I have been most disappointed with the Dassault’s quietness in the HX-Program of Finland. Swedish SAAB and Eurofighter consortium have been very active in there campaign to secure procurement for about 60 to 100 of their planes for Finish Air Force.
I have regarded the Rafale as the black horse of the race. It won the Eurofighter Typhoon in Switzerland when they were making their assessment of these Fighters. The Swiss acknowledged that the Eurofighter Typhoon they had for the evaluation was “Monday morning specimen” and had all kinds of little trouble through the evaluation process. this of course leads one to think that maybe you row fighter has quality control problems. these quality control problems have been seen in the current Finnish Air Force (well ARMY helicopters as a matter of fact) helicopter replacement program with NH-90 helicopters that are many years behind the schedule.
The report the Swiss gave out on their evaluation program lauded Dassault Rafale as an excellent airplane all together. It had done the best in all scenarios they have evaluated. (Link to english version of the report) these scenarios might have some bearing in a Finnish Air Force scenarios as well but as I have not seen the Finnish request for bids I cannot really venture to guess. Nevertheless Rafale was the favorite among the pilots in Switzerland.
One reason for the apparent lack of enthusiasm and with Dassault might be that they feel that they may overbooked their capacity for aircraft production. They will be building the over 80 fighters for India, Egypt and Qatar they may feel that they 60+ airplanes faf would need all a bit of excess. personally I find this quite hard to believe as the assembly at least would be done in Finland.
SAAB and Eurofighter have already announced that they will be having and appearance in Finnish main flight exhibit in Seinäjoki in early June. Lockheed and Boeing have not announced anything as on early April. BTW Boeing also announced that Advanced Super hornets would be assembled in Finland, as was the case with the F/A-18 Cs in 1990’ies.
But one must Wonder what is going on in the Dassault headquarters.