23.12.2021 I’m sorry this post was long in making but I was hospitalized for a week, and unabvle to acces my computer.
So dust is settling and F-35A has gotten the nod to be the next combat edge of Ilmavoimat. I’m going to go over the last funny developements of the said HX program, and discuss my impressions of it. This in not to say Lockheed-Martin F-35A shouldn’t have been chosen, but just “funny things” around the program.
Here is link to the Valtioneuvosto (government) communique about the HX fighter. In Finnish naturally. there is a trove of materials behind that link, so it might be interesting to go through.
One funny thing is that MD Antti Kaikkonen said “we go the military capability forward”. Ie the the military capabilities matter the most. but THEN in the HX briefer he said that Dassault Rafale and Eurofighter Typhoon “didn’t qualify through the industrial co-operation phase of the program.” REALLY? So it would seem that FAF went Industrial co-operation forward rather than military capability forward.
MD Kaikkonen says in video on about 28min that: “Into military evaluation got, JAS Gripen, Lockheed Martin F-35 A and Boeing F/A-18E/F/G Super Hornet.” Ok SO to get into the military evaluation, you had to push through the economical evaluation. SO HOW can Mr Kaikkonen justify that Finnish Air Force cababilities were the primary concentration? So if for example Typhoon beat F-35 in eval, but was not up to snug in industrial co-operation part, it would not really mean that the most capable won. So I’m wondering this for quite a bit.
Military capabilities weight in evaluation were as follows: DCA/OCA 30%, Ground support, Army 20%, Ground support, Navy 10%, Deep strike 20%, ISTAR 20%, According to General Timo Kivinen. This seemed to be pretty much right. although Army can and will produce much more targets that FAF can strike. So in that way I think ground support Army is overrated. They will not be able to pull it off. This might of course be my bias as an artilleryman.
Swedish Broadcasting corporation had gotten the scoop that SAABs JAS-Gripen E was the third in competition. Which would put Boeing’s F/A-18 E/F/G trinity as the second. This was a bit surprising in the sense that Boeing offered the Loyal Wingman capabilities in near future. It does however put keen edge on the need to have stealth approach for Finnish Air Force.
I thought in my hearth of hearts that the 60% Rhino/Growler dynamic duo would get the nod or 40% SAAB Jas Gripen E and Global Eye would: This is not that I saying that F-35 is inferior pick, but as I fear that 10 GHz stealth will not be very effective means of protecting the aeroplane in mid to long future. My ex wives told I’m wrong sometimes, so maybe I overestimated the future radar capabilities of Russia and China. Time will tell.
As I did the simulations for the fighters in different scenarios it seemed that F-35 was hard pressed especially in OCA/DCA scenarios. This is partly because in simulation F-35 only has four BVR missiles. The block 4 fighters Finnish Air Force is going to get are going to be carry 6, which seems to be the industry standard. (Well Rafale could do 4 METEOR plus 4 near BVR MICAs so that sort of took the gold.) Also Command Modern Warfare seems to use quite simplified model of RCS (it is sort of rhombus, instead of the real spaghetti splash type of pattern.) so that might have hurt the F-35 in simulations.
Merciful and merry birthday of our Redeemer to all readers and Happy new year!