Finnish DefMin Interest in F-35s NOT Gripens

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magitsu

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Unread post15 Jun 2015, 14:10

This was a rather interesting find:
The Finnish Air Force expeditionary unit has experienced the NATO evaluation once before. It was in 2009 when the unit passed the evaluation process as the first non-NATO air force unit. The final evaluation took place in Germany.

Finland is still the only non-NATO country which has a fully capable fighter unit verified by TACEVAL program.


http://www.puolustusvoimat.fi/portal/pu ... i+%28EN%29

Finland is participating in the Air Transport, Air-to Air Refueling and other Exchange of Services (ATARES), as well as the Air Situation Data Exchange (ASDE). It has joined the Strategic Airlift Capability (SAC) programme, participating along with Sweden and several NATO Allies in the operation of three C-17 transport aircraft based in Hungary.


http://www.nato.int/cps/en/natohq/topics_49594.htm

International crisis management capabilities and Nato-compatibility seem to be valued highly in FiAF, which should reflect in the replacement fighter procurement.
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Unread post15 Jun 2015, 22:40

magitsu wrote: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.


Thanks for this. By 2020 there will be only two realistic choices: Gripen NG and F-35. Eurofighter and Rafale will have likely wound down their production lines, be more costly, and have inferior avionics.

For 10 billion USD (with a 2012 base year, not then-year dollars), we can get a rough picture of what the Finns might get if we extrapolate from Canadian cost estimates (just transferring over the Milcon, and other ancillary costs - 500 million in development costs can be used to offset inflation). That gives approximately 6.3 billion in actual acquisition funds. The other ground rules are purchases around 2023~2030, so unit prices in 85 million dollar range. You'll be hit for FMS and other DoD charges as a non JSF partner, which would add about 4% to the costs of each fighter over the recurring flyaway and approximately 1.5 million: so at about 85 million each you're looking at about 91 million dollars per copy. With 6.3 billion, you're looking at about 70 aircraft... so more than your current fleet.
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Unread post15 Jun 2015, 23:00

'magitsu' could you explain more about this claim (over on previous page) of yours please? Thanks.

viewtopic.php?f=58&t=25426&p=292899&hilit=simulator#p292899
"...Finland probably can't afford to fall back to simulator use as much as some others...."
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hornetfinn

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Unread post16 Jun 2015, 06:11

FiAF is very much into simulator use and I'm sure that will continue into future. Not many air forces have equal simulator capacity and capabilities FiAF currently has, compared to number of pilots and aircraft. I'm sure this will continue and no matter what fighter is selected, simulators will be employed heavily.
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Unread post16 Jun 2015, 09:09

hb_pencil wrote:
magitsu wrote: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.


Thanks for this. By 2020 there will be only two realistic choices: Gripen NG and F-35. Eurofighter and Rafale will have likely wound down their production lines, be more costly, and have inferior avionics.

For 10 billion USD (with a 2012 base year, not then-year dollars), we can get a rough picture of what the Finns might get if we extrapolate from Canadian cost estimates (just transferring over the Milcon, and other ancillary costs - 500 million in development costs can be used to offset inflation). That gives approximately 6.3 billion in actual acquisition funds. The other ground rules are purchases around 2023~2030, so unit prices in 85 million dollar range. You'll be hit for FMS and other DoD charges as a non JSF partner, which would add about 4% to the costs of each fighter over the recurring flyaway and approximately 1.5 million: so at about 85 million each you're looking at about 91 million dollars per copy. With 6.3 billion, you're looking at about 70 aircraft... so more than your current fleet.


That might be possible. Previously it was thought that less aicraft (than our current Hornet fleet) would be acquired, but latest world events might make it possible that more aircraft will be bought.

I think that for Eurofighter, Rafale and Super Hornet our acquisition schedule is not very good. IIRC, their production will end by 2020 and that leaves a gap of at least half a decade in production. Rafale seems to be in production for longest, but likely not much further than 2020. Still, I think all manufacturers will have capability to produce jets during 2024-2030 when new jets for Finland would be manufactured. However, I think that would bring costs for starting up production.

I don't see Gripen NG having particularly good avionics for 2025 onwards. It will be well behind F-35 and does not seem any more advanced compared to latest upgraded versions of Rafale, Typhoon and Super Hornet.
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Unread post20 Jun 2015, 00:48

spazsinbad wrote:'magitsu' could you explain more about this claim (over on previous page) of yours please? Thanks.

viewtopic.php?f=58&t=25426&p=292899&hilit=simulator#p292899
"...Finland probably can't afford to fall back to simulator use as much as some others...."


It was a passing thought that some needs (id flights and such) can't be replaced by adding more "cheaper" sim use.
My second thought is that I grossly overestimated the need for identification flights. They won't matter in the grand scheme of things no matter the flight hour cost. The amount added won't affect the need for sim use. The overall increase of running costs related to F-35 might. But that's something which the current buyers have already identified and will be doing.

