Finnish fighter replacement revisited

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It seems the Finnish fighter replacement thread is one of those that mysteriously disappeared...

As luck would have it, it would be a Royal Air Force Typhoon that ultimately took down Tsar and I in Vodka 3. Within minutes of starting the fight, Vodka 1 and Vodka 2 were taken down before we even knew our flight was under attack. As Tsar started to maneuver our aircraft, trying to evade an enemy we couldn’t see, a Typhoon coordinating with an F-22 quickly and unceremoniously dispatched us.

http://www.scout.com/military/warrior/story/1775189-flying-against-the-f-22-and-f-35

No doubt F-35 is the "front-runner" -- however considering the above, if you replace the 5. gen fighter in that scenario with a modern AEW&C like GlobalEye, Gripen may still stand a chance.

As mentioned previously, if Sweden wants to win this they should:

1. Offer joint purchase and operation of 4-5 Globaleye
2. Offer to share airbases, but in addition also pool spares and perhaps even ammo
3. Offer a "growler" variant
4. Offer to share tanker capabilities.
5. Longer-term, co-develop stealh UCAV together with other partners.

The importance of basing should not be underestimated. With F-35 the costs may be so high for Finland that they probably cannot afford more than one airbase. Even if well protected a massive surprise attack should be able to knock it out. Finland can only activate their road bases if they suspect an attack is imminent, however this may not be the case (there is a reason why it's called "surprise attack".)

Costs of operating 42 F-35 in Japan are estimated to: 40 billion Yen per year (357 million USD)

http://www.asahi.com/ajw/articles/AJ201704280005.html

Australia is purchasing missiles for their Growlers to perform SEAD: https://www.flightglobal.com/news/articles/us-approves-anti-radiation-weapons-for-australian-g-436761/

In addition the USN keep purchasing Growlers. Thus it seems quite clear they believe that non-5th gen fighters can still play a role in the demanding SEAD/DEAD mission.

Original post

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8 years 2 months

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So they are here to choose for a fighter and you want them to buy a plethoric armada?

Hint: who recently named the F35 an F/A/B/RC/EW/AWAC 35?
Would Seems perfectly suited here, no?

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“The recent US Tomahawk strike into Syria demonstrates that fixed airfields could be destroyed or made unusable for a short period of time."

http://www.defensenews.com/articles/lockheed-vp-theres-a-part-of-israel-in-every-f-35

This is supporting what I've said previously; it may be dangerous for Finland to purchase a few F-35 and put them in one airbase -- especially considering the capabilities of the neighbour. An F-35 that cannot get airborne is useless.

F-35B is in any case not an option for Finland -- way too expensive.

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@Tomcat

Is there nothing else to be considered when replacing fighters other than the only possible choice, whatever the factors involved, is F-35?

@Loke

Regarding basing all F-35's in one place, would that be due to the likely cost of buying and operating F-35? What if an alternative were chosen where more aircraft at 2 bases was affordale, wouldn't an aggressor just zap 2 airbases rather than 1?

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Regarding basing all F-35's in one place, would that be due to the likely cost of buying and operating F-35? What if an alternative were chosen where more aircraft at 2 bases was affordale, wouldn't an aggressor just zap 2 airbases rather than 1?

Yes, buying and operating "a large number" (i.e., 50 or so) F-35 is very expensive, and Norway which has a much stronger economy than Finland will operate their F-35 from one base in central Norway (although there will be a forward base with around 4 F-35 for QRA, in Northern Norway). I may be wrong but I doubt Finland can afford to operate more than one airbase.

It seems to me it will be a much more challenging operation to take out two airbases in two simultanous surprise attacks, than to take out just one. The keyword remains "surprise"...

What they could also do was to make an agreement with Sweden that in case the Finnish airbases are knocked out Finland could on very short notice get access to a certain number of Swedish Gripen E, and vice versa; after a surprise attack on Swedish airbases Sweden could get access to Finnish Gripen E. However such an agreement is of course not there.

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It anticipates beginning the formal selection process in early 2018, when it will send a request for quotation (RFQ) to five manufacturers. These are Boeing, BAE Systems (representing Eurofighter), Dassault, Lockheed Martin and Saab, for their respective F/A-18E/F, Typhoon, Rafale, F-35 and Gripen E.

Lauri Puranen, HX project manager at the Finnish defence ministry, says it will not be overly prescriptive in its specifications, allowing bidders to propose a range of solutions – both manned and unmanned – to meet a number of key scenarios.
However, Helsinki’s baseline requirement is for 64 multi-role fighters, says Puranen.

“It is still possible in the RFQ that someone would provide a solution which could include a fighter and a [signals intelligence] SIGINT aircraft together. It is still open,” he says.

Full story:https://www.flightglobal.com/news/articles/finland-analyses-responses-in-hornet-replacement-eff-437357/

They still refer to this as an RFQ however reading the description above it seems pretty clear most would refer to this as an RFP... oh well.

