Higher, Faster, Independent

I have said it before, and I still stand by it: for the everyday work short of war that the Finnish Air Force does, the Eurofighter Typhoon is probably the best fighter out there. The pure performance at speed and altitude makes the aircraft extremely well-suited to air policing, QRA, and in general keeping an eye on things that needs some eye-keeping.

Now, at the same time it needs to be understood that what’s setting the bar for HX is not peacetime operations today, but how efficient the aircraft and associated systems is as part of an all-out war between 2025 and 2060. And that’s a different ballgame. BAES thinks their offer is the best at that as well, though that’s certainly a more controversial view.

The RAF Typhoon display flown by Flt Lt James Sainty, callsign ‘Anarchy 1’. Flt Lt Sainty has not only been doing QRA with the Typhoon in the Falklands, he has also gone to war in the aircraft. Source: Own picture

At the hearth of the Typhoon as a concept is the raw performance coming from the decision to maximise the classic interceptor traits of ‘high and fast’. It deserves to be repeated that not only does this mean that the aircraft can sprint – it reportedly would do the Kuopio-Rissala AFB to Helsinki QRA run in 8 minutes – but also that you don’t need to push your engines in the same way to reach a given speed as you would do with poorer trust to weight ratios and aerodynamics. This in turn gives lower wear on the engines and all other things being equal also translates into less fuel consumption. The ability to use the low power settings together with the large wing and high lift makes it possible to maintain high altitude patrols with relative ease, increasing the time for missions focused on endurance rather than range. The high sprint speed also makes it possible to maximise the kinetic energy of missiles fired, increasing both their outright range as well as their no-escape zones (NEZ). With the air-to-air focus of the Finnish Air Force, it is rather clear that these are aspects of the system that the Air Force appreciates, as is the low-drag installation of a significant number of air-to-air missiles in semi-recessed fuselage mounts. As the UK Chief of the Air Staff, Air Chief Marshal Sir Mike Wigston, commented on at an earlier media event this year, the Typhoon is his “platform of choice for QRA” (at the same event, the F-35 was described by the Brits to be very good for the purpose which they acquired it: deep strike and shipboard operations, which struck a nice balance between giving the HX competition a burn while not looking like you’ve bought something less than useful just to stay friends with the big guy).

A scale model of a Finnish Typhoon with the ECRS Mk 2 shown through the transparent panel. Source: Own picture

But war isn’t decided in a drag race, and there are lots of magic happening under the hood. The key subsystem in BAES presentations at Kaviari 21 is the ECRS Mk 2. The exact name for the big thing up front, and it really is on the larger side compared to the competition, is somewhat up to debate if you listen to BAES’s people.

Array, I have deliberately not called it a radar.

The reason is that it transcendens the roles of a traditional radar and several other subsystems. In any case, BAES does describe it as the “most advanced fighter sensor” available, and by happy coincidence is in the final stages of development being flying within a few years and operational well before the end of the decade. This means that BAES and the UK is able to offer both a securely funded and relatively mature product, the system has been in development for quite some time before the final funding decision recently came, as well as the opportunity to allow Finnish industry to take part in the final stages of development of the rad… excuse me, array. Electronic warfare is a notoriously tricky field to analyse based on open sources, but most seem to agree that the ECRS Mk 2 will be among the very top offerings in the world by 2030, potentially even being the top dog.

The DASS might not enjoy the same kind of mythical reputation as the offerings from Dassault and Saab, but it does seem to be more or less up to standard and comes with some nice features such as towed decoys and BriteCloud 55. The weapons found in the package include a nice mix of some of the world’s best-in-class ones, though as is the case with all non-US offerings the question is what is the cost and how quickly can you pick up a refill if war suddenly starts looking like it’s on the horizon. The recently announced 160 MEur P3Ec investment in the Eurofighter-program include not only upgrades to the weapons capabilities and the large-area display which is included in the standard offered to the Finnish Air Force, but also upgrades to the DASS. Associated with the LAD is the Striker II-helmet, which is “the world’s only helmet-mounted display to combine a 40⁰ field of view, daylight readable color display and integrated night vision“, so now you know that.

Seriously though, it really is supposed to be very good.

