EU magnates had a dinner and meeting in beutiful Slovenia. The most pressing matter is European Union’s strategic position within world. EU is mighty weak strategically, because there if many different factions within EU who push and pull into different directions. This leads into EU’s incapability to act, Ability to function strategically in ANY way would meant that EU CAN reach decisions and has force it can project. EU has none of that beside France’s capabilities. But if we listen Mrs Ursula von der Leyen, the things will change: EU has to become strategically more independent.
Enter HX deal. Even though F-35A won and the F/A-18E/F/G was the runner up in SIIVET, THE Finnish aerospace magazine’s, evaluation of HX hopefulls, EU’s strategic companionship may well spill into HX decisionmaking. I will give out my own eval of the matter after I have gamed through OCA/deep strike scenarios.
First. Considering what kind of hissyfit France’s government threw after AUKUS sub deal, I will not be very suprised if there will be payback for Finland if HX deal doesn’t go to Dassault. (Or BAE or SAAB at least). I do not mean that Rafale would be a bad deal, in fact I think it is the black horse of the race tecnically/tactically, but especially politically Rafale is indeed formidable. United kingdom is sort of out EU, but still factors into Finnish defense planning very much. Eurofighter Typhoon is also pushed by Spanish and German Govt’s as main users, but I still think France is the big player in EU defense and strategic partnerships. This was very evident in Kaivopuisto airshow in August.
Second, I don’t necessarily see way forward with F-35A or F/A-18 Block III’s. Strategic difficulities with China and looming war in Taiwan, futures of both US candidates seem unpleasantly murky. There is no clear indication which or maybe neither will be the prime air warfare tool for their respective services. This would leave Finland with obsolete fleet of fighters that will be needed to be replaced too soon.
(EDIT 8.10) Thirdly Mrs Vonder Leyen flashed tax exempt for military buys from EU. This was thought to be foot in the mouth moment, as taxing state would here be Finland, and finland doesn’t tax military sales to FDF. One starts wondering IS European Union going to impose some kind of sales tax Outside of EU defense procurement to boost EU’s own defense companies sales? I decided to have a look and lo and behold: in European Defense Agency’s pages it says: “Together with its Member States and in close cooperation with the European Commission, EDA supports and incentivises cooperative defence procurement programs/projects, based on a case-by-case assessment.” SO, It looks like EU states are going to “support and incentivy” some defense procurement.
This would tie in about noises Finnish politicians making noises about funding the HX-fighters with loans. These three things together would mean that EU states incentify HX procurement from EU sources by financial means. More fighters, which would work great, or at cheaper price point, which would be easier to sell to Finnish public. at the price maybe taking over or taking a role in the Baltic air policing.
So in short, and all in all: seems that British Aerospace, Dassault and SAAB are moving up in the scales. Precisely if EU will want strategic independence from USA.