Very interesting that they still keep things so open, also interesting that they mention specificially SIGINT as a potential supplement.

Who can offer a good SIGINT capability of the four that cannot offer a 5. gen fighter?

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They can ask russkies for the Su-35 or T-50 when available

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Earlier this month, the US Navy signed an agreement to upgrade the service’s Super Hornet fleet to the Block 3 configuration. The potential configuration could include conformal fuel tanks, infrared search and track (IRST21), a centreline pod with an infrared telescope, and advanced cockpit, Boeing says.

The proposed configuration could be introduced in the early 2020s and built on the same line as the legacy Super Hornet – much like E, F and G models, FlightGlobal has previously reported.

“The timing of where we believe the development would match where the Finnish Hornets would be in the production line put it clearly in the Block 3,” Boeing Defense, Space & Security vice-president of global sales Gene Cunningham said at the show this week.

https://www.flightglobal.com/news/articles/paris-finnish-competition-could-line-up-with-block-438591/

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10 billion euros - 11.9 billion dollars / 64 aircraft = 186 453 125 dollars per one
F-35 costs the foreign buyer exactly twice as expensive ...

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Finland should get Su35s.

If I was Finland's drunkmeister or whatever they call their commie chief, I would get 24 upgraded Gripen Cs on lease & 24 Su35s.

Nic

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The Gripen makes sense for commonality and cost, but I don't get the Su-35. Finland does a decent amount of work with NATO (Response Force, and PfP), though not an actual member. How compatible could the Su-35 be made to those requirements? At what cost? Would the Russians sell it to the Finns given the amount of Western hands that will wind up all over it? I'm not suggesting the Finns would just hand one over to the U.S. or NATO, but it would be an interesting participant at a future Red Flag event. Nor am I suggesting the Su-35 contains some super-secret, high-tech kit that American industry and intel services would drool over, but it probably does have a few tricks up its sleeves.

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There is literally one threat why we need the fighters in the first place, makes no sense to buy our hardware from the said threat.

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10 billion euros - 11.9 billion dollars / 64 aircraft = 186 453 125 dollars per one
F-35 costs the foreign buyer exactly twice as expensive ...

I see your costing skills are as poor as your estimations of weight, range, and combat capability.

186 million per F-35..... how many government documents on cost do you want to prove you wrong, SAR or GAO? Your off by 80+ million on the most conservative estimates.

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that mythical $80m price thats every export customer is taking two per year.

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The $80 mil number is the URF/REC Flyaway price. Every customer knows this and is aware that you still have to buy all the rest of the goodies like spares, weapons, initial support & training, simulators, etc.

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There is literally one threat why we need the fighters in the first place, makes no sense to buy our hardware from the said threat.

+1

Would India buy fighters made in Pakistan or vice versa? Would USA buy fighters made in Russia or vice versa?

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The U.S. was always averse to buying military equipment from foreign suppliers. It has in the past, but only when no suitable domestic alternative existed. There's also the political aspect to consider.

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+1

Would India buy fighters made in Pakistan or vice versa? Would USA buy fighters made in Russia or vice versa?


Its wrong comparision. Russia can cripple Finland in so many ways that they dont even realize and that without airstrikes. A few months back China put some sanctions on SKorea for THAAD deployment. Russia didnot join it. The sanctions would have been very differently designed if Russia wanted to join. started with air space closing to airlines. I dont think the Eastern EU and Scandinavian countries know there worth.
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Finland's Ministry of Defence plans to send out invitations to tender for the purchase of 64 new fighter jets. The new jets will replace the current stock of 64 F/A-18 Hornet jets, which have served the Finnish military since 1992.

The defence report, which was approved by the Parliament in February, says that the readiness of the current fleet must be fully maintained after the procurement.

"We have interpreted that to mean 64 fighter jets. Because the new jets are not faster and can't stay up in the air any longer than the current ones, we will require the same number of jets to maintain the performance of our air defence", says Lauri Puranen from the Ministry.

...

The ministry said it will send out invitations to tender in early 2018 to Boeing {F-18E/F} and Lockheed Martin {F-35A} from the US, Saab {Gripen E/F} from Sweden, Dessault Aviation {Rafale} in France and the British-European BAE Systems {Eurofighter}.

https://yle.fi/uutiset/osasto/news/mod_at_least_64_fighter_jets_needed_to_defend_finland/9946949

Um... Every jet that is on the RFP list has greater range & speed, especially armed, than a Classic Hornet. Where do they come up with these quotes?

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@Spud

I believe it might just be the media putting it out of context. I believe the range/speed might be in relation to the FAF requirements, and the number to the operational needs of the FAF [certain spread of a certain number of fighters, operational availability and turn-around times]

The required number of fighters is arguably a disadvantage for the F-35. It's a bit ironic that the FAF might be a potentially larger user of the Gripen than the SwAF [If Sweden does not decide to commit to more than the 60 ordered].