Ozair
Posts: 4145
Joined: Mon Jan 31, 2005 8:38 am

Re: Finland in talks for F-18 replacement

Tue Apr 16, 2019 11:19 am

teme82 wrote:
Ozair wrote:
An interesting Finnish news article where it is explained that the JASSM is not part of the requirement set for the fighter competition. The useful life of the missile, the fact that Finland doesn’t want to pay integration costs for the new platform and that all the entrants will have a long range cruise missile integrated anyway mean the missile will potentially be retired with the Hornet (unless SH or F-35 is selected which could continue to operate it).

When asked if the missile acquisition is linked or does it also affect future fighter purchases, Keränen answers:

- JASSM missiles have not been set as requirements in the HX project because each candidate has its own offer for far-reaching fire. The integration of new weapons is usually quite expensive, so the integration of the JASSM missile is not set as a threshold requirement.

https://www.is.fi/kotimaa/art-2000006066689.html

I take that as a hint that the F-35 might be strong contender. Add plus few EA-18's on the mix and we have nice deal.

The F-35A is funded for JASSM integration already so would have been available if it had been an issue for Finland. The F-35A is certainly in with a good chance but any acquisition of Growler would be a separate deal. Boeing and LM are both competing for the tender with different aircraft so Finland won't initially get the opportunity to pick and choose both options.
 
YIMBY
Posts: 606
Joined: Tue Sep 20, 2016 4:32 pm

Re: Finland in talks for F-18 replacement

Tue Apr 16, 2019 5:01 pm

Ozair wrote:
An interesting Finnish news article where it is explained that the JASSM is not part of the requirement set for the fighter competition. The useful life of the missile, the fact that Finland doesn’t want to pay integration costs for the new platform and that all the entrants will have a long range cruise missile integrated anyway mean the missile will potentially be retired with the Hornet (unless SH or F-35 is selected which could continue to operate it).

When asked if the missile acquisition is linked or does it also affect future fighter purchases, Keränen answers:

- JASSM missiles have not been set as requirements in the HX project because each candidate has its own offer for far-reaching fire. The integration of new weapons is usually quite expensive, so the integration of the JASSM missile is not set as a threshold requirement.

https://www.is.fi/kotimaa/art-2000006066689.html


Could they store some Hornets as JASSM launchers, cannibalizing some others?
Could be flown by reserve pilots who go to civil airlines.
 
Ozair
Posts: 4145
Joined: Mon Jan 31, 2005 8:38 am

Re: Finland in talks for F-18 replacement

Tue Apr 16, 2019 9:44 pm

YIMBY wrote:
Could they store some Hornets as JASSM launchers, cannibalizing some others?
Could be flown by reserve pilots who go to civil airlines.

They could, it just comes down to having the money and will to do it. The question would be whether the plan has any actual value to it. The replacement aircraft, whichever is selected, will have a long range cruise missile. As the new capability is brought online the classic Hornet will begin to be retired but Finland won’t retire the JASSM capability until the new aircraft, with a cruise missile, can replace that mission set.

Past that how much trouble and cost is there to maintain a Hornet fleet to conduct the JASSM mission once the new aircraft is in service? From an airframe perspective if you keep the aircraft in storage you have to pay for it to sit somewhere. Depending on the storage arrangement you probably have to bring the aircraft out every month or so to do an engine run and perhaps even fly an hour. NZ had a similar arrangement for a few years after they retired the A-4.

From a people perspective you need to make sure the aircrew can fly enough hours to be proficient, enough ground crew available and trained to maintain the Hornet for when you do want to run operations, enough spares held to replace parts as they wear out or time expire, enough weapons loaders qualified to fuze and load the JASSMs (likely as well other missiles given even in a JASSM role you would be unlikely to send the Hornet out A2A unarmed), the intel staff who are certified to plan and load the JASSM missile with the target details etc. Finally you need to make sure the JASSM doesn’t run past it operational service/storage life, which I believe is around 15 years.

When you look at what is required to keep the Hornet alive it makes more sense to use that funding and acquire a few more new fighter aircraft from the competition.
 
Ozair
Posts: 4145
Joined: Mon Jan 31, 2005 8:38 am

Re: Finland in talks for F-18 replacement

Mon May 13, 2019 1:17 am

For anyone interested the below link has a summary of the blogs published by the Finish Defence Ministry in the last 12 months.

https://www.defmin.fi/en/administrative ... .9822.news

With the recent election is looks like the parties gaining power are generally against a large fighter acquisition so it remains to be seen how this will now play out. Clearly Finland have to buy something but how many and what may change from initial expectations.
 
Ozair
Posts: 4145
Joined: Mon Jan 31, 2005 8:38 am

Re: Finland in talks for F-18 replacement

Wed Jul 17, 2019 12:06 am

While this story is about the relationship between the two respective countries and more specially the militaries it shows how tight Finland has become to the US and the western methodology of fighter combat. It certainly shows Finland won’t be afraid to select a US fighter in the upcoming competition.

The US Air Force’s top general gets a taste of Finnish fighter tactics

On a cool summer morning over the forests of Finland, the U.S. Air Force’s top general flew in the backseat of an F/A-18 Hornet, observing a Finnish pilot conducting an air defense training mission.

The singular experience, which capped off Chief of Staff Gen. Dave Goldfein’s first trip to Finland July 14 and 15, highlighted the deepening relationship between the U.S. and Finnish militaries.

U.S. and Finnish officials who spoke to Defense News during the visit could not point to another example of the service’s top general flying in a Finnish fighter. And while such flights aren’t uncommon among the U.S. Air Force and its closest allies, Finland is notably not a part of NATO.

