Jet Fighters

In Hbl of today (Ons 29.03.) there was an article which one really should not forget. Its headline was clear enough:”USA kopplar ihop jaktplanen med försvarssamarbetet”, and the FAKTA box was pointing out the 5 different jet fighter models which are under consideration as replacements for the slowly ageing Hornet fighters which Finland is operating at present.

In the list there were the US Super Hornet, the US F-35, the Eurofighter Typhoon, the French Rafale, and the Swedish Jas Gripen, and what is (so far) known to me about these is this: (a) the Super Hornet is a further-developed version of the present Hornet, not really a bad fighter bomber, presumably even financially affordable, which, though, cannot afford to meet any of the modern Russian Su-27 or Su-35 (which is also true for most of the other models – one has to try and use them in ways which do not result in meetings of fighter vs. fighter), (b) the US F-35 is so stealthy that it has very good chances to avoid and survive all types of enemy actions, but unluckily it is so expensive that Finland would simply not have the money to buy any reasonable number of them, (c) the Eurofighter Typhoon has shown very difficult sides in the German airforce (of a bit over 100 fighters in service less than ten were fully operational, according to some because of having been badly assembled during production), (d) the French Rafale was carefully tested when Switzerland was choosing a new jet fighter, and was seemingly the best of the models under consideration (after which a different fighter was bought for political reasons), (e) the Swedish Jas Gripen is in several books described as a quite good fighter, but was among the models which Switzerland was comparing, thus seemingly in a number of ways inferior to the Rafale. Should one say that for the money Finland has there are three possible models available, one of them American.

Now take the fact that the USA are trying to put political pressure (see Hbl article), quite in line with Trump’s “America first”. Perhaps one should not be too insulted – I anyway remember that also Sweden has on one occasion tried something like that, i.e. such seems simply to belong to business, and also France will presumably not hesitate to try really this and that to sell its Rafale. But aside of ignoring these “usual business habits” there are further aspects which one can and should consider: (a) the USA have just demonstrated what types of presidents they are able to produce (in addition to Trump we do remember Reagan and his Reaganomics as well as the criminal George W. Bush), which should be a VERY good reason to avoid becoming dependent on just the USA; (b) the USA have (by their willingness to invest hugely into things military, by their idea of American exceptionalism and by the subservience of their satellites) a rather crushing power position in negotiations (which one, thus, should not even enter into), whereas Finland would be in a better position when negotiating with some European government; (c) European makers of military airplanes have anyway trouble enough to survive economically against the US competition, so that it would be a contribution to Europe’s (desirable) independence from the extremely unreliable USA (see above) if Finland’s money could go to some European manufacturer; (d) a decision to buy US material might well add to tensions with Russia, whereas it might be wiser to try and make from Scandinavia (if possible together with the baltic countries) something like a politically relaxed area.

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4 Responses to Jet Fighters

  1. Bert says:

    När jag häromdagen satt i omklädningsrummet efter att ha spelat tennis råkade jag lyssna till en diskussion – på finska – om just jaktplansinköpen; det var gubbar i den åldern att några av dem hade pojkminnen från kriget. De var rörande eniga om att JAS Gripen, ‘från grannen’ var det enda förnuftiga alternativet, med tanke på både egenskaper och i synnerhet reservdelar och skolning mm, som ju i så fall funnes tillhanda ‘hos grannen’. Kanske körde dom SAAB också ?

    • Ernst Mecke says:

      Thank you indeed for the contribution! Things like reservdelar och skolning mm are aspects which should certainly be taken very serious, nor would it harm if all the necessary discussions could be conducted between governments which are anyway neighbours, are already busy thinking about a closer cooperation, and are both able to negotiate in Swedish (the latter a factor which could even help the situation of the Swedish language in Finland some little bit …).

  2. Thomas says:

    The fighter plane that Switzerland compared with was Gripen C/D not the new E/F version. That was also why Switzerland eventually chose Gripen E/F. A referndum about increasing teh budget for the Swiss air force turned out with a no, so the purchase has been postponed but will soon start up again – Gripen is the likely winner. If you compare Gripen E/F with Rafale and Eurofighter, you can´t say that Rafale and Eurofighter would win an aerial fight. What Rafale and Eurofighter can do is to take more payload than Gripen for land attack purposes. Also, only F-35 has the Stealth features. However, if you use several different radars you can track where the F-35 is and then shot a missile against it. When the missile is close enough, it will be able to lock. If Finland buys Gripen, then Finnish Gripens will be able to land on Swedish airfields in order to get fuel and arms and the other way around.

    • Ernst Mecke says:

      My sincere thanks to Thomas for his comment. Unluckily I do not really know from where to update my knowledge about the details of the most recent jet fighter models (and I think we can be sure that ALL builders of jet fighters are continuously busy improving their products). But I do think the point that Finnish Gripen might be able to land on Swedish airfields (and there find ground crews and mechanics who are familiar with just Gripen jets – and perhaps even spare parts and such) is an EXTREMELY important aspect.


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