiring APILAS AT and Mistral SAM, Crotale NG SAM, radars). All MBTs come from Germany, but far less dependency within the AF. Bundeswehr in their current state doesn't look all that convincing partner. Sweden would need the deal to happen more than Finland. But that offers little else to what's already there. Neither Finland or Sweden want to take over the air defense of the Baltics, but it seems that more needs to be done. The Iceland air policing mission a few years back was also a matter of considerable debate.

Other Air Force purchases: Kongsberg/Raytheon NASAMS II (the 2nd most expensive system after jets), most radars are Thales-Raytheon. New mid-sized cargo planes 3 CASA C295, they don't link directly to anyone. Trainers, around 24 BAe Hawk like the Hornets will have to be replaced by 2030 as well. Or establish co-operation in pilot training. Fleet of NH90 transport helicopters is a big money commitment in the army side, but that offers no direct link to anyone.

LM has a rather good grip: MLRS (modernization, cancelled ATACMS bid), JASSM, Dragon Shield sigint platform sale. Plenty of business during last five years.
Boeing obviously through Hornets and local partner network that has been built during current systems buildup/maint/recent MLU upgrades.
Saab currently owns the minds of the general public & non-specialist press. That's probably the biggest hurdle to overcome for F-35 because this procurement will be subject to wide and open public participation. The public isn't exactly well informed (exhibit from yesterday, the largest daily) I have some ideas on how the gap could be bridged, so they probably can figure out some as well. There's time to do all kinds of positioning. Swedes obviously have some political/industry acumen. They probably don't want to see anything resembling the Norwegian procurement. Although the losers always seem to have good explanations. Naivete and the ensuing circus around Patria AMV sales in Slovenia should probably be noted. Some staff officer also got fined for bungling the scrapping of T72s so the threshold for bullshit should be at its historical low.

The FDF has really bought into the idea of network centric warfare. Everything has been upgraded within last 10 years. For example the air situation data isn't solely based on radars any more. Acoustic, passive, ir - who knows? This probably means that F-35 has a leg up because it can extend the situational awareness of the whole command chain in a meaningful way. There's also little money for separate AEW&C capability, so a pair of F-35s could be a poor man's solution for these too.
FiAF can't buy large UAVs due to MTCR treaty restrictions, probably couldn't afford anyway. Smaller ones will be used for recon. Sea based interdiction also needs new ideas. It could be done more from air (LRASM, few NH90s to AS(u)W), since navy can't afford to replace all of its boats.

The Minister of Defence Jussi Niinisto told on Thursday that integration with JASSM needs to happen, whichever gets picked. That probably tells more about their view of needed competencies than is about one specific system. Swedes are handicapped by their insistence on not having similar capacity, thus having no experience.

Whatever happens, it seems that FDF won't become dependent on a sole supplier. There's plenty of big ticket items from both Europe and the United States.

I wonder how many planes 10 Bn dollars would buy? The cost of operation will be important. F-35 is a rather expensive proposition for all those identification flights. Finland probably can't afford to fall back to simulator use as much as some others.

New platform is expensive but that seems to be the only real problem. Finland is in a good situation in every sense of the matter and can afford to consider its options. It will be harder than picking the Hornet was. Now it would be probably the hardest, but production line closures and getting real world experience from the new entrants should make it easier.
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