Finnish DefMin Interest in F-35s NOT Gripens

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XanderCrews

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Unread post16 Mar 2021, 18:10

loke wrote:
The F-35’s greatest operational limitations are likely to be exposed in the Indo-Pacific where the distances involved in potential US combat operations against Chinese forces make all tactical fighters uncomfortably dependent on vulnerable tanker support. This is a factor which may reduce F-35 procurement in favour of more B-21s and UCAVs

https://rusi.org/publication/rusi-defen ... xaggerated

In a new report titled “Thunder without Lightning,” (PDF) authored by Bill French and Daniel Edgren for the National Security Network (NSN), argues that the United States’ fifth-generation fighter, the Lockheed Martin F-35 Lightning II Joint Strike Fighter (JSF), has major shortcomings that will leave it particularly ill-suited to project air power in the Asia-Pacific region. [...]

In short, the F-35 just doesn’t have the right feature set to thrive in the geographically expansive war-fighting scenarios foreseen in the Asia-Pacific.

Specifically, the authors write that “The F-35’s short range means that it will be of limited use in geographically expansive theaters like the Asia-Pacific or against so-called anti-access threats whereby adversaries can target forward airbases.”

https://thediplomat.com/2015/08/why-the ... a-pacific/

Asked if there will be two variants of the NGAD—one for Europe, where combat ranges are small, and one for the Indo-Pacific, where distances are great—Brown said “the goal is to provide … as much range as possible.” A longer-legged aircraft “provides you additional options” for basing, and will require fewer tankers, adding to the force’s flexibility.

https://www.airforcemag.com/tacair-stud ... ge-needed/

In the long run, if expeditionary operations are truly the future mode
of USAF employment, it may be desirable to acquire a fleet of combat
aircraft that is better suited to the demands of long-range operations.
The current mix of aircraft, designed during the Cold War, is optimized to fight a relatively short-range air campaign in Central Europe or on the Korean peninsula. The next generation of USAF
fighter and attack aircraft, the F-22 and F-35 JSF, will likely have
about the same range as current systems, making them no more capable of conducting extended-range operations without heavy tanker support. The USAF may want to consider whether improving
its flexibility and capability for challenging future expeditionary operations makes it worthwhile to consider a new generation of longer-range, higher-speed combat aircraft

https://www.rand.org/content/dam/rand/p ... MR1216.pdf

Yes the long ranges of Asia Pacific has been known, and F-35 is not really suited. One can argue why (lack of foresight/hindsight, lack of money, lack of technology, lack of imagination) but in any case, here we are.


its a fighter class airplane, of course its not going to have the reach of a strategic bomber. If you want something not a fighter, then get not a fighter.

We bought a screwdriver, its not conducive to hammering. Yes thats what the hammer is for.

Again none of this is new, and the Range question regarding F-35 and the pacific is nothing new either. Also wasn't aware the cold war was still going on in 1995.


I suspect that although the US has been aware of the potential of China for a long time, they did not really predict the rapid military growth we've seen recently, and the implications.


people have been predicting it for decades

China's navy launched 25 major ships in 2020 in spite of the pandemic. They have made a lot of progress on the "carrier killers" but also systems to take out Guam and other bases.


Chinese missile spam is nothing new

If the USMC has known for decades that China would reach this level in 2021,why did they recently decide to retire attack helicopters from 2005?? Or did they not see this coming in 2005...


Because we also had to fight the war on terror Loki. have you heard of it? Norway is there too. We tried to field EFV, but we got MRAP instead. me and others knew MRAPs were useless going forward even then. We fielded V-22 in 2007. Buckle up for this but the Marines who wanted to get away from GWOT in a big way around 2011 have really been obsessing with their favorite battlefield, the pacific for sometime. What you are seeing with example above is essentially "total commitment" The Marines have prided themselves on being a "multi-tool" we are now going "all in" for better or worse. we just have to hope we don't get "side-showed" again.

The US Military, and especially the Marines are expected to do everything from disaster relief to full scale nuclear war. What that means is that we have to have a "broad portfolio of options" in todays parlance. Attack helicopters are a part of that, and helicopters are pretty critical in COIN ops the way we do them. Fire support. So why didn't the Marines fully invest in anti china ASW options in Afghanistan and Iraq? we can only wonder! Its a balance. The US Military can't can't decide to "mutiny" against civilian officials, leave Afghanistan and start writing itself blank checks to fight China. What doomed the F-22 was the perception that the USAF was pursuing an expensive and unneeded weapon system while the troops were woefully underfunded and under-equipped for Afghanistan. Me and MANY others (I'm not some nostrodomos, we could read timelines) knew this was a near-sighted mistake, but it wasn't even the USAF's call. Now we have fleets of useless MRAPs rotting away (worse being sold to police as surplus at home) while we have to pursue NGAD, F-15EX to make up for the shortfall. So predictable.