The standard Finland would be getting is aligned with the one operated by the UK, as is to be expected not only because BAES is taking lead on the project, but also because the UK Typhoons are fully swing-role in a way e.g. the German ones aren’t. This include the varied weapons arsenal – including all categories covered by Finnish requirements – but also the less-visible but key subsystems discussed above, such as the ECRS Mk 2, LAD, Striker II, and BriteCloud. And not to forget, the stuff happening around the aircraft, which in fact might end up tipping the balance in case this turn into Eurofighter’s most prestigious export deal yet.

The whole part about full sovereignty and ownership of both the aircraft, its support systems, and the data it generates is nothing new, but has been a key part of BAES sales pitch. And for good reasons. Being able to promise “full freedom of action”, not only for the FDF in usage of the aircraft and its capabilities, but also to Finnish industry working with and on it, is a rare treat. A good example is the engine maintenance infrastructure, where Finnish industry would be the lead, with EuroJet functioning as a sub-supplier to these. The mission data turn-around times are also a point BAES likes to get back to, with updates being done in country by Finnish personnel with day to day or even mission to mission optimisation ability. Or as a BAES spokesperson expressed it:

This is manoeuvrability, but in a very different sense

This isn’t any hypothetical future capability either, but a process that is in use already in combat operations over the Middle East where the aircraft gather electronic intelligence, which are then analysed and the threat files of the aircraft are being updated accordingly before the next mission.

1(F) Squadron Eurofighter Typhoon FGR4 aircraft prepare to fly out of a snow covered Keflavik AB, Iceland, on 6 December 2019. The RAF detachment in question brought four Typhoons to Iceland as part of the periodic NATO air policing mission, the less-famous cousin of the BAP. Picture courtesy of BAES, credits Cpl Cathy Sharples (RAuxAF)

For Finnish industry to support the FDF in this, the industrial participation package is heavily focused on technology transfer in key areas not only physically related to the aircraft – the production line for the EJ 200 engine being the obvious example of this – but also those related more abstractly to secure and efficient operations, such as cyber security, space technology, and sensors. BAES extremely wide portfolio and the close cooperation with other partners in the Eurofighter program allows for the inclusion of tools in such a variety of fields.

At this point, chances are someone, possibly a F-35 fan, will laugh and point finger while claiming that BAES is putting in lots of other stuff in their offer besides the fighter itself to try and win the deal through that.

Yes, you are absolutely correct. And if you paid attention, you would know that is the whole point of this procurement.

Those who have been following the program will remember that from the outset the authorities and Puranen in particular have raised the point that this isn’t a fighter competition, but they are searching for who can supply the best capability to meet the Finnish Defence Forces’ needs in this field? This is why we see GlobalEye’s, Loyal Wingmen, Growlers, and licensed production lines on offer. That’s also why HX Challenge wasn’t the deciding factor, but an all-out wargame simulating total war where the performance of the FDF with those capabilities included in the BAFO will be the deciding factor. If FDF does a better job with your package than with that of a competitor because you were able to offer a decent fighter and ensure safe sharing of the common situational picture throughout the FDF, or if your fighter did somewhat worse in the initial fighting but was able to keep up the tempo longer than the competition because you were able to bring along more bombs, congrats, the contract is yours.

That is how it’s been communicated, and that’s how it should be, because wars are never decided in a series of 1 v 1 or even 4 v 4 engagements, but over days and weeks of combat between the combined armed forces.

End of rant, back to the regular program.

BAES also likes to push the point that the system is mature overall and with known operating costs. The concept of operations in the RAF is an interesting case when it comes to this. As has been discussed on the blog earlier, what drives the affordability in the UK is a close cooperation between local industry and the air force, in this case BAES and the RAF, a system that isn’t too far off from how Millog and FDF cooperate. As it was described in an earlier presser:

[The Typhoon] is designed not to be stealthy, but to be there

The combination of a life-cycle cost that is well understood and affordable with a mature platform with high reliability is what ensures that aircraft actually get to fly, and that is certainly what the Finnish Air Force wants. However, the aircraft is bigger than some of the competitors, and the procurement price is acknowledged to be higher than some of the other platforms on offer.

