Finnish DefMin Interest in F-35s NOT Gripens

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magitsu

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Unread post08 Oct 2021, 11:56

Plenty of finding out left after the negotiations with the winner conclude. For example how the required infrastructure in Finland will look compared to the supposedly much more expensive cases in Denmark and Norway.

Somoeone on the Finnish forums supposedly heard from PW in the Kaivari21 air show that they are offering F135 construction in the BAFO. I doubt that is quite the right impression given how partners are jealous and Switzerland got only canopy manufacture. Also there's one engine maintenance center in Norway (which the Finnish state owned Patria is half owned by, the other being Kongsberg).
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optimist

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Unread post09 Oct 2021, 04:49

I saw this post on a Finnish forum and thought it was relevant. As it gives a local perspective of an aviation magazine.

"The Wings magazine's big comparison of Finnish candidates: American fighters at the forefront"

The F-35 was the winner in a large, thorough comparison made by Siivetlehti, Finland's only commercial aviation magazine. "

"Here are the results of the comparison:
1. Lockheed Martin F-35 (United States) 47 points

2. Boeing F / A-18 Super Hornet (United States) 42p.

3. Eurofighter Typhoon (UK / Germany / Spain / Italy) 38.5 p.

4. Dassault Rafale (France) 34.5 p.

5. Saab Gripen E (Sweden) 33 p. "

https://www.iltalehti.fi/kotimaa/a/64ce ... bbfdc51855

https://siivet.fi/tiedote/f-35-voitti-s ... vertailun/
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hornetfinn

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Unread post13 Oct 2021, 06:29

I think the "problem" with such comparison as Siivet-lehti did is that it has equal weight for all criteria and so stealth. It also relies on public information, which may be inaccurate or even totally wrong. For example I doubt anybody outside the HX program evaluators really know the differences between the competitors when it comes to EW or even combat radius. Of course that comparison was just for an article and they did state that only the evaluators can really compare the aircraft.
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Corsair1963

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Unread post13 Oct 2021, 06:47

hornetfinn wrote:I think the "problem" with such comparison as Siivet-lehti did is that it has equal weight for all criteria and so stealth. It also relies on public information, which may be inaccurate or even totally wrong. For example I doubt anybody outside the HX program evaluators really know the differences between the competitors when it comes to EW or even combat radius. Of course that comparison was just for an article and they did state that only the evaluators can really compare the aircraft.



Yes, in the "Real World" the F-35's margin would be far greater! :wink:
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optimist

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Unread post13 Oct 2021, 08:07

It was just to show a local magazine. To give a feel to what is happening there. At least the f-35 was 1st.
Sweetman would have had the Gripen as number 1. :mrgreen:

hornetfinn wrote:I think the "problem" with such comparison as Siivet-lehti did is that it has equal weight for all criteria and so stealth. It also relies on public information, which may be inaccurate or even totally wrong. For example I doubt anybody outside the HX program evaluators really know the differences between the competitors when it comes to EW or even combat radius. Of course that comparison was just for an article and they did state that only the evaluators can really compare the aircraft.

I was told years ago and I don't think it has changed. Even things like the actual RCS is only given after the contract is signed. There is enough data given for an evaluation. It doesn't contain the real secret stuff. Some countries like to see what is out there and invite everyone.
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hornetfinn

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Unread post13 Oct 2021, 12:01

optimist wrote:It was just to show a local magazine. To give a feel to what is happening there. At least the f-35 was 1st.
Sweetman would have had the Gripen as number 1. :mrgreen:


Totally true. They basically took similar approach to how car magazines compare similar cars to each other or similar mobile phones are compared to each other although many times some characteristics is weighed more and some less. That works nicely when all are technologically at the same level. Actually if F-35 wasn't there, it could give pretty good idea how the fighters compare to each other. It's pretty easy when all the features are fairly close to each other in all the aircraft. But when suddenly one aircraft has one very important feature that is several orders of magnitude different to all the others, direct comparisons in other characteristics will quickly become a lot less relevant. For example it doesn't matter if EW system in other fighters were better than that in F-35 as those EW systems would need to be several orders of magnitude better just to compensate for RCS. Even then they would not have similar survivability as EW systems have other limitations and blasting out Megawatts of jamming power is certain to get a lot of attention. Networking is another thing that sets F-35 apart from others and that was missing in this magazine article. Having very LPI/LPD and very high-speed and low latency data link with networked sensor fusion makes F-35 totally unique in this competition giving it unparalleled SA even if it didn't have the best and most sensors of all competitors.