I think that the final number is still more likely to be less than the current fleet. Fifty-something if lucky, forty-something if not. But if the pick was Gripen E, then it should be as close to the current numbers as possible since it isn't as big of a leap in performance. Or it could be something like Gripens + saved money to extended ISR capabilities through uavs.

A/G or CAS capability and its international dimension through participation in the NRF is something that has just been added to FiAF's plate. They are likely to appear as a requirement in the procurement. Probably another thing that's going to prove tough for Gripen. As a related note, Finland would probably appreciate more an invite to the Green Flag rather than the Red Flag due to this newly acquired skill and current training needs. Frisian Flag has sufficed thus far.
FiAF is looking for true multi-role capability and the noted disdain for "prototype solutions" will probably favor those with proven experience. Gripen E will be so late to the party that it's doubtful whether it can be a truly convincing mature platform. But since Sweden at least now appears to need the deal more than Finland they are very likely to do a highly competitive bid.

Boeing probably already missed one opportunity to sell Super Hornets to Finland some 10 years ago. I'm referring to the supposed offer to Canada for their current Hornets and replacing them with E/Fs. That could've been an interesting offer for Finland as well since MLU1&2 proved really expensive.
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Unread post21 Jun 2015, 23:08

Finns To Link Fighter Buy to Investment Plan
21 Jun 2015 Gerard O'Dwyer

"HELSINKI — Finland's center-right government plans to link the armed forces' Fighter Replacement Program (FRP) to its National Investment Plan (NIP), an initiative to use the project to generate maximum value in terms of offset, spin-off contracts and job creation.

Connecting the FRP to the NIP will also protect the capital funding element in the project for what is the most costly defense investment in the armed forces history

The Finnish economy was hard hit by the financial crisis in 2008, and has been in and out of recession since. Finnish GDP hasn't grown since 2012, and is facing another year of negative growth in 2015....

...The government's intent to maximize national and local value from the eventual aircraft contract is certain to benefit Finnish defense and engineering sector contractors, but in particular Patria, the state-owned group that capitalized on the final assembly program covering the Air Force's purchase of 57 F-18 C Hornets in the 1990s. Patria has provided continuing life-cycle support to the aircraft.

Consequently, the manufacturers of the five candidate aircraft short-listed by the Ministry of Defense — Boeing's Super Hornet, Lockheed Martin's F-35 Lightning II, the French Dassault Rafale, the Eurofighter Typhoon and Saab's JAS Gripen — will be required to beef-up their industrial cooperation and investment offerings....

...The Air Force is scheduled to retire the last of its current stock of 62 Hornets by 2030.

"A formal decision to proceed with the procurement project will be taken later in 2015. It is the government's intention to follow the report's recommendations," Niinisto said.

It is expected that the precise level of capital funding needed will be determined by a government decision on the number of aircraft to be bought. Neither the MoD nor the Air Force have indicated what this number will be.

"We are not commenting on the number of new fighters at this point, but what I can say is the current number of aircraft that we have has responded well to the operating needs of a country of this size," Puranen said."

Source: http://www.defensenews.com/story/defens ... /28943609/
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magitsu

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Unread post22 Jun 2015, 12:45

Good catch.

It's important to note that old-fashioned industry offsets are banned after an EU directive came into effect. http://ec.europa.eu/internal_market/pub ... ets_en.pdf (2010)

"If Offset is to be used as an award criterion, it cannot be of significant weight when determining the
economically most advantageous tender and can in no case be discriminating" http://liu.diva-portal.org/smash/get/di ... TEXT01.pdf

I think it was restricted further with an amendment that came into effect 1.1.2012.

The previous article, among others, talks about the Finnish fighter procurement and intentions of branding industrial cooperation as nationally important project, which seemingly allows more leeway. Unlike before the offsets can't be simply justified e.g. with economical reasons or simply providing jobs.
It's likely to realize in form of R&D investments between aerospace companies or something similar.

Current Min. of Defense Jussi Niinisto: "It is clear, however, whoever the manufacturer is, that industrial co-operation is an important factor with regards to making the choice. Keeping in mind the size of the purchase - we need to get a solution that will also benefit the Finnish economy." http://www.tiedetuubi.fi/tekniikka/suom ... pariisissa

Where and how maintenance happens is probably somewhat important due to emergency preparedness considerations.
Sweden and Gripen probably are the strongest in the industry part of the bid. Boeing and LM have plenty of experience due to previous projects (LM weapons procurement and integration, Boeing F-18 maint. and MLUs). E.g. JASSM has been said as one system that needs to transfer between the old and new. But it should be noted that the missiles could be in life-extension or replacement age at that time.

