Ozair
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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
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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
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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
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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
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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
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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
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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
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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.
 
YIMBY
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Re: Finland in talks for F-18 replacement

Mon Sep 16, 2019 5:37 am

Favourite can be understood in different ways. It is one thing what you wish and another thing what you bet for.

If you ask common women on the street in Finland most of them may prefer co-operation with Sweden instead of the USA or France/UK. It may be that they like Carl Gustaf more then Trump, or other reasons. Technology nerds may have other opinions. Politicians may prefer certain countries for whatever reasons and they may be loud if they believe to get votes by it. Any responsible politician of course has to be absolutely sure not to express any bias that might undermine the negotiation power.

The reason why I would bet against Gripen NG to Finland is that it is inevitably late. They evidently cannot make a final production quality plane into the tests as required. It will not be dropped from the competition until they are obliged to do so, but SAAB has to work very hard to get it done in time. Otherwise that the risks I have little doubt that it would be technically a very good choice for Finland. Not to forget that it is a very American plane.
 
Ozair
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Re: Finland in talks for F-18 replacement

Mon Sep 16, 2019 6:15 am

YIMBY wrote:
Favourite can be understood in different ways. It is one thing what you wish and another thing what you bet for.

If you ask common women on the street in Finland most of them may prefer co-operation with Sweden instead of the USA or France/UK. It may be that they like Carl Gustaf more then Trump, or other reasons. Technology nerds may have other opinions. Politicians may prefer certain countries for whatever reasons and they may be loud if they believe to get votes by it. Any responsible politician of course has to be absolutely sure not to express any bias that might undermine the negotiation power.

Agree favourite can have different meanings but the article isn’t talking to woman on the street, they are claiming to have a source close to or on the project team. In that context then we can assess the claims with more clarity.

YIMBY wrote:
The reason why I would bet against Gripen NG to Finland is that it is inevitably late. They evidently cannot make a final production quality plane into the tests as required. It will not be dropped from the competition until they are obliged to do so, but SAAB has to work very hard to get it done in time. Otherwise that the risks I have little doubt that it would be technically a very good choice for Finland. Not to forget that it is a very American plane.

No doubt that the delays to the Gripen E program have likely hindered its chances and directly impacted the Swiss competition. It does have a reasonable amount of US content but my impression, could be wrong, is that Gripen E has less US content than Gripen A/C had.
 
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seahawk
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Re: Finland in talks for F-18 replacement

Mon Sep 16, 2019 6:20 am

Gripen will certainly work under the operational condition the Fins have. The Suer Hornet most likely will too.

All other contenders have larger or smaller question marks behind them when it comes to the dispersed basing concept.
 
Ozair
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Re: Finland in talks for F-18 replacement

Mon Sep 16, 2019 11:34 am

seahawk wrote:
Gripen will certainly work under the operational condition the Fins have. The Suer Hornet most likely will too.

All other contenders have larger or smaller question marks behind them when it comes to the dispersed basing concept.

I've yet to see any evidence that a Gripen or SH is better at dispersed operations that any of the other contenders. Operating to a dispersed operating concept is not some special Scandinavian thing, NATO, and I expect the USSR, practiced it all through the Cold War. This video https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=Qx7Meo7w-pY is a good example and shows F-16s, Tornados, F-15s etc all operating from a dispersed location.
 
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seahawk
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Re: Finland in talks for F-18 replacement

Mon Sep 16, 2019 11:56 am

Why look in the past when you can have recent footage from Finland:

https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=_hgjY_za9vA

And one thing to consider that the highway strips seem to have bitumen based surfaces in Finland and not concrete.
 
Ozair
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Re: Finland in talks for F-18 replacement

Mon Sep 16, 2019 9:25 pm

seahawk wrote:
Why look in the past when you can have recent footage from Finland:

https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=_hgjY_za9vA

There are also videos of Singaporean and Taiwanese aircraft landing on runways in the last few years, F-15s, F-16s and Mirages but you missed the point…

Landing on highways is nothing new and aircraft designers have taken the landing, operation, maintenance, rearming etc of fighter aircraft from those dispersed locations into consideration when they design new airframes. There is nothing different or special about the Gripen or SH over the other contenders to make them somehow better at operating from those location.
 
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seahawk
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Re: Finland in talks for F-18 replacement

Tue Sep 17, 2019 5:20 am

Well, it is not that easy. A low mounted intake like on the Eurofighter is more prone to FOD. The parking space will have a certain size and the strips might only tolerate a certain exhaust temperature and force. The Gripen is fully designed for the concept and the smallest of the contenders. The F-18 has the advantage that it takes hard landings rather well as a carrier capable design.

It might make no difference in the end though. I personally think the Eurofighter is the worst option. A 4th gen design with a low mounted intake and very expensive - bad choice.