Of course other things are important also, but for example combat radius, speed, maneuverability etc are all pretty close to each other and likely good enough in all candidates. Of course it depends on what kind of loadouts are compared. F-35 tends to get a lot better comparatively when combat configurations are compared and not just clean aircraft.

But I really wish we get some kind of info nuggets from this competition as they likely get a lot of really interesting info out of the wargames. I'd really like to see how many aircraft of each they had flyable at the end of the wargame rounds and how many targets were destroyed in the process. Somehow I doubt we'll get that kind of info though... :mrgreen:
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magitsu

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Unread post15 Oct 2021, 14:51

I took a look at the Siivet ranking at a local library. It seems they admitted that the HX project emphasizes the future outlook of the systems much more than they did.
They assessed that Growler + SH is more relevant in combat right now (which is contentious imot) but F-35 had the lead in ISR (with SH+G being 2nd there).
Rafale was mostly dissed due to them being the least forthcoming about their bid. But what I agree with is that is they assessed that it has been more land and sea oriented (lack of HMDS, new MICA still to come) as Typhoon, which has had pure air intercept focus. Then they thought that Rafale's power generation is lacking (also Gripen's which they thought would require something amazing in the future due to the low powede single engine) and the not impressive panels compared to large displays of others.
Dassault had told them that Finland required some specific things so they had dubbed the offering as Rafale F4+. My assessment is that it probably inculdes some of the Indian spec extra avionics.

Saab's two GlobalEyes the magazine thought would be relevant only in peace time. They considered that just two of them can't be competently protected by a small detachment of fighters or other setup. Too few high value targets.
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Unread post16 Oct 2021, 10:24

New article (basically a biography), but this part is pure personal trivia. The relevant part is in the next post.
“This isn’t like some car purchase,” says the former Draken pilot, who was made the fighter acquisition project shield man.

Lauri Puranen, chairman of the Finnish fighter project, reminds that the purchase of fighters is not a car sale.

Within two months, the Finnish state will make the largest arms deal in its history, when the government decides on the choice of a fighter of almost ten billion euros.

Behind it is a years-long unique selection process, with the final scores, reports and memos being written in the defense administration these weeks.

The choice will affect Finland's entire national defense for the next 30 years.

In mid-October, a drop of a paper clip would be heard in the corridors of the Ministry of Defense. No one is visible anywhere.

Between the curtains of the conference room is a view of the courtyard, which is like a trace of the Helsinki bombings. Openings have been torn in the side of the opposite building, the former home of the General Staff. The building will be demolished and replaced by a new one for the Finnish Security and Intelligence Service.

From a portrait hung on the wall, a general with a stern appearance looks on: Oiva Olenius was the Chief of Staff of the Ministry of Defense during the war years and long after that.

Lauri Puranen, Program Director for Strategic Projects at the Ministry of Defense, is sitting at the conference table. In the eyes of the general public, politicians and the media, he's Mr HX.

Air force pilots with their grins always walk with their jackets open. Is it true that pilots' leather jackets don't even have zippers?

The former Draken pilot is amused.

"I don't know what's in it, but pretty much leather jacket is carried with a zipper open, but then when it's cold, yes, it's zipped."

Puranen retired from the post of the Commander of the Air Force in March 2014. Or transferred into the reserve, as the soldiers say.

Puranen says that he was at the helm of a plane the last time when he flew from Helsinki to his own farewell with a Pilatus connection plane.

“There I left the plane. I no longer have any permits to fly.”

However, Puranen's retirement days were short. The General Staff already contacted in June and offered a job. That was the beginning of a new career as a civil servant.

The General Staff wanted Puranen to make a preliminary study on the replacement of the capability of the Hornet fighters. In plain speak, he had to prepare a public report on the replacement of the Hornets and the reasoning for it.

The project was so significant that the Ministry of Defense took the report from the General Staff to itself.

Following the completion of the preliminary study, the Defense Forces' second major strategic project, Squadron 2020 [four corvettes for the Navy], became topical.

