Finnish DefMin Interest in F-35s NOT Gripens

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magitsu

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Unread post22 Oct 2015, 05:48

cosmicdwarf wrote:
XanderCrews wrote:What is the fascination with the gripen?

They have impressive marketing?

Their slideshow/brochure game is on point.

Familiar neighbor Sweden. Sentimental reasons. They see big scary numbers being thrown around and assume too much based on what current Gripen supposedly offers. Failing to even consider whether Gripen E is that much of an upgrade over the F/A-18. When at least for the air to ground part it seems like a definite downgrade. Random joes love the idea of dispersed operations which has been gaining more ground recently in the FiAF doctrine. They assume that operating from highways is some unique capacity of Hornet and Gripen. Restrictions related to operating from such places rarely enter into discussion. Everyone also tends to conveniently forget how many neighbors have already been leaning towards F-35. They can't possibly have that much different needs.

Objectively put there is little reason buy them. Sweden needs that deal much more than Finland. Either way they are forced to cooperate with Finland in the defense of the area. Geopolitically it's interesting to consider what Rafale would entail in the big picture. For smaller countries it's never about one single system. Lately FDF has probably bought as much materiel* from LM alone than from all French companies combined. Typhoon is a project without a master, which unlike the Rafale isn't going to be the sole solution for any of it's host countries - everyone is buying complementary F-35s.
Ideally Rafale would go head to head with F-35. Gripen is a poor man's fighter, not ambitious enough for improving Finnish geopolitical positioning.

The tough part in this project is related to numbers and securing non-budget dependent funding. I wonder which one is seen as the more crucial part, numbers or total cost and what kind of deductions it forces.

There's also the question of trainer jets. New solution for 2030-> is needed.

*French systems:
Ground Master 400
Crotale
Apilas

LM systems:
MLRS (permission to buy GMLRS is being processed)
Dragon Shield ISR
JASSM (has to be transferred to Hornet replacement according to the minister of d)

So both (though not Dassault specifically) have extensive experience working with FiAF.
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Unread post22 Oct 2015, 10:38

Finland Report on Hornet Replacement PDF attached. Graphic of timeline from it below.
Preliminary Assessment for Replacing the Capabilities of the Hornet Fleet Final Report
08 Jun 2015 Finland MinDef

Source: http://www.defmin.fi/files/3182/HX-ENG.pdf (0.5Mb)
Attachments
Finland Fighter Replacement HX-ENG Jun 2015.pdf
(540.8 KiB) Downloaded 305 times
FinlandHXprogramSchedule.gif
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hornetfinn

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Unread post22 Oct 2015, 11:39

Finnish acquisition timeline seems to put Rafale, Super Hornet and Typhoon in a tough spot as it's quite likely that none of these will be produced after 2018 or so. Rafale might go couple of years longer, but it's still tough to keep production line capable of delivering aircraft but not producing aircraft for 5-10 years. JAS Gripen E might be produced in very limited numbers, but of course it also offers very limited capabilities. Professionals will understand this, but general public does not understand these things at all. Even many enthusiasts don't understand these issues at all. Of course there are a lot denigrating F-35 in Finnish media and internet forums. I think some of that comes from certain geographical direction...

If considering only military and technological aspects, there is no way F-35 loses. It can lose on political and financial aspect though, but hopefully this decision will be made like our selection of F/A-18 C/D Hornet and be done by professionals after thorough evaluation process.
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Unread post22 Oct 2015, 17:40

Canada might end up buying time for one manufacturer to be around for the Finnish decision.
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cosmicdwarf

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Unread post22 Oct 2015, 18:00

cantaz wrote:Canada might end up buying time for one manufacturer to be around for the Finnish decision.

Possibly. It depends on how long our process takes.
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popcorn

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Unread post31 Oct 2015, 12:33

Hard to see F-35 losing this sale.


http://www.defensedaily.com/finnish-air ... -facility/


Finnish Air Force Officials Visit F-35 Facility

The Finnish Ministry of Defence in June said a working group proposed buying multi-role fighter jets after making a preliminary assessment of how to replace its F/A-18 aircraft. Finland said the life cycle of its F/A-18s will end by the end of 2020s.

