Finnish DefMin Interest in F-35s NOT Gripens

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magitsu

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Unread post02 Jan 2020, 14:24

madrat wrote:Wouldn't it really mess with Dassault, Saab, and Eurofighter if LM brought at least one B variant to unofficially show off its ability to STOVL? Who needs to land on the re-purposed highway when you can drop into any specific parking place at the local pub. Getting down from 30,000 feet and safely exiting the aircraft to put your butt in a chair at the officer's club should be a useful event to those crazy Finns.

LM can offer the kind of package they feel is the most competitive. As we can see from Boeing's and Saab's package there's very much flexibility.
It seems to be all F-35A, but no idea what kind of share from the total package is reserved for armament etc (another part which allows seeking for competitive edge). Quite understandable given F-35B also comes with drawbacks. Price, lower user base, less payload and range. Whereas STOVL isn't truly required as dispersed isn't as close to operating on carriers as we'd like to think. The challenges are mostly in the remote basing equipment and procedures. The roads aren't short, maybe a bit narrow.

I haven't seen the Norwegian F-35A chutes being mentioned in the Finnish setting. So even those might not be needed (apparently around 1 million usd each to just the procurement cost).
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magitsu

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Unread post02 Jan 2020, 14:51

magitsu wrote:HX Challenge to bring the HX Fighter Programme candidates to Finland in January and February


Here's an older picture that offers a glimpse into the Operative Requirements Scenarios.
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loke

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Unread post03 Jan 2020, 08:56

I wonder if the Typhoons will have AESA during the testing? I presume yes?

Also I hope that by the end of the complete eval Finland will publish an high level summary like the Danes did. Although I suspect this is not likely?
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hornetfinn

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Unread post03 Jan 2020, 10:07

loke wrote:I wonder if the Typhoons will have AESA during the testing? I presume yes?

Also I hope that by the end of the complete eval Finland will publish an high level summary like the Danes did. Although I suspect this is not likely?


Not having AESA would be very bad for Typhoon. I doubt they could compete at all without having AESA.

After we selected our current Hornets in early 1990s, the evaluation team published a book about the selection process and how the aircraft were compared. There wasn't that much about their comparative qualities, but they did describe fairly generally how Hornet was better than the rest. I think there is good possibility that they will release some kind of report about the selection process and what were the determining factors. Our AF and military in general has put much attention to PR and being more transparent in how they do things during the last couple of decades.
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loke

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Unread post03 Jan 2020, 10:45

I asked about the Typhoon AESA because to my knowledge non of the Typhoon partner nations are currently operating Typhoons with AESAs. But I guess they are either borrowing one of the Typhoons heading for one the Middle East customers with AESA, or use a test plane.

I actually disagree that not having an AESA will alter the Typhoons chances of winning, since it will be zero in any case... ;) Purely political that they are in this game IMHO.

F-35 has bagged this already, and if for some completed unexpected reason it falls through then the SH+Growler will be almost impossible to beat. The Danish eval showed no significant advantage of the Typhoon over the SH, and clearly SH+Growler will have many advantages over the Typhoon.
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botsing

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Unread post03 Jan 2020, 12:02

Image
X marks the spot. ;)
"Those who know don’t talk. Those who talk don’t know"
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madrat

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Unread post03 Jan 2020, 13:36

Eurofighter partners should have stayed on their earlier agreements for development. They undermined their own chances by failing to fund developments that frankly were reasonable and would have been competitive. Nobody can shed tears when they lose. I'm surprised the Finns did not entertain Russian options, although I'm not sure they have anything remotely competitive. Even an 'MKI' equivalent of MiG-35 looks pretty ugly in comparison.
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loke

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Unread post03 Jan 2020, 13:44

madrat wrote: I'm surprised the Finns did not entertain Russian options, although I'm not sure they have anything remotely competitive.

???

The only potential enemy that Finland is concerned about is Russia. No way they would ever consider buying fighter jets from Russia. The Geopolitical situation would have to be turned completly upside down before this would happen.
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magitsu

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Unread post03 Jan 2020, 16:39

madrat wrote:I'm surprised the Finns did not entertain Russian options, although I'm not sure they have anything remotely competitive.

Think about the big picture. These are strategic systems that connect to everything existing. There's no way to even entertain the idea of acquiring this stuff from a potentially hostile partner. We don't even need to worry about espionage stuff, when there's no viable way to become self-sufficient for their use life. Buying a fighter jet means close partnership with the seller government for decades.