Image

A yes, the tiny town of "Afghanistan" between the Norwegian and Russian border...

the USMC has the F-35B which is the variant with the least amount of Range and yet the USMC says its one of the few systems they really like going forward. Schrodingers F-35, where its both great and terrible for the pacific. You're cherry picking. again F-35 and pacific range questions is nothing new. in fact I've seen it discussed many times here on F-16.net

The bottom line is fighters are always going to be "under-ranged compared" to the big boys. The thing with range in the pacific is that it is so vast, Range becomes like money. You can never really have "too much" so everything short of again strategic bombers (and even they have to be tanked), is going to look like "not enough" that's what the tankers are for. its complicated. The B-1R was proposed back in the late 2000s for exactly this scenario. Again a wacky and unnecessary thing for bombing "cave terrorists" And thats the problem. Every"conventional" system we have tried to field the last 20 years has come under ridiculous scrutiny

If we designed the next "fighter" to be a 3G limited, gun-less, flying gas tank the size of a YF-12, but shaped like an A-12 that is not a fighter, but a bomber that happens to plunk AMRAAMs, it would have been DOA. its not a fighter that way. we also compromise it in other areas, like the ability to operate off roads and other improvised areas. Since airplanes cost by the pound it would have made the F-22 look like a bargain, and the export interest would be about zero.

So we decided to make the Joint strike fighter a strike fighter replacement for our strike fighters. complicated I know. The issue is not the "fighter" part. The Fighter is doing exactly what its supposed to, the issue was a lack of investment in Strategic bombers. Don't buy a cat and be mad that its not a dog. if you wanted dogs, buy dogs. So the bigger question is not that fighters are fighters, but why the US shifted away from big-wing bombers toward more fighter-centric only strike forces. Now of course the big wing bombers still do the majority of the damage (in a big way, the stats for strat. bomber vs fighters are insane) but that only begs the question more... Why didn't the USAF pursue B-21 sooner? and why didn't they get it? The F-35 which is already maligned as a "jack of all trade master of none" program trying to do too much was supposed to supplant B-series bombers as well? Really?

Which brings us back to a few other interesting points we have idea if NGAD is even a "fighter" NGAD may be a UAV Swarm, it could a massive YF-12 sized optionally manned fighter. system of systems --we have no idea. because its not a conventional fighter and most of it is classified. theres also competing ideas about what should be included and what should be left out still I know that for certain because I can see the symptoms leak out. In this very thread you're advocating that Finland wait for a fighter we don't even know will be affordable or even exportable. You have no idea the size or the scope. Yet Finland should kick the can down the road? what if it can't operate from road at all? same with Tempest. Whats it going to weigh? cost? infrastructure? size? You have no idea. ops costs? We don't know what an F-35 will cost in 2025, but we know what a tempest will cost in 2040? That's pretty amazing don't you think?

UAVs are not going to be the be all and end all, with cyber and other EW the US is trying to pursue a careful balance. somethings can't be cheated too even when you remove the man from them.


Loki I'm sorry I actually got paid to do this and was involved in it first hand, if you're going to try and "gotcha" me all day with cherry picked internet research, I'm going to tell you, you're wasting your time. You're not going to change my mind, because I was there and actually have the inside info and the experience and first hand knowledge. And since I can't talk about a lot of things, we will run into THAT barrier eventually --and you're not worth my honor or the jail time-- like I said what youre seeing is "accidently on purpose" leaked panic. You're seeing all kinds of studies, think tanks, op-eds and other lets say "stuff" thats being leaked out to drive the narrative that the US Military is woefully under-funded and under-prepared, despite all the funding and all the preperation we've done. the conclusion will inevitably more weapons, and more money.

Image

and I'm not saying that the US military is perfectly prepared because you're never prepared enough for a war, but what I am saying is it not the absolute emergency its being made out to be, and frankly I'm insulted by it, but I understand what they're doing.

