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.