And that makes it suspicious when BAES insists on talking about replacing capability and not aircraft. As I’ve argued earlier, yes, you can probably get away with 62 fighters getting at least as much airtime as the 64 Hornets would considering higher availability for modern aircraft, and being familiar with large-company-bureaucracy I can see some marketing SVP deciding that it looks bad to say that 62 aircraft are on offer when the rest talk about 64 (except Dassault, but, oh, well). However, I can also see the offer being 50, and that would mean that BAES is out of the running on the procurement budget alone.

Which would be a shame, because as I’ve described here there is quite a lot of good stuff in their offer, and a 64-strong Typhoon fleet taking on the competition in the wargame would certainly be a worthy contender.

39 thoughts on “Higher, Faster, Independent

  1. Ferpe

    The roots of ECRS mk 2:

    So RAF can have Leonardo produce a brand new radar for 40 Typhoons? No, it can’t. A radar costs perhaps a billion $ to develop with all its software, and you need serial size production for the different modules to make it a viable business.

    But the ECRS2 is there, and it’s 100% different from the Eurofighter CAPTOR. What’s the magic?
    It’s not a new radar project. It’s based on another radar, also on offer for HX (funny no-one has figured, it’s so obvious…).

    The original Eurofighter CAPTOR radar was architected off ERC2, a 1990s MSA design. CAPTOR-E (in different variants, the AESA radar for non-RAF Typhoons) is an AESA front end on the CAPTOR backend.

    It’s significant as the age of the base development of the radar sets the point where the radar goes digital, both for receive and transmit. Older radars’ A to D is later for receive, and D to A is earlier for transmit. It sets the important partition between slow-moving RF hardware and more agile software for the radar.

    This is well known in the radar sphere; nirvana is when we go ADC and DAC downstream from the TRMs. We are not there yet; the FPGAs and computer chips are not fast enough for the enormous data stream that ensues. But you want to get as close to this as possible.

    Today the limit is set by ADC/DAC sampling speeds (up to 6GBit for an adequate dynamic range at present) and the downstream digital handling of the streams. With this technology, you can make radars with just one IF level (the same goes for digital ESM/ECM, BTW).

    The CAPTOR-E project, with the inertia of the five-nation project and the promise of “only a new antenna,” tied the Typhoon to the older CAPTOR architecture. RAF wanted something better.

    Leonardo, outside the CAPTOR radar project, had a prosperous airborne MSA radar business with GRIFO. But the writing was on the wall, GRIFO needed an AESA follow-up, or ELTA would take all Leonardo GRIFO business with their AESAs.

    When SAAB needed an AESA radar for Gripen E six years ago, Leonardo agreed to develop it. It had a broader market to share costs over than SAAB at the time (hence Raven and not SAAB’s own development).

    Leonardo shared the base development of its AESA radar generation over the GRIFO market (called VIXEN), SAAB (Raven), and a more modern Typhoon radar to satisfy RAF (called ECRS2).

    I call this development the “RVE” as the base is the same for all variants. The base is well described in Stimson’s excellent “Introduction to Airborne Radars.” The ADC/DCA dilemma and what it entails is discussed, and most examples of a modern radar use RVE modules (Leonardo Edinburgh was Selex at the time, I always think of them as Ferranti, avoids all the name changes).

    Final target RVE radars are not exactly the same. With a modern, software-driven module system, you can vary the capability in a wide range. You have different numbers of TRMs, swashplate or not, ESM/ECM functions or not, and different software stacks.

    As a software-defined radar (ADC and DAC are close to the AESA) any difference in capability for cost, installation, or political reasons, is easily handled.

    The RVE has now been seven years in development, and its been flying for the last five. This is the timeframes you need for development, as the functionality in a Gripen/Typhoon application is huge. The functionality is best described in a slide from SWAF Colonel Fälthammar’s presentation to SSF (Svensk Flyghistorisk Förening) from June:

    To what extent the ECRS2 goes beyond the spec of the Raven, we will not know. What is clear is the ECRS2 has about 60% more TRMs. Shared are the Swashplate advantages of extended FOV and polarization agility (important for the ESM/EA functions, red block in the SFF ppt).

    Adaptable polarization is important as it improves the ESM function, the perhaps most useful feature of the MFA EW capability. An MFA ESM has about 35dB higher sensitivity than the std ESM (35dB is a LOT), useful for sensing in the back-lobes of enemy fighter radars. An MFA’s bandwidth problem limits the ESM use to this class of victim radars. Certain tracking radars can also be within the coverage.