They had your number though :mrgreen:

Whats happening is an effect that goes all the way back to SECDEF Gates and the F-22 debacle, and subsequent reveal by China of their new stealth fighter to him. The Military is now holding a bullhorn to the politicians ears and screaming "Remember when we kept saying NOW, and you said 'not now, later' well its NOW, NOW"

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XanderCrews

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Unread post16 Mar 2021, 19:58

back to Finland, the airplane that should be absolutely completely rethought in the region is the Gripen E. its a gen 4.5 fighter that is still years away. its not in service. its the least produced, least mature, least developed option and its ridiculously expensive on the eve of this amazing shift to Loyal Wingman, and with Tempest and NGAD on the horizon I have no idea why Sweden should even bother with it outside jobs welfare, and they're still 2 years from their first airplane being received and 3-4 years after that from FOC. They can nip this in the bud without having to scrap a single airplane as we speak.

This is a program that turns 15 this year, and has yet to produce even a dozen airplanes. a program that should be killed before it spreads.

Sweden should stretch Gripen C (like its already doing), invest in UAVs and await Tempest or NGAD. whats "good" for Finland should be "good" for Sweden as well. simple as
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Unread post16 Mar 2021, 21:49

@loke

Here's a memo just for you:
hornetfinn wrote:Making a fighter that has significantly higher payload and range than F-35 will mean significantly more expensive aircraft to buy and operate. I think F-35 is perfect blend of payload, range and other capabilities while having reasonable costs.
“Active stealth” is what the ignorant nay sayers call ECM and pretend like it’s new.
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Unread post16 Mar 2021, 23:04

Well, they want to use their aircraft between 30 and 40 years. 30 years at 250 hours is 7500 hours, but the Rafale has been upgraded to 9000 hours, which allows 36 years. We can think that they will not have their planes before 2024 and 2024 + 36 = 2060. So 250 hours is not too bad and moreover the standard for pilot training is 180 hours in NATO and I think that if we have 1.4 pilots per aircraft in France it is not a coincidence but a necessity to be sure to always have one when we need one.
If dassault have to make an offer it will be around 250 hours/fighter/year.
What counts is that there are 32 aircraft in a state of flight at all times, not 64 with an availability rate of 50%.
We therefore propose 43 aircraft with a guaranteed availability rate of 75% and an availability target of 90%.
The principle is simple: first everyone has exceeded the budget, then one is asked to fit in the budget strictly for the cost of the initial purchase (€ 9.4 Billion) and for the LCC (not more than 250 Million per year). All those who exceed are eliminated.
If calculations are not wrong (which implies that the arms requirements are comparable to those of India) we have calculated that Dassault could go up to 47 aircraft instead of 43 with a PBL approach, without increasing either the initial cost or the LCC. This guarantees a minimum of 35 aircraft available at any given time and a target of up to 42.
So I assume that in the war game they would take 35 available aircraft, which corresponds to 64 aircraft with an availability of 55%.
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Unread post17 Mar 2021, 07:36

Those can't be taken as is. They are almost as misleading as CPFH numbers. For example the current Hornets are going out with 4500 hours. Significantly more was promised, with the misleading idea that carrier use would obviously be more consumptive, thus it had to be true. Hornets as they rolled out of the production line wouldn't have lasted even this much without heavy metering of metal fatigue, predictive maintenance, reducing the most wearing out training maneuvers after the first decade, and such.

It's a matter of how much which amount of flight hours costs. It's variable for each fighter depending on use and the willingness to engage in major life extension projects (=cost/benefit, which also considers how competitive they still are when extended vs. new). Finland didn't do major extension projects for the Hornets. It's probably mostly due to being the last major buyer.

There are many on offer that might not be worth extending significantly because they won't be competitive by that time.
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Unread post17 Mar 2021, 08:54

Exactly. Finnish use is different to most other air forces as it's almost entirely training air-to-air combat and training areas are basically next to air bases (no transit flights etc). So it's very rough on the airframes for given number of flight hours. On the other hand the number of flight hours tends to be smaller and each flight tend to be quite short due to high fuel consumption (a lot of AB and high power use). Especially since Finland doesn't have own air-to-air refueling capacity. So Finnish pilots and fighters get low number of flight hours each year, but they are very demanding hours. But naturally it's the same for all the competitors. Also CPFH numbers from other countries can't be directly used in Finnish case as the usage can vary so much.