The rest is the typical decison between going 5th gen and F-35 or not. For me there is no alternative to the F-35 in the competition.
 
YIMBY
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Re: Finland in talks for F-18 replacement

Tue Sep 17, 2019 7:17 am

seahawk wrote:
Well, it is not that easy. A low mounted intake like on the Eurofighter is more prone to FOD. The parking space will have a certain size and the strips might only tolerate a certain exhaust temperature and force. The Gripen is fully designed for the concept and the smallest of the contenders. The F-18 has the advantage that it takes hard landings rather well as a carrier capable design.

It might make no difference in the end though. I personally think the Eurofighter is the worst option. A 4th gen design with a low mounted intake and very expensive - bad choice.

The rest is the typical decison between going 5th gen and F-35 or not. For me there is no alternative to the F-35 in the competition.


You have a point here.

Operating from an ad hoc road base is much more than just random landing on and taking off from a high way. Issues of FOD, snow, ice, durability of road surface, amount of maintenance crew and equipment etc are very non trivial. Gripen and Hornet have demonstrated their ability in almost all weathers, and development to NG and Super may not have destroyed these abilities. Rafale and Eurofighter have more question marks and F-35A even more, though Norway will give some answers (Any info yet?). B and C may be out of competition for price, immaturity, unavailability or whatever reasons, though STOVL properties might be just what they need, but does it melt the asphalt and bring FOD?

I think this is exactly what they want to find out in the field tests next winter. It is more crucial to find out how they perform in the ground than in the air, the latter being quite well-known.
 
Ozair
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Re: Finland in talks for F-18 replacement

Tue Oct 08, 2019 3:24 am

A Finnish article has some commentary on the upcoming fighter selection. It covers a couple of key points including that Finland needs a larger air force to cover its responsibilities, that a former Air Force Commander is in favour of the F-35, the F-35 cannot take off from the small parking lot of a local bank (assume tongue in cheek comment), acquiring the F-35 would provide a link between Finland and the US and Trump will not be the president when the last aircraft is delivered in 2030 and therefore shouldn’t be a factor.

Hävittäjistä ehdoton suosikkini on F-35

https://www.hs.fi/mielipide/art-2000006260553.html
 
Ozair
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Re: Finland in talks for F-18 replacement

Tue Oct 08, 2019 9:55 pm

A blog from the Finniah MoD has some additional contract information. Looks like the project has gone from 7-10 billion to a cap of 10 billion. That allows a vendor to offer more aircraft than the original planned 64 if they can stay within that cap and the Finnish MoD stating the number of aircraft will be traded against the respective capability of the aircraft to survive in the anticipated battlespace. At this point in time they also don’t see any of the vendors withdrawing from the bid although final bids are not expected for over a year.

Using Google translate.

Advanced call for tender for the HX project

At its meeting last week, the Cabinet Committee on Economic Policy discussed the HX project. The Committee of Ministers was in favor of sending an advanced invitation to tender through five French, Swedish, US and UK administrations.

From the project's point of view, we received clear and timely guidance from the political leadership, on the basis of which we can proceed with the project as planned in line with the defense statement. The revised invitation to tender sent out in late autumn was set at a price cap of EUR 10 billion. Within the price ceiling, a performance entity must be built that includes not only the machines and their weapon systems, but also other components required by the HX system. These include e.g. a support, training and maintenance system, changes to the management and information systems required for integration into the defense system, and the construction of security-critical infrastructure.

The Advanced Call for Proposals moves, as planned, to a model that invites bidders to provide full performance within a set price cap. Thus, if required or even enabled to remain within the price ceiling or to achieve full performance, the provider may offer 64 different quantities of machinery. However, the criteria for the full replacement of performance will not change with the advanced call for tenders. The number of fighters and their ability to survive and to make losses have a significant impact on crisis prevention and the credibility and performance of the Finnish defense system. Quality cannot be replaced by quantity or quantity by quality, but both are needed to gain credibility.

So the project is progressing and I firmly believe that it is possible to replace Hornet's performance within the original timeframe. The way in which the project is continued has also been known to the tenderers. With the advanced call for tender, the more specific vendor-specific and tailor-made solutions sought will, I believe, also clarify the work of each bidder. In my view, there are no signs that any provider would leave the game at this point. Confirmation will be obtained when manufacturers bring their machines to the January-February HX Challenge testing and verification event.

https://www.defmin.fi/puolustushallinto ... 10006.blog
 
YIMBY
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Re: Finland in talks for F-18 replacement

Wed Oct 09, 2019 3:18 pm

Makes sense. That is exactly the right way to go ahead. I believe that 10 billion is the absolute psychological barrier that the population can accept.

May I interpret it so that some vendor is not able to deliver 64 fighters + all necessary systems within 10 billion, so they allow a smaller amount to keep them in?
 