    It’s also the bandwidth problem that makes the ECM of limited use. It has a very high ERP, but there are limits on the victim radars that can be attacked. The Raven and ECRS2 have at least polarization agility; Cross pole thrives on high ERP, whereas Cross eye is NOP (needs wingtip AESAs).

    How much of the RVE’s backend HW (receiver/exciter/processor) is shared between target applications? I would venture much. European unit numbers are small, and you need to share modules over as many projects as possible.

    As we have no EW in some VIXEN projects, its receivers/exciters go missing, but pretty much the rest is there for most projects.

    Does this mean the same functionality? No. These radars are software-defined. Probably 80 to 90% of the software is common, with the last bit kept for the customer-specific “Secret Sause” to make it “the customers” radar.

    1. Locum

      Great post Ferpe. Please, can you explain the many abbreviations you use ?

      Okay, ADC / DAC stands for Analog Digital Conversion and DAC means Digital to Analog Conversion.
      ERP = Effective Radiated Power. see: https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Effective_radiated_power
      FPGA = Field Programmable Gate Array. This an integrated circuit (better known as “chip”) designed to be configured by a customer or a designer after manufacturing – hence the term “field-programmable”. For example the F-35 Integrated Core Processors are equipped with them.
      TRM = Transmitter Receiver Module.
      MFA = Multi Functional Array.

      But …
      MSA ?
      RVE ?
      NOP ?

      1. Ferpe

        Sure Locum, acronym hell 🙂

        MSA=Mechanically Scanned Antenna radar (ie classical fighter radar).

        RVE is just my short-form for Raven/VIXEN/ECRS mk2, the Leonardo brand names in its airborne AESA family.

        NOP=Non OPerational i.e. doesn’t work.
        A cross-eye jammer (the most effective against modern radars but also most architecturally demanding) needs a jammer baseline, i.e. the jammers in the wingtips. More here: https://www.emsopedia.org/entries/cross-eye/

  2. Bjørnar Bolsøy

    “it reportedly would do the Kuopio-Rissala AFB to Helsinki QRA run in 8 minutes ”

    A distance of about 330 km? If my math is correct, that would assume an average speed of about 2475 km/h, which seems a bit high. Reminds me of the Cold War story of that time RNoAF F-16s scrambled from Rygge AFB to outside Trondheim, about 450 km, in 12 minutes in order to intercept Russian aircraft. Also a bit high, but the recollection of the pilot who told me this might not have been entirely accurate.

    1. asafasfaf

      That is Mach2 speed and I think it was the aim of the given example, without time spend on the runway.

      1. Bjørnar Bolsøy


        According to this Mach calculator, a ground speed of 2475 km/h at 30000-40000 feet is about Mach 2.2 to 2.3, not accounting for the acceleration time required to reach that speed. So it seems too high.


  3. Matias

    So I take it there is no chance Finland HX could award the contract to two fighters, like 36 F-18 SH/Typhoon or Rafale and lets say 36 F-35’s, or a any other combination.

    1. Bjørnar Bolsøy

      It could be done in principle, but operating two front line fighter types would be detrimental to the economics of a nation the size of Finland. Hence, why no comparable nation in recent times have embarked on that idea.

  4. Bluenose

    It is a very good aircraft, but it is very expensive and its availability is not great. Beyond pure power, a lot of its attributes (weapons, sensors, EW, survivability and not being a ‘stealth’ aircraft) are shared by the far newer Gripen E/ F (Raven and Skyward are arguably the newest fighter sensors on the planet) which is also far easier and less costly to operate. Both Typhoon and Gripen are true European aircraft in a way that Rafale is not (and – obvs – US aircraft are not), so supply chain is pretty convenient. Also, probably a discount on T-7s to replace the Hawks.

    Typhoon is not a bad choice for Finland, but putting AEW&C plus Meteor-armed fighters in the air en-masse with very little warning I would still go with Saab. It would also – arguably – annoy fewer people and does give Finland a foot in the door on Tempest (as opposed to whatever mess FCAS will be as the partners strain in different directions).