I think all the competitors are saying that their aircraft can withstand 8,000 to 10,000 flight hours. Of course flight hour is very rough measure and actual fatigue life is much more complex issue. But I think all the competitors are pretty equal in this regard.
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Unread post17 Mar 2021, 10:11

hornetfinn wrote:Exactly. Finnish use is different to most other air forces as it's almost entirely training air-to-air combat and training areas are basically next to air bases (no transit flights etc). So it's very rough on the airframes for given number of flight hours. On the other hand the number of flight hours tends to be smaller and each flight tend to be quite short due to high fuel consumption (a lot of AB and high power use). Especially since Finland doesn't have own air-to-air refueling capacity. So Finnish pilots and fighters get low number of flight hours each year, but they are very demanding hours. But naturally it's the same for all the competitors. Also CPFH numbers from other countries can't be directly used in Finnish case as the usage can vary so much.

I think all the competitors are saying that their aircraft can withstand 8,000 to 10,000 flight hours. Of course flight hour is very rough measure and actual fatigue life is much more complex issue. But I think all the competitors are pretty equal in this regard.

Indeed but Total flight hours is one thing the other is how many hours per month. 250 hours enables FAF ou FinAF to have 1.4 pilots per airframe if you refer to NATO standards (180 hours / year /pilot).
With 1,4 or even 2 you can assume a surge of 300 hours/month during a crisis, or 1000 hours/year with each aircraft. With less pilots par airframe its hard to maintained.
ANd you also have a problem if you want to assume a high intensity and sortie rate.
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Unread post17 Mar 2021, 11:41

Sure herciv. It's a constant balancing between having enough airframes, pilots and flight hours to maintain large enough force with high proficiency and readiness. NATO standards can't be directly used in Finnish environment due to many differences. However the ratios are very similar and what you wrote is correct taking that into account.
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Unread post17 Mar 2021, 11:46

43 to 47 plane offer goes straight to the bin.
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Unread post17 Mar 2021, 12:55

magitsu wrote:43 to 47 plane offer goes straight to the bin.



These are good points, herciv, magitsu and hornetfinn. Good conversation. And I don't mean to take away from it, but 47? I thought Rafale was a little more price competitive than that. I know the Eurocanards aren't cheap. but I thought even the F-35 being offered between 50-60 aircraft was "low" -- although i know Finland eliminted the hard number requirement
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Unread post17 Mar 2021, 14:37

herciv wrote:Well, they want to use their aircraft between 30 and 40 years. 30 years at 250 hours is 7500 hours, but the Rafale has been upgraded to 9000 hours, which allows 36 years. We can think that they will not have their planes before 2024 and 2024 + 36 = 2060. So 250 hours is not too bad and moreover the standard for pilot training is 180 hours in NATO and I think that if we have 1.4 pilots per aircraft in France it is not a coincidence but a necessity to be sure to always have one when we need one.
If dassault have to make an offer it will be around 250 hours/fighter/year.
What counts is that there are 32 aircraft in a state of flight at all times, not 64 with an availability rate of 50%.
We therefore propose 43 aircraft with a guaranteed availability rate of 75% and an availability target of 90%.
The principle is simple: first everyone has exceeded the budget, then one is asked to fit in the budget strictly for the cost of the initial purchase (€ 9.4 Billion) and for the LCC (not more than 250 Million per year). All those who exceed are eliminated.
If calculations are not wrong (which implies that the arms requirements are comparable to those of India) we have calculated that Dassault could go up to 47 aircraft instead of 43 with a PBL approach, without increasing either the initial cost or the LCC. This guarantees a minimum of 35 aircraft available at any given time and a target of up to 42.
So I assume that in the war game they would take 35 available aircraft, which corresponds to 64 aircraft with an availability of 55%.

Interesting, but where does the assumption of 50% availability rate with 64 aircraft come from? Also 47 Rafale sounds less than what I would expect being able to fit into the budget but I may be wrong.

In any case this is a moot discussion. F-35 is cheaper and more capable than Rafale. With F-35 they will get more a/c and significantly more capability (both per a/c but even more taking into account they will get more a/c, making things like distributed ops simpler and more robust).
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Unread post17 Mar 2021, 15:00

XanderCrews wrote:
magitsu wrote:43 to 47 plane offer goes straight to the bin.



