The air force and ministry of defense are getting ready to send final request for tender by the end of this month. We got some inkling what the bid entails from Foreign Military Sales permit from US Congress in October 2020: as planes go either 64 F-35 As or 72 Boeing F/A-18 E/F/Gs (50 Es, 8 Fs and 12 Gs respectively). This along with various munitions and equipment (no mention there about AMRAAMs or JATMs though). JATM should be available by 2021, so it should be available for US planes in HX competition, when 2025 comes along. Obviously MBDA Meteor will be integrated to F-35 by that time too, so it could be outside chance fo BWR-missile. The Lockheed asks for 10,6G€ and Boeing 12,5G€ for the packet. There is no same kind of data from European competitors.
As always, left side of political spectrum is complaining about the price tag associated with the HX-program, and how the money could be spent much more sensibly on X, Y or Z. There has also been calls to limit the HX program to 40 fighters and other such, mostly meant for own voters kind of stuff. Also limiting to 40 planes have been quoted because “Finland doesn’t want to go on offensive war.”
Over the weekend Finnish Broadcasting Corporations Swedish language side started making noises about “not having honest discussion about HX program”. They quoted professor Hiilamo about the level of discussion. I’m sure prof. Hiilamo is bees knees in his own field, social policy, but as his beef with the HX program centers about it’s costs and not so much about the why and how many? Of the matter.
The “YYA-sopimus” people (agreement on friendship, co-operation and assistance) [The agreement that made Finladisierung the thing in 1960’ies] folk would sleep much better, if there was “only a few” fighters, say max 24, and they would only have defensive missiles. The cause of this is: “our fighters will be shot down in few minutes anyhow” and “money would be much better spend on [insert your pet cause here]”. I have proved in various simulations that even a quite limited technically advanced fighter force will be able to conduct effective defensive counter air against technologically near peer larger air force. Also this YYA people would only consider fighter that is made in Sweden, because of neutrality.
This message was brought to fore by bunch of wellmeaning fools (Kansan uutiset is far left paper associated with Finnish Vasemmistoliitto, a part little right from communist and left of socialists). who wanted to take a time out in HX-program. They feel that more comprehensive evaluation of defense policy and broader options. (Maybe they would like to see Russian and/or Chinese “peace”fighters in place of western “oppressor” fighters).
Other folks, so called “S2A missile people” see that it would be better to spent the odd G€ to get the surface to air defense into top notch. This would not of course be bad way to go as such, and with enough missiles and launchers would create a hefty size AD bubble around the vital parts of Finland. This would of course mean that Finnish Defense Force would loose the much of the capability to project power especially into Åland Archipelago and more broadly into the Baltic sea. This would mean that Finland would in essence drop the Åland neutrality agreement. This would be very costly exercise in Finnish blood, as by agreement FDF would have to take Åland back in some time frame.