The Ministry of Defense also wanted to direct the Navy project, so a new fixed-term strategic project unit was established at the ministry, which Puranen set out to lead.

“They wanted an independent to lead the projects here for the ministry. It was felt that I was independent because I was already retired.”

https://www.hs.fi/politiikka/art-2000008298627.html
Last edited by magitsu on 16 Oct 2021, 10:50, edited 2 times in total.
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magitsu

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Unread post16 Oct 2021, 10:33

One of Puranen's most prominent tasks has been to give a face to the purchase of the successor to the Hornet fighters, the HX project.

He coordinates, responds to the media, and visits with other defense officials to inform politicians when decision-makers deem it necessary.

Something about Puranen's role is said by the fact that he has been heard by the Parliamentary Defense Committee on the HX project 18 times already. He does pay tribute to the members of the committee.

"Once the committee chairman has declared that the matter is confidential, nothing has ever been leaked."

In terms of Puranen's job description, the Ministry of Defense has been very successful. Indeed, many think he is the actual project manager for the HX project. However, this is not the case.

The key management team of the project consists of four men, one of whom is Puranen.

The other three are the Director of the Defense Forces Logistics Department, the Air Force Chief of Staff and the actual project manager of the HX project tender, who is an engineering officer at the Logistics Department.

Puranen admits that he is a shield for the HX project, which has created peace of mind for the actual project organization and its leader.

“The project personnel of the Defense Forces are so busy that they want to be protected. I am the talking head that is sacrificed on the altar of the media. ”

Puranen has been a conscientious spokesman who comments, gives interviews and always responds to call requests. He is precise in detail, but understands the role of the media.

Puranen has also written a blog in which he has opened ongoing strategic projects. He has also used his blog to respond to critical media coverage.

Something about Puranen's prestige and perhaps the toothlessness of Finnish journalism is told by the fact that often his “roar” has been published as it is, as if it were the ultimate truth.

HX has received criticism for its high cost, the transfer of former high-ranking officers to vendors' payrolls, and the meaningfulness of the entire project as aircraft, missiles, and anti-aircraft develop rapidly.

“Mainly, the media has worked well. Some individual stories are vexing, but that always happens. There is nothing left between the teeth.”

Though Puranen is indeed irked by doubts that in the HX project, the generals would decide and the politicians would be just rubber stamps.

“We have always received guidance from political leadership. Political guidance has already left there since 2015, ”he says.

"The Prime Minister has demanded that the decision-makers receive all possible information to form a basis for decision-making and it will be provided to them."

According to Puranen, the selection of fighters has progressed in stages, and political decisions have always been sought at certain stages.

"There is a defense report in the background, three government programs and always before the launch of the call for tenders, the guidelines of the Committee of Ministers for Economic Policy have been sought, as they are directly related to the calls for tenders."

According to Puranen, it would be out of the question to bring something surprising in front of the politicians at the time of the decision.

Puranen says that times have changed since the Hornets were acquired. Since then, some questionable issues have been revealed from the decision-making process of the time.

“It is positive that the project and political guidance have been put well together. It has been the foundation of success. Whenever we have reached a stage, we have had political support.”

Another clearly annoying thing for Puranen is the suspicion that the Defense Forces would have some favorite fighter.

“One thing that the Minister and the Chief of Staff have set as an absolute requirement for me is to follow fairness. I haven't seen anyone being favored. It's pretty harsh stuff what's being looked at and evaluated there.”

The process of selecting a new fighter has been laborious.

"We have had three rounds of tendering, four rounds of negotiations and five candidates."

Puranen calculates that each round of negotiations with all five bidders always took a total of ten weeks. The rounds of negotiations were conducted by first negotiating with the vendors for a week and then a second week to discuss the results and write memos and reports.

“We have put the bidders in a very tight spot. It was reflected in the responses to the final call for tenders. Everyone has really tried their best.”

The HX project is currently in the final stages of bringing together the results of different candidates based on security of supply, life cycle costs, industrial collaboration and performance.

Each area is evaluated by its own working group, which does not share information with other groups. This is to ensure that the assessments of the groups do not interfere with each other.

“There's 100 people doing all this. No individual can influence the decision, ”Puranen assures.

The multi-annual evaluation process ends with the working groups taking turns presenting their findings to a separate evaluation team made up of senior officials and officers from the Ministry of Defense and the various branches of the Defense Forces.