These are good points, herciv, magitsu and hornetfinn. Good conversation. And I don't mean to take away from it, but 47? I thought Rafale was a little more price competitive than that. I know the Eurocanards aren't cheap. but I thought even the F-35 being offered between 50-60 aircraft was "low" -- although i know Finland eliminted the hard number requirement

As a base I take the Indian contract.
For the first 36 aircraft $8.8 billion which includes everything India has requested, that seems complete. And for the 7 additional aircraft $ 700 million + $ 489 million to extend the performance based logistic to 43 aircraft and 10 years.

Total 9989 million $ less than the 11 billion $ expected.

For the flight hour it will be 14,000 Euros for 10 years and then $15,400 + $7,824 = $23,224 per flight hour where the first term is the conversion to $ of the price of the flight hour and the second term is the cost of the Performance Based Logistic for an additional 10 years divided by the number of flight hours during that time.

The total cost of flight hours over 30 years will be $6.649 billion, far from 3 times the purchase price.

Translated with http://www.DeepL.com/Translator (free version)
Recall about the indian Rafale Deal :
Basic Aircraft package ~ Euro 2.7 Bn
Financial package comprising of Cost escalation + milestone payments + other conditions ~Euro 0.5Bn
Weapon package cost~ Euro 0.70 Bn includes meteors, scalp and mica +others
Engineering Support package + Basic infrastructure support package for operations ~Euro 1.8 Bn
Customization package including high altitude performance package, hot weather performance package, Indian weapons, required thrust, India specific Training, Simulators for local language, etc etc ~Euro 1.8Bn
Logistics support package for high performance availability and spares (ie PBL) ~ Euro 0.35 Bn
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Unread post17 Mar 2021, 16:56

herciv wrote:
XanderCrews wrote:
magitsu wrote:43 to 47 plane offer goes straight to the bin.



These are good points, herciv, magitsu and hornetfinn. Good conversation. And I don't mean to take away from it, but 47? I thought Rafale was a little more price competitive than that. I know the Eurocanards aren't cheap. but I thought even the F-35 being offered between 50-60 aircraft was "low" -- although i know Finland eliminted the hard number requirement

As a base I take the Indian contract.
For the first 36 aircraft $8.8 billion which includes everything India has requested, that seems complete. And for the 7 additional aircraft $ 700 million + $ 489 million to extend the performance based logistic to 43 aircraft and 10 years.

Total 9989 million $ less than the 11 billion $ expected.

For the flight hour it will be 14,000 Euros for 10 years and then $15,400 + $7,824 = $23,224 per flight hour where the first term is the conversion to $ of the price of the flight hour and the second term is the cost of the Performance Based Logistic for an additional 10 years divided by the number of flight hours during that time.

The total cost of flight hours over 30 years will be $6.649 billion, far from 3 times the purchase price.

Translated with http://www.DeepL.com/Translator (free version)
Recall about the indian Rafale Deal :
Basic Aircraft package ~ Euro 2.7 Bn
Financial package comprising of Cost escalation + milestone payments + other conditions ~Euro 0.5Bn
Weapon package cost~ Euro 0.70 Bn includes meteors, scalp and mica +others
Engineering Support package + Basic infrastructure support package for operations ~Euro 1.8 Bn
Customization package including high altitude performance package, hot weather performance package, Indian weapons, required thrust, India specific Training, Simulators for local language, etc etc ~Euro 1.8Bn
Logistics support package for high performance availability and spares (ie PBL) ~ Euro 0.35 Bn

I am guessing that with Rafale F4 coming up the "customization package" for Finland should be much smaller and cheaper than what it was for India... this should make it possible to squeeze a few more Rafale into the budget? Not that it really matters, F-35 will be declared the winner in any case.
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Unread post17 Mar 2021, 18:04

loke wrote:I am guessing that with Rafale F4 coming up the "customization package" for Finland should be much smaller and cheaper than what it was for India... this should make it possible to squeeze a few more Rafale into the budget? Not that it really matters, F-35 will be declared the winner in any case.

Yes this is a high probability but this time nor Dassault nor the other has gone from the challenge.
I don't think to have more rafale into the budget is the only way to change the Indian package. For example you could have more weapon for example Talios + AEROS pod or to adapt anti ship missiles
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Unread post30 Mar 2021, 11:33

Apparently Saab has trialed additive manufacturing with 3d printing a nylon patch (pic at the link as it's seen in the aircraft skin) to represent battle repairs. AM is bound to be a big chunk of the HX industrial partnership whoever wins.

https://www.saab.com/newsroom/press-rel ... ge-repairs
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