Similarly to even consider publicly a Chinese fighter would be handing down a massive pr victory. Because it would mean that for the first time a western country would consider the candidate systems and relevant dependencies somewhat equal.

Basically only infantry weapons, their ammo, crowbars and zinc buckets can be considered safe buys from Russia. They need to be either incredibly simple or you need to be able to afford to buy more than enough at once. Especially for PGM's nobody has enough money.

The simplest reason is that FDF has been Nato-compatible for decades (has to be to take part in the coalitions like UK led JEF, and to have a hope of receiving help when under duress). It would be senseless to suddenly buy something that's not. https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/UK_Joint_ ... nary_Force
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steve2267

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Unread post03 Jan 2020, 16:55

magitsu wrote:Think about the big picture. These are strategic systems that connect to everything existing. ... Buying a fighter jet means close partnership with the seller government for decades.


Given Finland's historic neutrality, this statement strongly implies Gripen (probably with Meteor) should be in the pole position. Except for the huge questions as to whether Gripen has the performance necessary to meet the Finnish requirements. And except for the huge fact that Finland bought American (F/A-18) the last go-around. Unless the Swedes can somehow pull a rabbit out of their sack, this competition does seem to be the F-35's to lose. (Hopefully LM doesn't view it that way... pride goeth before the fall, and that would be the best way for LM to squander such an opportunity (i.e. treating Hx as theirs to lose, rather than obliterating everyone else.))
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 post03 Jan 2020, 17:10

Not necessarily. There's a strong need to get extra help to the theater that isn't already there in any case. Besides Sweden is largely one that needs help instead of being able to provide it. Ultimately only the US is actually able to back its word, others like Germany can mostly send warm wishes while waiting for their turn. Also having ability needs to be considered against will to use it. In the end Finland doesn't count on external help, but makes preparations for every bit that others can spare because everything helps.

I've often considered that due to this need of entangling the bigger friendlier guys to this cause, Finland is less free to make the fighter pick than it would've been if it was a Nato country. In that situation nobody would have the right to get pissed if any of the Nato planes were picked. Now the choice can mean significant new baseline for co-operation. Though it's likely not as drastic as moving from a mix of MiG-21/Draken (at that time dual buys were due to political necessity) to Hornet.

The recent naval procurement from Saab already covers up whatever political need there is to lubricate the closest partnership.

Max performance for the available 10 Bn is the stated highest priority. Like it was with Hornets.

Buying from Sweden would be easy. But this (left green) and the previous government (cons right) has bought key systems multiple times even from Israel (e.g. the main naval/coastal missile, counter artillery radars). They don't even make shell company transactions which were common before (like Rafael's Spike missiles through Eurospike Gmbh in Germany, or Tadiran/Elbit's field radios through Terma A/S in Denmark). Straight from Elbit itself twice in a row. Which kind of indicates that performance is key.
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magitsu

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Unread post09 Jan 2020, 00:29

The next round, asking for more specified bids sees some changes. Finland drops the requirement of straight up replacement in numbers (originally 64 F-18 Hornets). The bidders are also clamped down in this regard, they can't divulge this publicly like they could in the previous one. We knew at least Saab's. They can't give out info about specific armament types they are looking to include. Only general info related to armament and capabilities is allowed, and the offered fighter variants.

On the other hand this allows the bidders more free rein to design their package. Instead of the number of jets, they are assessed based on total capability provided.

This is still not the last round. By the end of the year, they will ask for the best offers. That is going to be the last.

The meatiest part translated:
Although the exact packages offered are not public, at least the offers coming in late January may still be considered to include a significant incentive for each provider to look for the most cost-effective security of supply and basing solutions, for example through industrial cooperation, thus leaving as much chips as possible for building up the package's overall capability. Because the decision model only scores performance, it makes sense to focus all possible resources on that decision area.

It may also be possible that not all providers will be able to provide a solution for our current number of fighters within the given price range, but will try to find another solution that can meet the full performance replacement requirements. It may be that the need for flexibility caused by critical requirements - such as operating and maintenance costs - has to be sought from the number of fighters. The number is also important for life-cycle costs.