    1. Ahm, how do you define European aircraft? If you mean Pan-european then obviously the Eurofighter reign supreme, Saab sourcing subsystems from here and there (including the US) isn’t really comparable. And Tempest is UK-led, so that’s certainly not an argument for Gripen compared to Eurofighter.

      1. Bluenose

        Saab radar and FLIR? Saab weapons? Saab subcontractors? As European as Typhoon – though I admit the GE engine is a bit less so. Typhoon has several assembly plants as a political element which Gripen lacks, but in terms of what makes the aircraft then Saab design and assemble but much of the key stuff is outsourced. Typohoon is also massively disjointed, though for HX that makes less difference as Finland would go with the UK model rather than the Spanish / German half-baked examples.

        But – whatever BAE says about about their effort at cost reduction – they will never achieve their claims because the whole programme is too spread, too diverse and was never intended to be low cost (LM are facing a similar problem and also telling fibbies about their ‘plans’). like F-35, the aircraft is also really quite old and the supply chain is starting to shake. I would recommend Finland take the BAE operational cost claims and ask for a clause that assigns any overruns to Warton.

        Truest me, I have run studies on this.

        Tempest is UK / Italy / Sweden: Typhoon or Gripen get Finland into the audience with both aircraft having a nice overlap with the main Tempest companies.

      2. Herciv

        You can also define European Aircraft as the most ITAR free, and CHinese free, and Russian free.

  5. IED

    Thank you for yet another insightful post on this subject.

    I do however, wonder about this idea that just because it is american, you will be able to re-supply in case of a war? I would claim just the opposite. Sure, the production capacity of the american made missiles and other military products is higher than those of their european counterparts. But so is the big black hole they need to fill in case of war. The american war machine is not equipped for any major war but rests on the idea that such a war will be a prolonged affair muchlike wwii. There are simply not enough munitions, fighters etc in peace to last a war..

    The NATO allies have a similar strategy and for example the danish frigates have only enough missiles to fill around 60% (from memory) of their VLS. Were not even talking about a full set of missiles when a war start, let alone any supplies.

    Add to that the fact that any major war will include trying to cut off supply lines (yes there are submarines in the Northern Fleet) and you will be hard pressed to see any american president prioritizing Finland over American military or NATO members.

    In my opinion a european country, while facing much of the same issues, will find it easier to see a conflict in Finland as an existential threat to themselves and see the value in making sure Finland has enough missiles.

    You seem to think that a war will play out pretty much like the last major European war which – as we know – is a good way to loose the next.

    1. Bluenose

      In no peer state (well, advanced state) war since 1915 have fighter not pew-pewed at other aircraft. And Sweden, though arguably ducking out of WW2 in favor of money, did support the FAF. There will be misiles fired in anger, though the wider picture may be more or less like 1941 -no one knows.

      Given most states’ supply of weapons, spares and aircraft availability, you may find that a major war is a case of air superiority on day 1 or forget the righter force by day 5

  6. Mike

    How realistic is it to “plan vor war” with only 64 fighterjets?
    Isn’t it somewhat ilusoric to plan for war with THIS amount of fighters and no tac-nukes? (bc tac nukes are the only way you can “make an impact” with 64 jets that i can see..?)

    (…the same thinking here in CH “36 jets to prepare for ground-attacks in war-times” – while almost everyone can see: in war time (in response!) the jets will be used to defend airstrikes, NEVER for groundsupport)

    1. We’re not going to win. We’re just going to make them bleed enough that it isn’t worth the bother to come here. That worked out twice last time around, and certainly could do so again.

      1. Mike

        Your blogpost left me with the impression that an attack is planned, with the arguments against the Typhoon.

        But here is the biggest issue:
        if you take a jet that’s good for offensive strikes (like the F-35) – you can not use that for defense. In a defensive war, when your country is reacting to an attack, you have COMPLETLY DIFFERENT REQUIREMENTS than what the F-35 was selected for!

