The Finnish Defense Forces intend to 2030 its McDonnell Douglas (now Boeing belonging) F / A-18 C / D Hornet phase out and replace them with new combat aircraft. Finland operates since 1995 three seasons with F / A-18s. The successor to within the HX program to be selected. A final selection decision should be made 2,021th The first decisions Finland has taken account in the selection criteria with one. So it should be a manned multi-roles platform.
Test campaign - HX Challenge
The Finnish Air Force is from 9 January to 26 February 2020 a HX Challenge testing and evaluation event potential F-18 perform successor on the Pirkkala Air Base. The aim of the HX Challenge is to validate the data reported by the manufacturers data and skills to the Finnish conditions and by their own tests. Each of the five candidates going through a trial period of seven working days. The candidates are:
- Euro Fighter Typhoon, 9 to 17 January 2020
- Dassault Rafale 20th to January 28th, 2020
- Saab Gripen, 29 January to 6 February 2020
- Lockheed Martin F-35, 7 to 17 Feb 2020
- Boeing F / A-18 E / F Super Hornet 18th to February 26th, 2020
The HX-Challenge is the first step of capacity assessment. The aim of the test campaign is to verify whether the systems and performance data of each candidate correspond to those declared by the manufacturers data.
As the second phase, a simulation will be followed. Here, the data obtained is used in virtual simulators to szenarabhängige success to elicit a swarm of four aircraft.
In the third phase, the operational efficiency of the comprehensive solution of HX each candidate will be demonstrated by a long-term war simulation. This is based on the knowledge and data of the first two phases.
The HX-Challenge is supplemented by further tests. There will be more test flights in the country of manufacture of the candidates, simulations and lab tests.
The HX-Challenge is organized in Finland, so that the findings can be reviewed under Finnish conditions and designed in Finland tests. The aim of all candidates are guaranteed fair and balanced assessment. Thus, the Finnish winter conditions affect, in particular the performance of electro-optical sensors. In addition, other active and passive sensor systems can be affected. "Modern multipurpose fighters to deal with low temperatures and freezing cold. However, if the temperature is around zero degrees Celsius, the conditions due to a combination of rain, freezing drizzle, sleet and snow are often more difficult, "said Colonel Juha-Pekka Keränen, director of the HX program.
The new fighter aircraft to the entire territory of Finland and against air, sea and land targets can be used. Therefore, the evaluation flights in Finland will be held. The candidates having to compete against Finnish Hawk advanced jet trainer and F / A-18 Hornets.
The HX program is considered part of the development of the Finnish defense system. Therefore, Army, Navy and joint command authorities are involved in the tests. These are, among others, the FDF Logistics Command, the FDF C5 Agency or the Finnish Defense Research Agency. The new fighter aircraft will have a maximum networking with systems from the army and navy.
In the bidding capability requirements were given to five categories. These are now checked: Air-air, air-to-ground and air-water warfare, missile deployment with high range and ISTAR (Intelligence, Surveillance, Reconnaissance and Target Acquisition). The support capabilities for military and naval units are examined. The focus of the event to the verification of technical systems and not on the assessment of the tactical efficiency.
Each candidate must take between two and four aircraft to Finland. Therefore, the number of arriving in Finland aircraft and staff will vary.
Parallel zu der Testkampagne gehen die Verhandlungen mit den Anbietern weiter. Die anbieterspezifische überarbeitete Angebotsanfrage (RFQ), wurde im Oktober 2019 an die Hersteller gesendet und die Antworten müssen bis zum 31. Januar 2020 eingereicht werden. Die Anfrage für das beste und letzte Angebot (BAFO) wird den Bietern im Jahr 2020 am Ende der zweiten Phase der HX-Programmverhandlungen zugesandt. Die finnische Regierung wird 2021 über die Auftragsvergabe entscheiden. Finnland beabsichtigt insgesamt 64 Maschinen zu beschaffen.