Ozair
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Re: Finland in talks for F-18 replacement

Wed Oct 16, 2019 12:54 am

YIMBY wrote:
Makes sense. That is exactly the right way to go ahead. I believe that 10 billion is the absolute psychological barrier that the population can accept.

May I interpret it so that some vendor is not able to deliver 64 fighters + all necessary systems within 10 billion, so they allow a smaller amount to keep them in?


Below article confirms that a tenderer can bid below 64 aircraft if they choose.


Some more commentary from a Finnish news org with questions asked directly of the HX program manager.

Biggest arms trade in Finland at break point: Price ceiling set at $ 10 billion - we asked 5 important questions

The biggest arms trade in Finnish history is again at a turning point. The defense administration will send manufacturers, at the end of the autumn, individual, detailed invitations to tender with a price cap of € 10 billion. That money should replace the performance of the current Hornets, and the number of machines is not well defined.

"If required or even enabled to stay within the price ceiling or to achieve full performance, the provider may offer 64 abnormal volumes," writes Lauri Puranen, HX Project Manager, Department of Defense Strategic Projects Program Director, in a blog published Tuesday.

The final word is on the Government, which will decide on the acquisition by the end of 2021.



https://www.is.fi/kotimaa/art-2000006266821.html

Using Google translate.

Five questions are asked during the article,
1. New generation radar devices are more accurate. Are the dazzle features any longer relevant in the 2030s and beyond when the Hornet Followers become available?
2. Does the fact that Finland is not a member of NATO affect the consideration of the F-35?
3. How will European next-generation machine development programs affect Finnish sourcing?
4. How do I rank HX bidders?
5. Switzerland and Germany are both considering the purchase of new combat aircraft to replace obsolete equipment. How are sourcing programs progressing?

Broadly the answers to the above questions are as expected. Summary is

1. Stealth not specifically factored in but the HX Project is factoring in developments in future radar systems and the Finnish Defence Forces conducted a joint study with Aalto University who has strong experience in this area… (who would have thought defence consulting scientists…)

2. NATO membership does not matter.

3. FCAS and Tempest are still a long way away, not expected until the mid-2040s…

4. Two criteria for assessment, first is how the jet will perform and cost at 2025 and secondly how it will look in its performance during its total life cycle. Live tests to happen in early 2020.

5. The Swiss excluded Gripen while Germany may have to buy SH to maintain nuclear sharing.
 
mxaxai
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Re: Finland in talks for F-18 replacement

Wed Oct 16, 2019 9:07 am

Ozair wrote:
1. New generation radar devices are more accurate. Are the dazzle features any longer relevant in the 2030s and beyond when the Hornet Followers become available?

By Google Translate:
- No dishwasher (!) manufacturer has claimed that the machine is invisible, it must be remembered. I speak now on a general level: passive radars are ground systems. It is more about the stage at which the fire detection radar is capable of locking and firing at the target, says Puranen.

The properties of faders are optimized for precisely the radar radiation areas used by fire detectors. This will make it as difficult as possible for the machine to be locked and blocked by the radar.

This is probably the most interesting, at least for me. To see that stealth is not viewed as a magical cloaking device but as a mechanism to counter certain threats. Puranen doesn't dispute that the F-35 (or other stealth aircraft) can be tracked by Hensoldt's experiment or other technologies. But those technologies are not (yet) integrated into air defence systems.
 
Ozair
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Re: Finland in talks for F-18 replacement

Wed Oct 16, 2019 11:19 am

mxaxai wrote:
By Google Translate:
- No dishwasher (!) manufacturer has claimed that the machine is invisible, it must be remembered. I speak now on a general level: passive radars are ground systems. It is more about the stage at which the fire detection radar is capable of locking and firing at the target, says Puranen.

The properties of faders are optimized for precisely the radar radiation areas used by fire detectors. This will make it as difficult as possible for the machine to be locked and blocked by the radar.

This is probably the most interesting, at least for me. To see that stealth is not viewed as a magical cloaking device but as a mechanism to counter certain threats. Puranen doesn't dispute that the F-35 (or other stealth aircraft) can be tracked by Hensoldt's experiment or other technologies. But those technologies are not (yet) integrated into air defence systems.


Ha, I read a better translation today but dishwasher is great, as was the earlier in the translation statement "Other trinkets also have stunning features."

In reference to the F-35, yes agree and have stated many times the F-35 is not invisible. The other point the HX PM made was the following,
However, the monitored aircraft did not fly in stealth mode during the demonstration.


The whole point of stealth is to reduce the opportunity for detection at every stage of the F2T2EA cycle. If the aircraft can defeat or minimize the F2T2 stages it doesn't have to rely on more dangerous end stage defences such as EW or chaff/flares to defeat a (for example) missile in the air.

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