"We are not commenting on the number of new fighters at this point, but what I can say is the current number of aircraft that we have has responded well to the operating needs of a country of this size," Puranen said."

That (64 originally, 62 F/A-18 now) would potentially make it a very substantial F-35 acquisition compared to the numbers other European countries have signed on.
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Unread post21 Oct 2015, 10:02

Finnish MOD has been authorized by the Minister of Defense to start a fighter acquisition program to replace our Hornets (article in finnish):

http://www.iltasanomat.fi/kotimaa/art-1 ... 00489.html

RFI's will be sent to five suppliers (LockMart, Boeing, EADS, Dassault, Saab) in February 2016 and RFP's are expected to be sent in early 2018.

BTW, comment section for that article is full of usual "F-35 is crap/flop must buy Gripens" stuff...
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Unread post21 Oct 2015, 15:45

barrelnut wrote:BTW, comment section for that article is full of usual "F-35 is crap/flop must buy Gripens" stuff...


You can be sure that a good part of those comments are made by russian trolls. Right now the only way russia can "beat" a F-35 is through politics which it manipulates through false information which in turn affects public opinion.
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XanderCrews

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Unread post21 Oct 2015, 16:36

barrelnut wrote:Finnish MOD has been authorized by the Minister of Defense to start a fighter acquisition program to replace our Hornets (article in finnish):

http://www.iltasanomat.fi/kotimaa/art-1 ... 00489.html

RFI's will be sent to five suppliers (LockMart, Boeing, EADS, Dassault, Saab) in February 2016 and RFP's are expected to be sent in early 2018.

BTW, comment section for that article is full of usual "F-35 is crap/flop must buy Gripens" stuff...


What is the fascination with the gripen?
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geforcerfx

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Unread post21 Oct 2015, 16:43

XanderCrews wrote:
What is the fascination with the gripen?



I ask myself the same question every single day, it seems to just be that aircraft that if you can't afford the F-16 here's the next best (not equal)option. The Gripen NG will prob be the flop of the century aviation wise, lets release a 4th+ gen aircraft 20 years behind everyone else and see how it does. :shrug:
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Unread post21 Oct 2015, 16:51

Finnish air force launches Hornet replacement project
21 Oct 2015 Stephen Trimble

"The Finnish air force has launched a five-year process to select a new fighter to replace 61 active Boeing F/A-18C/Ds acquired in the 1990s.

Defence minister Jussi Niinistö authorised the air force on 20 October to begin the selection process for the HX fighter project.

Five fighters – the Boeing F/A-18E/F Super Hornet, Dassault Rafale, Eurofighter Typhoon, Lockheed Martin F-35 and Saab Gripen E – were named as candidates in a preliminary HX fighter project assessment released by the defence ministry.

The 64-page assessment recommends that the air force send requests for information to the potential bidders in February 2016, with responses due next October.

Requests for quotations will be sent out in February 2018, followed by the release of a final tender 12 months later. Contract award is recommended to occur in February 2021, with initial operational capability to be declared by the end of 2026 and full operational capability set for mid-2031.

Cost and low-observability have been an early focus of inquiry for the HX fighter project....

...The acquisition cost of the new fighter fleet is not possible within the defence ministry’s normal funding allotment, according to Niinistö’s statement. The Finnish parliament must decide how to finance the project under the legislature’s budget authority."

Source: https://www.flightglobal.com/news/artic ... ec-418040/
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cosmicdwarf

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Unread post21 Oct 2015, 17:07

XanderCrews wrote:
barrelnut wrote:Finnish MOD has been authorized by the Minister of Defense to start a fighter acquisition program to replace our Hornets (article in finnish):

http://www.iltasanomat.fi/kotimaa/art-1 ... 00489.html

RFI's will be sent to five suppliers (LockMart, Boeing, EADS, Dassault, Saab) in February 2016 and RFP's are expected to be sent in early 2018.

BTW, comment section for that article is full of usual "F-35 is crap/flop must buy Gripens" stuff...


What is the fascination with the gripen?

They have impressive marketing?
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KamenRiderBlade

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Unread post21 Oct 2015, 17:29

cosmicdwarf wrote:
XanderCrews wrote:
barrelnut wrote:Finnish MOD has been authorized by the Minister of Defense to start a fighter acquisition program to replace our Hornets (article in finnish):

http://www.iltasanomat.fi/kotimaa/art-1 ... 00489.html

RFI's will be sent to five suppliers (LockMart, Boeing, EADS, Dassault, Saab) in February 2016 and RFP's are expected to be sent in early 2018.

BTW, comment section for that article is full of usual "F-35 is crap/flop must buy Gripens" stuff...


What is the fascination with the gripen?

They have impressive marketing?


They are loved by Bill Sweetman and his ilk for being the perfect solution to mass swarm enemies in a glorious war of attrition.
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