United States Air National Guard Flight Detachment paid a Visit to Karelia Air Command
A flight detachment of the United States Oregon Air National Guard paid a squadron-level visit to Karelia Air Command at Rissala air base from 9 to 20 May this year. Around 150 U.S. personnel and six Boeing F-15 fighters from the Oregon National Guard arrived at Finland’s Rissala air base, in its eastern region of Karelia. Although not formally members of U.S.-led NATO, Finland and Sweden both have the option to join the alliance on their initiative and have participated in joint exercises with NATO allies for years.
U.S. Air National Guard F-15 jets joined the Cross Border Training drill, held by the Finnish and Swedish Air Forces, with the aim of raising their readiness to determine and respond to threats in their sovereign skies.
The practice maneuvers included both air combat training and refuelling practice, which lasted until May 20.
Requests for Information has been sent to four governments regarding the replacement of Hornet aircraft
In the RFIs, budget estimates are asked about the costs of procuring, using and maintaining the systems and their calculation methods. In addition to the actual aircraft, the systems which are reviewed include weapons, training equipment, C2 systems and maintenance arrangements. Manufacturers may also present solutions which include several types of aircraft or unmanned aerial vehicles contributing to the capabilities of multi-role fighters.
The RFIs were sent to defence administrations in countries which manufacture the kind of multi-role fighters and related systems which could meet Finland’s requirements to replace the Hornet aircraft. An RFI contains detailed information on the operational principles of air defence and the desired future capabilities. A majority of the information provided and of the answers received will be classified.
According to a comprehensive replacement schedule which has been created for the Hornet project, the new multi-role fighters are expected to be in use at the time when the Hornet fleet is to be phased out. The procurement process is very large and complex. The deadline for the answers to the RFIs is at the end of 2016. The invitation to tender regarding the replacement of the Hornet fleet will be sent in 2018, and the procurement decision is scheduled for 2021.
At this stage the Air Force does not want to restrict the types of aicraft that are considered. For the preparation of the project and the competitive situation it is useful to gain information on as many types of aircraft as possible. The RFIs are expected to provide information on the following aircraft types: Boeing F-15 and F/A-18, Dassault Rafale, Eurofighter Typhoon, Lockheed Martin F-16 and F-35, and Saab Gripen.
Information is also needed on training in the new systems. For example, the defence forces in the chosen country usually provide the training for pilots and technical staff. The Air Force is also interested in developing the systems during use which normally is under the charge of the defence administration in the manufacturing country. Various defence administrations are likely to provide some of the answers to the RFIs.
The project to replace the Hornet fleet (the HX fighter project) aims at replacing the Hornet aircraft which are going to be phased out as of 2025 with multi-role fighters. The life-span of the Hornet fleet will end by the end of the 2020s.
The project is owned by the Air Force Commander, the Finnish Defence Forces Logistics Command is in charge of technical and commercial matters in the preparation and the Ministry of Defence is in charge of the materiel policy guidance. As to the RFIs, the Air Force Commander Major General Kim Jäämeri, the Project Coordinator Lauri Puranen and the Deputy Director of the Finnish Defence Forces Logistics Command Brigadier General (eng.) Kari Renko will introduce the objective and the overall project to the representatives of the governments and companies in the countries concerned.
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Article source: http://ilmavoimat.fi/en/