        In short:
        if you want to fight a defensive war with counterstrike-capabilities, you need a fighter that’s capable of defending your country, survive and enabling the counterstrike. You don’t select a fighter that is only good for a (counter)strike, but doesn’t do the defense-job

        Think “F-35 in beastmode” to do the same as the Typhoon can. The Typhoon would do the (defense)-job best from the candidates. Gripen comes in 2nd (payload is less, but its agility and fast turnaround speak for it), for Finland I see the Rafale as alternative if you want to do independent changes on the thing; not sure about Superhornet being able to defend, the 18C left me as “burned child” (improvements happen, but an “A” stays an “A” even if you stencil “F” on it). The F-35 is a good deep penetrator and primary choice if you consider “preemptive strikes”, not arguing that. But preemptive strikes are nothing else than starting a war. (you change the war from political to military). But with the old naming of the fighters valid up to end 1990s, it would be an “A-35 with limited dogfight-capabilities” (same for the F-117; it was NEVER a fighter, it was an A-117).

        Both Switzerland and Finland seem to have forgotten about Scotty: “use the right tool for the right job”

        Actually, with this blogpost and your comment, I don’t understand why Finland didn’t evaluate the F-16V, which is so “cheap” that you easily could get some 100 fighters for the same budget – which for defense is much better, you can deploy some units in an “mothball”-status somewhere on a emergency-basis (like a cavern next to ahighway-runway aso) with that, ensuring defense is even easier…

        Essentially, I think both projects HX and Air2030 suffer from the thought “we can get ONE jet to fullfill all the roles there are” instead of getting an interceptor for interception-missions, a ground-attacker for airsupport, aso… Leading to a dangerous situation of selecting a bird that can’t fullfill the main-job: a bird built to attack will do a bad job intercepting and vice versa.

        An airsuperiority-fighter could attempt of doing both, IF the strategy and tactics are ammended to the capabilities of the fighter. Otherwhise? …it’s gonna be a purchase that harms the airforce. (ask the austrians – if they’d been able to get the Gripen-C instead the Typhoon TR1, they’d be much happier now)

        (not sure if i made sense in this post?)

      2. There is no significant difference in defensive or offensive wars for the Finnish Air Force fron a tactical point of view. In all scenarios you will need to counter enemy aircraft, pound their ground targets near and afar, gather intelligence, and so forth. That’s why all aircraft on offer are high-end multirole ones.

      3. Mike

        Well yeah, there’s the error:
        to attack, you need an attacker.
        to fight, a fighter,
        to intercept an interceptor,
        aso… They are not the same jobs.
        (you don’t use a cutter to hammer a nail into a piece of wood if you want to sand it down)

        An attacker must be able to penetrate enemy territory either very fast (Superhornet) or unseen (F-35).
        A fighter must be able to maneuver, to fly fast, to carry lots o’ammo “and see good” (Rafale, Gripen, Typhoon, Superhornet*).
        An interceptor must be fast, agile (intercept fast, turn around fast, dogfight or accelerate towards the targets speed) (Rafale, Typhoon, *).
        (* not sure about the endurance of the Superhornet when it boils down to fast maneuvers – too much A in the F i fear)

        But I agree with your judging of the Typhoon – it is the one candidate that can fill in all roles and do a reasonable job doing so… Yes, no passive stealth, BUT:
        Millenium*7 just made a good video why dogfights aren’t history yet (so better having some fighting-capabilities than passive stealth)

        …in the other Blog they talk about Gen6 being a failure or something, never coming aso. Yeah. It’s not like programs both in the States and Europe being accelerated. It doesn’t matter if they fly in 2035, 2040 or 2060. We are going to face “two-fleet strategys” the instant they’re up in the air. It is not worth wasting money binding oneself to ONE option already (!) when it is clear that the main customer of the “product i mean” is thinking about replacing it prematurly.

      4. Matias

        Switzerland picked the F-35 because it provides more environment awareness and it has stealth, so it can engage the enemy before it is detected, so F-35 also makes a very good defensive fighter.

      5. Mike

        Nope, it doesn’t, the F-35 can only make use of 3 bases (if loaded lightly).
        Ergo – if someone wants to attack Switzerland, it takes 3 cruise-missiles to take out the runways, some 20 decoy-uav to trigger the patriots, and the airsupperiority is established.
        (Both F5 and F-18 fly from all bases and strips swiss air force has and are scrambled around the country)

        ALSO always remember:

        airpolice (main use in CH) isn’t about shooting down incoming aircrafts/aso – it’s about identifying AND establishing communication. When it boils down to an elimination, you have one jet flying ahead dropping flares as last warning, while the wingman is at the intruders 6 short of pulling the trigger… == no need of fancy sensory (especially if there’s no interconnection between ground and fighters!); DAS can’t establish a twoway-communication, you still need to fly there.

