First the disclaimer: I don’t work for FDF, but have academic and personal interest in matter. So here are some musings about future FDF navy.
Finnish Navy and ministry of Defense announced last week (FINNISH), that Navy will get four new hulls to replace ageing six hulls in 2020. There is and excellent piece in English from Corporal Frisk. There has been a bit of discussion about number of ships and capabilities needed for said hulls. Navy will lose four fast missile craft and two mine layers. Even if “modularity” and “multitasking” are implemented in said craft they, still, cannot be in two places in same time. Thus either convoy duties or defense of southern shores will be neglected on one time or another. For example a ASuW ship without helicopter facilities is not much of a threat for the subs.
Ships will be bigger, in order to have helicopters or UAVs on board for sub-hunting. This would suggest that the ships need to be bigger than 98m (This also makes sense, as Frontier guards patrol ships are a bit more than 95 meter deals, and navy err, needs to have bigger TOOL.) I’d say good bet would be something like Sigma 10513 Which seems to have good capabilities with helipad and hangar and also reasonable anti surface and capable of self defense against air threats.
BUT a good Anti submarine warfare frigate, is not necessarily a good Anti air defense frigate as well. Naturally they can defend themselves from air, but their convoys? Basically question is about number of missiles, not just the capabilities of missiles. Umkhonto is a good missile, and can even strike ground targets, but their range is not sufficent for good layered defense. Enemy just has to use missiles in volleys in such way that threats materialize at the same time and there is not enough time to deal with all threats. Some will get through. A ship is large target, and high value target, so it is feasible to just saturate the layered defense in order to eventually get hits and thus sinks.
As air force will not be able to fly air-cover for convoys in- or out bound from Finland. Thus the Sigmas would needed to be accompanied by air-defense frigate with multiple missile systems. AAW frigate would be even bigger, some 130-140m range. Something like this dutch advanced Command and Air defenese frigate. Link here. Ship needs to be bigger in order to facilitate larger AA missile batteries for TWO missile systems, as well as some ASuW and ASW systems. If heli hangar is dropped it might be a bit smaller hull.
But still in convoy duties some frigates would need to be in Air defense duties, and some in anti submarine duties. they MAY be able to do both at the same time, but I seriously doubt they can do it all the time. BUT four hulls cannot be in two duties at the same time. IF they are in convoy duties, they will not be defending the coastline and vice versa. So four hulls are not sufficient for Navy’s needs. I’ll play a war game to prove it some not too distant day.
I seriously doubt ALL necessary tasks of Navy can be taken care of with just four hulls, but I suspect real deal here is monetary. Government feels it cannot afford to replace F/A-18c fleet and fleets 7 hulls at the same time. BUT fortunately ships can be built in Finland, so I suspect more hulls will be added to mix.