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Thread: Finnish Air Force discussion

  1. #1
    Join Date
    Feb 2012

    Finnish Air Force discussion

    Old thread was closed, might just as well start anew.

    To kick things off, last year some old government documents regarding F-18 acquisition were declassified. Performance details from evaluation are still classified (and will remain so for at least 15 years) but some interesting information regarding cost and general suitability to Finnish requirements was revealed anyway.

    Price comparison as it was presented to State Council:
    Name:  Hintavertailu_u0.jpg
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    Left column is acquisition cost (in 1992 Finnish Marks), right is estimated maintenance cost over 30 years lifetime. Bottom text is commentary about expected index costs.
    One of the key issues was that Finns wanted to assemble the planes in Finland to gain familiarity and knowledge base in maintaining the aircraft. Several manufacturers were not interested in offering this arrangement and it hurt their chances.

    Of offered types:

    - Air Force saw F-18 as the clear winner of the evaluation, offering best performance, reasonable cost, low risk and high development potential. Naval background was seen as a bonus in Finnish dispersed basing system.

    - F-16 did not fulfill all Air Force requirements. At the time USAF was not planning more F-16 orders so there were fears that type was in sunset of its development (since proved totally unfounded). General Dynamics was very rigid negotiatior and not interested in accommodating Finnish specific requirements.

    - Mirage fulfilled requirements but while thought excellent from pilots point of view, mechanically it was "terrible hodgepodge of technology ranging from modern to ancient". At the time, version offered to Finland had no other customers. User base was smaller than in US aircraft.

    - Gripen was still in prototype stage and Air Force was very skeptical about Saab's ability to deliver the aircraft as promised. Swedes wanted Finland to become a partner in developing and marketing the plane and this would have exposed Finland to very high cost risks. "Basically Finland would have written an open check for Swedes to use money on Gripen". In the end, version offered to Finland was never even built.

    - MiG-29 had service life of only 15 years which made its lifetime costs very high. In its last throes, Soviet Union offered Finland a deal for co-development and marketing of modernized version of the plane (basically it sounds like funding for MiG-29M). Base version of MiG-29 did not fulfill Finnish requirements for avionics and maintenance system. Russian aviation industry was in chaos in post-USSR collapse and it was hard to even find people to negotiate with about any possible trade.

  2. #2
    Join Date
    Apr 2015
    Interesting insight. How similar do you think HX procurement is, are the same arguments at stake?
    Do you happen to have the rest of the document from which your image is from?


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