        (with 36 jets, you are NOT planing for war, simple logic tells you the number is insufficient for anything serious.)

        Why the F-35 was choosen will sure be a topic for itself (lots of details of the airbus-offer appeared in inofficial channels; without going into details, lets just say: it was MUCH better than LMs.)

      6. Matias

        If Switzerland is worried about runways then they can also get some F-35B, they can use much shorter runways or vertical take-off if needed. I give you that, in most competitions the French (AIRBUS) offer better deals but still lose, like the one they offered Belgium, but still lost to the F-35A.

      7. Mike

        You clearly didn’t understand a thing, Matias. Not sure if replying does something.
        Also get your facts straight.
        That’s as much I’ll reply to your last post. Maybe next time?

      8. Matias

        The Swiss Federal Council has picked the F-35A, which has access to all the data (classified and unclassified) on the competition, but I am sure they do not understand and you know more than they do. lol.

    2. Randomvisitor

      I think this is something not well understood outside Finland.

      FDF understands only remotely possible attacker is a major power, that has a LOT more troops and material to use, BUT there is term used by FDF/government CREDIBLE DEFENCE.
      Meaning that Finland keep strong enough defense capability, so that any possible attacker knows that to achieve it’s goals, there will be serious losses. And hopeful decides it’s not worth it to even try.

      And i think most probable scenario of millitary threat against us, even how unlikely it is now, will be part some larger conflict in the Baltic sea or in Europe general, which will of course limit number of forces available to use in Finland.

  7. Bjørnar Bolsøy

    Mike wrote:

    “An attacker must be able to penetrate enemy territory either very fast (Superhornet) or unseen (F-35).”

    I’m not sure I see how a SH would penetrate faster than an F-35. The SH would be speed limited by external tanks and weapons. The F-35 would not.

    “A fighter must be able to maneuver, to fly fast, to carry lots o’ammo “and see good” (Rafale, Gripen, Typhoon, Superhornet*).”

    Surely the F-35 matches or exceeds those in several aspects, in particular in multi-role missions.

    “An interceptor must be fast, agile (intercept fast, turn around fast, dogfight or accelerate towards the targets speed) (Rafale, Typhoon, *)”

    Also cruicial for the interceptor (i.e. not air policing) is to have situational awareness and the ability to surprise the opponent. Remember: The best way to shoot down a stealth aircraft is with another stealth aircraft.

    1. Mike

      If you put the same load on the SH as the F-35 can carry in stealthmode, the SH will be faster. accompanied with a growler, the SH will get to the target unrecognised, too – just faster.

      As for the situational awareness. Yes you’re right. The F-35 is the first and only fighter who has this, the others don’t even have sensors and the pilots are not able to think or look out of a window, neither. Ok seriously:
      granted, the F-35 does indeed do a great sensor-fusion. BUT:
      so do the Rafale and the Gripen-E! Also so does the Superhornet to an extend.

      Granted the other candidates don’t have THESE many sensors abord, but with enough sensors to give the pilot all infos he/she needs (there’s also the thing of “sensor overload” when there’s just too much information available).

      And with sensor- and data-fusion, most of the data comes from AWACS anyway so the fighters are in low-emission mode as long as possible, so a GlobalEye in combination with the Gripen-E does a similar great job, while the Gripen has the speed-advantage over the F-35 (including the “tested on highways”-factor), and the F-35-Offer either has to include foreign AWACS-data OR the data has to come from another F-35 (meaning you have several squads flying the same mission, not sure how good the data of eg. south-finland does for the north-finland squad and vice-versa)

      1. Bjørnar Bolsøy

        Mike wrote:

        “If you put the same load on the SH as the F-35 can carry in stealthmode, the SH will be faster.”

        Are you able to provide some figures on that note?

      2. Mike

        Are you able to provide sources to YOUR claims? I’m sorry, but this “argument” works both ways.

        And the last time I provides sources, my credibility as person was questiones for me providing links to official sites, by both readers/commentors and the owner of this blog himself…

        So – please use google, that’s what I did in the first place.