The winner will be selected from among fighter candidates who pass the requirements of security of supply, life cycle costs and industrial cooperation. Those who pass are finally ranked according to the points given for the military performance of the fighters.

The group decision is made by a dozen people. For example, I have refused to be involved in any evaluation and vote. I am an observer in everything. I can't influence the voting decision, ”says Puranen.

The Minister of Defense has promised the proposal to the Government before Christmas.

"That in itself is a good time to decide, because it will naturally take time for Christmas to take your breath away, but when the Christmas holidays are over, things will move forward in full force."

Puranen reminds that the choice of a fighter is not the end of the project but really the beginning. This will be followed by preparations for final contracts, training of people, structural changes required by the bases and the impact of the acquisition on national defense.

“This is nothing like some car dealership where you buy a car and drive away. This is a huge task. ”
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Unread post21 Oct 2021, 11:26

Interesting. USN wants Auto-GCAS on the F/A-18C/D. There's another nice to have thing (apart from the AESA radar) that missed the MLU schedule of the Finnish Hornets. Now it's too late. http://alert5.com/2021/10/21/usn-wants- ... f-a-18c-d/
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Unread post22 Oct 2021, 12:25

This is the latest, “deadly” version of the Super Hornet fighter that Boeing offers Finland - A tough promise of maintenance costs compared to the current Hornet
22.10.2021

Deliveries of Boeing's upgraded Super Hornet to the United States have begun. We visited the United States to find out what has been improved in the new version of Super Hornet and why it would be the best option for Finland's next multi-purpose fighter.
“The key features of the upgrade are fighter networking, lethality, and resilience,” says Jennifer Tebo, the director of Super Hornet and Growler programs at Boeing.

The Block III updated Super Hornet has a new data link, the specs of which aren't fully disclosed. However, according to Tebo, the data link network latency is lower than before and the bandwidth is higher.

“The new processor in the task computer, DTP-N, increases the performance of the computer 17 times higher than before. In addition, the system architecture is now open, meaning that new features can be added to the system quickly without being dependent on the normal software development cycle.”

According to Tebo, the system also better supports pilot decision-making.

The update will also bring an infrared sensor to the Super Hornet, the importance of which Tebo emphasizes especially when tracking stealth fighters. The cockpit is equipped with a 10x19-inch touch screen, and the planned life of the fuselage has increased from 6,000 flight hours to 10,000 hours.

According to Tebo, the machine also has a “decent signature reduction ability”, which is implemented mainly with hull coating materials.

Originally, the Block III upgrade also included new, fixed auxiliary fuel tanks that would increase the aircraft's range, the distance it can fly and return to its starting point of about 120 to 130 nautical miles (220 to 240 km).

However, the U.S. Navy is abandoning the conformal fuel tanks, apparently [this is likely still reporter speculation] due to technical problems with operations on aircraft carriers. However, Block III fighters will be fitted with the structures to which the additional tanks would be attached. Both the United States and Finland would have the option of installing the tanks later if the need arises.



Boeing’s St. Louis plant is currently manufacturing orders for 78 new Block III Super Hornets from the U.S. Navy, the last of which is scheduled to come from the production line in 2024. In addition, the company will convert existing fleet fighters to Block III.

Tebo does not want to take a position on fleet plans, but points out that the U.S. Super Hornet and Growler fleet does not have any official retirement year.

“When you think about the capabilities that the fighters bring, they are part of the fleet fleet well into the 2040s and beyond. This equipment is needed. The conversion of Block 2 machines to the Block 3 standard will continue well into the 2030s. It also brings 4,000 hours more life to the frame. The fleet would not do that if the fighters were not designed for a long operational life.”

“With these prospects, carrier fleets consist of combinations of Super Hornets, Growlers and F-35s. They complement each other.”

According to Kennedy, the roles of aircraft types are not limited so that the F-35 would be primarily a tool for strikes into controlled airspace, to the enemy's rear.

“The Super Hornet also has this ability when it comes with Growler protecting and destroying the enemy’s air defenses. It is said that the F-35 would survive on its own, but yes it also needs EW capability. Growler operates in a wider part of the frequency spectrum, and its jamming equipment is in principle capable of 360-degree coverage, while the F-35's AESA radar operates mainly in the front sector of the aircraft.”