The project to replace the F/A-18s will last about 15 years and needs to be launched this fall at the latest. Finland said the procurement decision should be made in the early 2020s.
"When a fifth-generation fighter meets a fourth-generation fighter—the [latter] dies,”
CSAF Gen. Mark Welsh
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raffaauk48

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Unread post31 Oct 2015, 13:11

Finnland should follow Norway and buy F-35.
Russians will think twice now before making any stupid move in Scandinavia !
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magitsu

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Unread post31 Oct 2015, 13:56

popcorn wrote:Hard to see F-35 losing this sale.

Yes, and not only because of technical merit.
I think that developing bilateral ties with the United States is of utmost importance because Finland is not in the NATO. If it was the geopolitical side of the selection would be more relaxed.

Correction to the previous quote: the project was launched 20th Oct.
The decision happens 2021. The next cabinet should still be serving. The current cabinet will handle RFI & RFP.
Key members (mostly the Chief of Defence, who is former Mig-21 and Hornet pilot - was actually trained for that in the US) have been busy visiting all manufacturers lately.

The group that did the background study for starting this project looked into Norway, Denmark and Canada.
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Unread post02 Dec 2015, 17:40

RFIs are being sent to BAE Systems, Dassault Aviation, Saab, Lockheed Martin and Boeing.
It's not model-specific, so even the viability of F-15 and F-16 could be evaluated if the manufacturers decide to provide that info. There is no one fixed number, but several different size packages that could be used to fill the capability requirement.

Newest turn of events is that supposedly mixed fleet is not out of the picture.

The amount of other operators for the platform was pointed as a major factor when looking into future sustainment costs.

Covering all bases it seems. Mixed fleet analysis sounds like a complete waste of time.

http://www.hs.fi/kotimaa/a1449030147399
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popcorn

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Unread post03 Dec 2015, 03:01

A mixed flleet possibility could be a ploy to ensure initial participaion by other vendors given the apparent prererence for the F-35. It would be embarrassing to throw a party and only one guest shows up. :devil:
"When a fifth-generation fighter meets a fourth-generation fighter—the [latter] dies,”
CSAF Gen. Mark Welsh
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krorvik

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Unread post03 Dec 2015, 14:58

... but it would simplify the choice :mrgreen:
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Unread post03 Dec 2015, 19:20

magitsu wrote:RFIs are being sent to BAE Systems, Dassault Aviation, Saab, Lockheed Martin and Boeing.
It's not model-specific, so even the viability of F-15 and F-16 could be evaluated if the manufacturers decide to provide that info. There is no one fixed number, but several different size packages that could be used to fill the capability requirement.

Newest turn of events is that supposedly mixed fleet is not out of the picture.

The amount of other operators for the platform was pointed as a major factor when looking into future sustainment costs.

Covering all bases it seems. Mixed fleet analysis sounds like a complete waste of time.

http://www.hs.fi/kotimaa/a1449030147399


A mixed fleet implemented by an air force of this size probably won't save significant amounts of money. If the Finns went in this direction, and assuming that the mixed fleet concept is in reaction to the potentially crippling costs of operating the F-35, then it would make sense to procure another type that could share the same weapons, like Gripen and Super Hornet. I would go with the Super Hornet, given its unmatched ability to carry a greater mix of weaponry, and prior investment in support equipment.
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Unread post04 Dec 2015, 00:55

So it's so now more affordable to grow a separate logistics tail to support just squadron or two of a less capable, less survivable aircraft? I'll give the Finns more credit than that and see the multiple RFIs as an exercise in due dilligence. No skin off their nose.
Last edited by popcorn on 04 Dec 2015, 02:32, edited 1 time in total.
"When a fifth-generation fighter meets a fourth-generation fighter—the [latter] dies,”
CSAF Gen. Mark Welsh
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magitsu

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Unread post04 Dec 2015, 02:23

Yep, more likely just an acknowledgement from the military towards the politicians that will ultimately decide. Starting from the allotted budget. Broad assessment leaves least room to unanswered questions. It's easier to sell whatever gets picked when there's proof that the unknowns are certainly not better.

If mixed fleet was mandated with this kind of resources, I think it would make sense to pick M-346 and arm that for secondary duties and the rest F-35. This is keeping in mind that BAe Hawks retire with the F/A-18C/D and a whole new training scheme needs to be built.
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Unread post04 Dec 2015, 02:44

Vaguely I recall some EUROPES intending to operate F-35s to get together a training cadre - perhaps that was just talk? ¯\_(ツ)_/¯ Then there is the initial USofA training sites with perhaps glomming on there?
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