  8. Bjørnar Bolsøy

    A question for corporalfrisk:

    Is there any indications that the Finns will subject the evaluation to external auditing/QA, such as in the case of the Norwegian and Dutch evaluations years ago?

    1. Yes, there’s an external auditor involved since some time ago. Believe it is Deloitte, but that’s straight from memory so could be that I’m misremembering that one.

      1. Bjørnar Bolsøy

        Sounds reassuring. Whatever the outcome, having an external audit will add to the credibility and legitimacy of the evaluations. Providing, of course, that the audit doesn’t find evidence of an unfair process. Correct me if I’m wrong, but apparently the Swiss didn’t have an external audit, which in my view seems a bit strange.

  9. Bjørnar Bolsøy

    Mike wrote:

    “Are you able to provide sources to YOUR claims? I’m sorry, but this “argument” works both ways.”

    To cite a staple of modern democratic legal philosophy: The burden of proof is on the accuser. Well, usually at least.

    Your claim was:
    “If you put the same load on the SH as the F-35 can carry in stealthmode, the SH will be faster.”

    Well, with internal weapons the F-35 is basically Mach 1.6 and 9G capable, both in air-to-air or air-to-ground. According to the SH NATOPS flight manual, it is Mach 1.6 capable with four AAMs. WIth 7 AAMs and a targeting pod, it’s limited to Mach 1.3. Put in a couple of drop tanks and it’s much less.

    But, as you might know, external air-to-ground ordnance are usually subsonic and G-limited (typically 5-6 Gs), Goes for any fighter. So in such configurations the F-35 has the ability to go supersonic while the SH (and other fighters) does not.

    So generally the SH will match the speed of the F-35 in air-to-air configurations (having dropped it’s tanks), but will be subsonic carrying anything much else.

    1. BB3

      @Bjørnar Bolsøy – are you thinking the F35A would be only fitted w/ internal weapons (4 max currently) if sent out in an air defense role during the opening days of the war? I’d think they’d want more A2A missiles loaded on external pylons.

      The F35A does have some somewhat stealthy external wing pylons – but obviously not as LO as w/ everything internal. I realize that LM is working on trying to fit 6 missiles internally – but it’s uncertain when/ if that happens.

      It’s also true that Raytheon (Peregine missiles: https://www.raytheonmissilesanddefense.com/capabilities/products/peregrine-missile#:~:text=The%20Peregrine%E2%84%A2%20missile%20is,manned%20aircraft%20and%20cruise%20missiles.&text=They%20are%20also%20lighter%2C%20effectively,current%20fighter%20jets%20can%20carry)& others are working on some smaller A2A missiles that may increase the # of missiles that can be carried internally, but again unclear how that’ll play out at present.

      Perhaps they send out a mix of loadouts w/ some in full stealth configuration and some with external & internal missiles.

      1. Bjørnar Bolsøy

        BB3 wrote:

        “Perhaps they send out a mix of loadouts w/ some in full stealth configuration and some with external & internal missiles.”

        The ‘silent shooter’ concept is certainly nothing new. The Norwegian navy even trained for this with their missile attack boats as far back as the 70s. Some missile trucks stay behind and draw the opponents attention while the stealthy ones act as forward sensors and pop up for a surprise.attack. Then the missile trucks finishes the job with whoever opponent got through the first merge. Well, in theory at least.

      2. Bjørnar Bolsøy

        Or, in a different scenario, the missile trucks do the brunt of the work and the stealthy forward aircraft’s finishes the job. The scenarios are very range dependent.

  10. BB3

    CF- were the STOL & roadbase capabilities of the various contenders? I’d think the Gripen & Super Hornet might fare best there – though a bit unsure about how much maintenance/ support the Growler might require. Not really sure of the STOL characteristics of the other 3 contenders (Typhoon, Rafale & F35) though the Rafale does have a carrier version so I’m guessing it may have capabilities similar to the Super Hornet. I’d think the F35 with its ALIS system & stealth coatings might have the hardest time out in the elements and away from a main base – though I realize that the F-35Bs are envisioned to be used in forward/ austere bases by the US Marines, etc. . I’ve never read much about the Typhoon’s STOL and austere basing capabilities.

Comments are closed.