“When I fly with another country, there’s actually a message there of mutual trust and confidence and really an opportunity to highlight the professionalism of their air force,” Goldfein said after his July 15 flight. “From brief, to execution in the air, to the debrief … I could have been at Nellis Air Force Base with any of our F/A-18, F-15, F-35, F-22 pilots, and I couldn’t tell the difference.”

...

https://www.defensenews.com/air/2019/07 ... r-tactics/
 
Ozair
Posts: 4145
Joined: Mon Jan 31, 2005 8:38 am

Re: Finland in talks for F-18 replacement

Mon Sep 09, 2019 9:25 pm

Finland is moving to a flying evaluation for the HX program. Will be interesting to see how this plays out given Gripen was excluded from the Swiss fly off, and subsequent overall competition, because it couldn’t provide a representative airframe. If Finland did the same the Gripen, one of the favourites, would either be excluded from the competition or be penalised for not being able to validate their performance claims.

Finland announces HX Challenge event for bidders

Finland has revealed that bidders for its Boeing F/A-18 Hornet fighter replacement, in a programme known as HX, will take part in a test and evaluation event early in 2020 called the “HX Challenge”.

Writing in his blog for the Finnish Ministry of Defence on 9 September, Programme Director Lauri Puranen said that the event would take place between January and February 2020 at the Satakunta Airport in Pirkkala, near the city of Tampere.

The purpose of the event would be to further evaluate the bidders’ platforms and validate performance claims made during the bidding and negotiation periods.

Negotiations with the bidders have been ongoing since January this year, according to Puranen, and are expected to be completed in September following three rounds of discussions with each bidder. A more defined request for quotations is expected in October, with clarifications and modifications to the original requirements to be applied equally to all candidates.

Launched in 2014, the HX programme involves the overhaul of Finland’s air combat capability with new aircraft, weapons, and sensors to completely replace its current fleet of Boeing F/A-18C/D Hornets.

Bidders for the programme include the Lockheed Martin F-35A Lightning II Joint Strike Fighter, Eurofighter Typhoon, Dassault Rafale, Boeing F/A-18E/F Super Hornet and E/A-18G Growler, and Saab Gripen E.

...

https://www.janes.com/article/90915/fin ... or-bidders
 
YIMBY
Posts: 606
Joined: Tue Sep 20, 2016 4:32 pm

Re: Finland in talks for F-18 replacement

Tue Sep 10, 2019 7:16 am

I don't think Gripen is one of the favourites at the moment, if it has ever been. Finland can take the second or even least best fighter in combat (satisfying the strict boundary conditions), but Finland cannot take the risk that the fighter keeps grounded for whatever reason.

Gripen NG is kept in the contest as plan D, in case
a) American fighters are considered politically too risky, or USA refuses to sell the latest technology for whatever political reasons,
b) Brexit messes Eurofighter, and
c) Rafale turns out to be too complicated for the Finnish conditions (it has been the least favourite anyway, but who knows)
or the other contenders just give overpriced bids due to excessive self-confidence.

For political reasons Finland prefers American fighters and the real contest is between F-35 and SuperHornet + Growler (+ Loyal Wingman?) and depends also what Americans want to sell, i.e. not only the frames but associated technology. (And whether F-35 satisfies the runway requirements etc)

If Finland had chosen the path to have a two-type fleet (40+40), they could renew one of them every 15 years and could make more ambitious and risky choices, as in any case one of the types is flyable.
 
Ozair
Posts: 4145
Joined: Mon Jan 31, 2005 8:38 am

Re: Finland in talks for F-18 replacement

Tue Sep 10, 2019 10:02 am

YIMBY wrote:
I don't think Gripen is one of the favourites at the moment, if it has ever been. Finland can take the second or even least best fighter in combat (satisfying the strict boundary conditions), but Finland cannot take the risk that the fighter keeps grounded for whatever reason.

Interesting you say that. This recent article https://www.iltalehti.fi/politiikka/a/8 ... 67e117f64f in a Finnish newspaper indicated the Gripen was potentially a favourite according to sources close to the project. The Project Director Lauri Puranen denied it which may be true but even now I expect that some within the project have an identified favourite given they have received initial submissions.

YIMBY wrote:
Gripen NG is kept in the contest as plan D, in case
a) American fighters are considered politically too risky, or USA refuses to sell the latest technology for whatever political reasons,
b) Brexit messes Eurofighter, and
c) Rafale turns out to be too complicated for the Finnish conditions (it has been the least favourite anyway, but who knows)
or the other contenders just give overpriced bids due to excessive self-confidence.

Well the US is offering the F-35 and also SH+Growler, it doesn't get better than that for US fighter aircraft. Politically Finland already operates numerous US systems including the Hornet so clearly they don't have to much issue buying military equipment from there. I don't think Brexit changes the Eurofighter much at all. While the UK may leave the Union the US obviously isn't a member and they are still offering aircraft. They could always seek support from a different Eurofighter partner in the future if things worsened. Not sure about Rafale and whether Finland sees a future with the aircraft...

YIMBY wrote:
For political reasons Finland prefers American fighters and the real contest is between F-35 and SuperHornet + Growler (+ Loyal Wingman?) and depends also what Americans want to sell, i.e. not only the frames but associated technology. (And whether F-35 satisfies the runway requirements etc)

I think all the candidates will satisfy the runway requirements. The Hornet operates from Finnish improvised runways and I expect all the candidates have similar or better runway performance to that airframe. That will be tested though as the article I linked to above indicated, hopefully we see some of the testing or perhaps an insight into the results.

YIMBY wrote:
If Finland had chosen the path to have a two-type fleet (40+40), they could renew one of them every 15 years and could make more ambitious and risky choices, as in any case one of the types is flyable.

Problem is mixed fleets cost significantly more than a single type, with reduced overall capability, and therefore don't make a lot of economic sense especially for the small fleet size that Finland will operate.

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