Skip to comments.Weapons expert: Real choice for new Finnish Air Force fighter between Lockheed Martin and Saab
Posted on 04/27/2018 7:31:26 PM PDT by sukhoi-30mki
In an Yle Radio 1 interview on Friday, weapon systems expert Arto Pulkki said he believes that in practice the choice of new aircraft for the Finnish Air Force will come down to just two contenders, either the American Lockheed Martin F-35 or the Swedish Saab Gripen E.
Bids are being sought from five manufacturers for the 7-10 billion euro acquisition of a projected 64 multi-role fighter aircraft.
The planes being considered are the British-made Eurofighter Typhoon, Frances Dassault Rafale, Swedens Saab Gripen E, and the Boeing F/A-18 Super Hornet and Lockheed Martin F-35 from American manufacturers.
"Both the Eurofighter Typhoon and the Rafale are clearly older technology and production of both is reaching an end. And, two days ago, Airbus and Dassault announced they will be developing a new generation system," Pulkki pointed out.
F-35 most advanced and most costly Pulkki described the Lockheed Martin F-35 and Saab Gripen E as technical equals, except for the F-35's stealth capability. Of the five planes in the running, the Lockheed Martin is though, also the most expensive.
The weapons carrying capacity of the F-35 doesn't match up to the other contenders, but its invisibility to traditional radar systems gives it superiority in a conflict situation, according to Pulkki.
Arto Pulkki noted that the Saab Gripen not only has the advantage of a lower price tag, but also that developments in technology to detect stealth aircraft may make this capability of less importance in the evaluation of bids.
"A lot of thought will have to be given to how these systems are developing. Will the capabilities of the F-35, which is right now the most advanced craft, but also the most expensive,still be superior for example 15 years from now?"
No official favourite, but policy dimensions Lauri Puranen, who was the coordinator of the project for the preliminary assessment of aircraft to replace Finland's F/A-18 Hornets told Yle Friday that the starting line is the same for all five of the fighters being considered.
"We have no prior favourite. Initially, all types meet our criteria," said Puranen.
The chair of Parliament's foreign affairs committee, Pertti Salolainen, has stressed that in addition to technical considerations, the choice of aircraft also has a foreign and security policy dimension.
According to Salolainen, Finland's acquisition of the current fleet of Hornets has had huge significance, involving Finland in US and NATO exercises. New purchases, he notes, could have significance in bringing Finland closer to Sweden, a country with which it already has extensive military cooperation. Buying Swedish fighters would also mean industrial cooperation, while a French plane has an EU policy element.
"The greatest foreign policy dimensions would involve the US and Swedish-Finnish cooperation. This is the most unambiguous conclusion that I can make," stated the foreign affairs committee chairman.
Sources Yle, Svenska Yle
Love my LM retirement but...........
May the best aircraft win....but that isn’t always the case.
Problem is the F-35 doesn’t have an environmental control system or pink fluffy unicorn dancing on rainbows.
Gripen's stats are impressive, too, including its range.
That reminds me.. I always preferred the YF-23 over the YF-22! Politics and schmoozing seems to be a big part of aircraft selection.
Given the size of the Finnish Air Force, the obvious choice is the more economical JAS 39 E. For about the same price, you can get a Block 70 F-16V.
However, since the Finnish Air Force currently operates the F/A-18C, the logical replacement would be the F/A-18E Super Hornet.
I agree. F/A-18E Super Hornet is the best fit.
The Finns will consider things like that right along with all the other factors which makes the F-35 not only way more expensive up front but far more costly to keep up to snuff.
Newer model F-18s seem like the most logical choice but I don't know how the operating costs and payloads compare. Seems like the Saab would carry more of a payload than an F-35, too, which is probably more of a concern for a nation relying on a smaller force size than we do.
So, no unicorns and rainbows but required to be dripping with secret sauce that ain't cheap.
“Problem is the F-35 doesnt have an environmental control system or pink fluffy unicorn dancing on rainbows.”
So, heated leather and the burled walnut trim is out?
Interesting. Can you provide a link to the coating? (I presume you were being serious about the coating except for its name...:)
First one is from the idiot daily mail so you usually have to scroll down past the crap to get to the article. I think this one is still there, though.
30,000 lbs F35 vs 14,000 lbs Gripen... sheesh. That F35 is one fat airplane. Carries also less and goes not as far.
If it was not for stealth, this aircraft would be considered a complete dog compared even to 60s technology like the F-105
Finland employs a very specialized wartime strategy of dispersing the aircraft to satellite bases, some in the form of civilian airfields and some in the form of road bases.
One of the reasons the F/A-18 Hornet was selected last time was that it had been used successfully by Canada in a similar climate, and that an aircraft built for use aboard aircraft carriers promised to feature the short-field performance and ruggedness needed for this kind of operations. The Hornet has in hindsight proved to be just as good as expected, and the hopes are set high for its successor.
Please read some threads on the F-16.net forum. There are even some former Air Force pilots there. They are much more optimistic about the F-35 than the MSM.
Thanks, much appeciated...
That is actually the key statement there. Many of the early-on judgements of the F-35's performance against a 40 year old F-16 were due to the following two facts:
1.) No tactics had been developed to take advantage of the newer communication, link, and sensor technology.
2.) The aircraft was fought the same way two planes would have fought 40 years ago, into visual range, turn and burn, in other words, a typical dogfight.
The second factor was interesting, because pilots resisted flying the plane as they should have, because they WANTED to fly it like an F-15 or an F-16. This plane is NOT those planes. The key thing they now know is that if you are in a turn and burn fight, you have already squandered all the advantages the F-35 offered them.
Basically, the pilots had to unlearn a lot of learned behavior. This is similar to what happened to our military pilots when they made the transition from prop planes to jet planes. They had to learn different fighting tactics for jet aircraft.
When the F-35 pilots (and the services) made this transition to take into account new tactics and capabilities that were being developed, their kill ratios in exercises climbed up to levels where they expected them to be.
If one reads the 107 page F-35 "Test Strategy, Planning, Activity, and Assessment" (which I think was from 2016) it lists more problems than one can shake a stick at. But the ability to engage in a dogfight is not one of them (that I could tell) because the people who oversaw it knew that was not how the plane was going to fight. These were more related to operational considerations, flight envelope characteristics, and computer communications systems and symbology, etc.
The Gripen is not made to do the same things the F-35 can do. It just can't. I think the Gripen is a beautiful airplane, but against a 5th generation fighter, it is going to be dead meat. The Gripen is a plane to be used in a controlled airspace.
Finns need to get to high altitude QUICK. If I wer the Finns, Id go with the Grippen. Light, fast, cheaper.
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