It may, of course, also be the case that the provider is missing another element that has a significant impact on completeness of the package, which may be attempted to offset with the number of fighters. It may happen that not all providers are able to provide full performance within the terms given.

In any case, each provider's solution will be different in terms of weapons, sensors, maintenance solution, training scheme and probably also the number of jets. Common to all offers will be a fair, professional and critical review by HX project experts.


https://www.defmin.fi/puolustushallinto ... 10166.blog

https://www.kaleva.fi/uutiset/kotimaa/h ... aa/833213/ (newspaper article, no part included in the translation above)

Losers' offers will not be opened to the public, as it would reveal the trade secrets they need in the next competitions, Puranen explains.

https://www.suomenmaa.fi/uutiset/hornet ... 421c25e947

My assessment is that the biggest factor that is pushing the number of frames down has less to do with the highlighted 10 billion war chest. Instead the main driving factor would be the early established common understanding that they have to be able to support whatever they buy with a similar share of the FDF's yearly budget (slightly rising) than the 62 F/A-18C/D Hornets eat today.

They'll likely have less than 300 million euros per year for upkeep. Current for 62 Hornets is below 250, around 8% of FDF total spend.
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ricnunes

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Unread post09 Jan 2020, 15:40

botsing wrote:X marks the spot. ;)


LoL :mrgreen: :mrgreen: :mrgreen:
“Active stealth” is what the ignorant nay sayers call ECM and pretend like it’s new.
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magitsu

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Unread post10 Jan 2020, 21:35

Some media reports from the first media day, Typhoon's one:

"#HXChallenge - the two @eurofighter Typhoon aircraft here at Pirkkala, with Litening 3 and 5 pods being demonstrated to @FinnishAirForce"
https://twitter.com/securitysplat/statu ... 0016784384

"Interesting: a VERY conscious decision has been taken by
@BAES_Finland to talk about "Eurofighter", and not "Typhoon"... #HX
@FinnishAirForce @AirbusDefence"
https://twitter.com/FTusa284/status/1215555216155783168

(reply to previous)
"Increasingly I have noticed that Typhoon seems to only be being used in relation to UK aircraft. For all others, it's Eurofighter. Just my observation."
https://twitter.com/GarethJennings3/sta ... 4664741888

"German deputy ambassador to Finland says @Team_Luftwaffe will acquire up to 38 Tranche 4 jets to replace its early Tranche 1 aircraft. Production in 2025 will align with Finnish plans @FinnishAirForce @eurofighter #HXChallenge #hxhanke" (aka Project Quadriga)
https://twitter.com/jamie_aviacom/statu ... 5683373056

"#HX Finnish Fighter contest: Counter Air ops are THE most important capability above all others says Col Keranen, HX Programme Director."
https://twitter.com/FTusa284/status/1215547958650920960

"Interesting... HX Programme Director tells me that AIM-9X, AMRAAM, and JASSM are NOT mandated: "if we did that, we wouldn't have a fair competition". I asked if they were ready to change pretty much all their air delivered weapons: "yes we are". @byMBDA"
https://twitter.com/FTusa284/status/1215567183004274688

Apparently great turnout, nearly 50 journos. International media from the UK, Germany, Spain and France. FiAF was very happy about it. More general sentiments can be seen at that FTusa's twitter feed (profile).

There were also the embassadors of the UK, Germany, Spain and Italy. Each briefed about their lot in the EF program.

Two Eurofighters from RAF's test squadron. Eurofighter FGR4 (ZK356) and two-seater Typhoon T3 (ZK303).

Bit of speculation and rumor, but juicy (though I don't necessarily agree abt Dassault):
"Listening to Finnish Air Force, reqts for sovereign support and industry roles make F-35 v v difficult to satisfy. I'd say still open for different reasons to F/A-18E/F, Typhoon, and Gripen. Locals say that Dassault has sort of given up - Switzerland is their priority."
https://twitter.com/FTusa284/status/1215671868205797376

Unrelated, but interesting:

"The best outcome of a F-35 win in Finland would be that maybe they’d get a crazy metal band to come to Fort Worth and play at a 9am rollout ceremony."
https://twitter.com/ValerieInsinna/stat ... 9378455554

One of the articles in English:
https://www.key.aero/article/finland-ki ... e-pirkkala
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madrat

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Unread post11 Jan 2020, 00:31

Maybe the UK should really throw a curve and offer Typhoon...
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