However, Growler does much more than just disrupt the enemy’s air defense, emphasizes John “JJ” Thompson, campaign manager for systems integrator Northrop Grumman.

“Growler operates in a wide frequency band from UHF all the way over the X-band (8-12 GHz). It processes and locates frequencies, not just warning systems. ”

In practice, therefore, Growler is able to analyze and classify the electromagnetic spectrum according to, for example, whether it is its own, an enemy or a neutral actor.

“If the hardware only gives a list of frequencies and pulse widths, it still doesn’t help very much. Growler also helps to understand intentions.”

According to Winston, Growler typically flies with two NGJ-MBs weighing about 600 kg.

“It gives a 360-degree range, and the tanks talk to each other. If Growler interferes using the tank on the left and starts turning, the interference will jump to the right without interruption in the signal. ”

360-degree coverage is thus realized horizontally. The interference tank is also used against objects moving in the air, but the y-axis coverage has its limitations.

"We wanted to focus on the front and back sectors for the offensive and withdrawal phases."

Winston does not specify in detail what kind of frequency band NGJ-MB covers. However, he said, the Navy just wanted to prioritize the development of a new mid-band jammer because that frequency band has the most threats.

Raytheon also plans to bid for a high-band jammer. L3 Harris was elected as the manufacturer of the low-band transmitter last December, although Northrop Grumman has protested the election.



“More than 90 percent of Hornet's technology is maintained in Finland. We’ve created a similar model for [Super Hornet], and not all other competitors may be able to do the same.”

Boeing offers Finland the opportunity to final assemble all 50 Super Hornets. The special EA-18G Growler fighters (14 units) included in the offer would be assembled in the United States. Of course, building an assembly line in Finland will be a little more expensive than manufacturing fighters in the United States.

If necessary, the General Electric F414 motors of the fighters can also be assembled in Finland, and maintenance would be performed at Linnavuori [current Patria Aviation jet engine maintenance facility in Nokia, Finland] as before.

According to Laine, the proven Super Hornet is cheaper to maintain than the current Hornet - of course, this is also something that the HX organization evaluates in the end.

"It's not about promises like some of our competitors: it's said that maybe one day we'll be at a certain price level per flight hour."

According to Boeing's representatives, the company's offer exceeds the threshold of EUR 500 million set for indirect business cooperation - of course, this too will eventually be evaluated by the HX project organization.

Indirect projects relate at least to artificial intelligence, unmanned systems both in the air and on the ground, cyber, space and sensor technologies, maintenance and materials technology.

https://www.uusisuomi.fi/uutiset/tallai ... 9edcb0ea2d
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steve2267

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Unread post22 Oct 2021, 16:15

I have read that LM really put its foot in its mouth long ago when the Hornet won the previous Finnish fighter competition. I am unsure if LM's attitude came across as arrogant or nonchalant, but it apparently did nothing to help the F-16. How is LM presently perceived in Finland? Positively? Negatively? Neutrally? Did LM learn from its past mistake and conducted itself much better this time around?

Boing certainly seems to be playing all the angles it can, since its product (with possible exception of Growler) is technically obsolete in the face of the Lightning.
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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Unread post22 Oct 2021, 16:58

LM is basically the "court supplier" of FDF, along with Saab. So many systems from them in use.

General Dynamics perhaps blundered with F-16. They offered earlier models first, apparently with Sparrow. Then by the time Hornet appeared (it wasn't part of the original selection due to being perceived as too expensive) they scrambled for F-16 C/D. But Hornet had the better radar at that point and once the Finns selected it, they secured access to Amraam as among the first even in Nato (the AIM-120B version). The Hornet purchase was seen as very big deal around that time. Because it was start of an economic downturn and the USSR just having collapsed didn't exactly keep the military spending elsewhere in the west as a priority.

GD in the end failed to meet the technical spec fully. Only Mirage 2000-5 and Hornet did. Besides this GD's offset scheme didn't satisfy the local industry. But their offer was the cheapest. Finland could've had 67 F-16 instead of 64 F-18.

So yes, GD's approach looks a bit arrogant when looking back.

They seem to have a level head this time around. Probably because the connections from previous purchases are there, and the process is long and well managed. They also know that this is a serious buyer, which might not have been evident the last time around. That time they could've come in with the attitude of take it or leave it.
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