Finnish Air Force

|| Trainer
Attack || Mk.51/51A
Mk.66
||
47
18
65 |
-
Learjet 35 || || Transport || M || 2 ||
-
Valmet L-70 Vinka || || Liaison || || 9 ||
-

Certain aircraft are scheduled for replacement: The Fokker F.27s will continue to serve side-by-side with the C-295Ms but are due to be replaced in a few years time. [http://www.mil.fi/ilmavoimat/tiedotteet/2884.dsp] . The Hawk Mk.51s and 51As are to be replaced by new planes of a so far unknown model in the next decade, and as an interim solution Swiss Mk.66s have been purchased. The Piper PA-31s will be replaced by 8 new liaison aircraft. Tenders have been invited from Pilatus Aircraft, Raytheon Aircraft Company and B-N Group. [http://defmin.fi/files/835/Bulletin_18_12_2006.pdf] .

The Finnish Air Force also planned to purchase 2-3 larger transport aircraft, to fulfill the requirements for domestic operations and for troop and logistics transports in international operations, as well as to form a tactical reserve for the evacuating of people from hazardous areas. The suggestions ranged from the Airbus A330 MRTT, Airbus A400M to the C-17 Globemaster III. [http://defmin.fi/index.phtml?l=en&s=351] On March 25 2008 it was decided that Finland would join NATOs joint airlift programme, which comprises a joint purchase of two C-17s by the new NATO countries and Sweden and Finland. [ [NewsRoom Finland: "Finland joins strategic airlifter procurement scheme" (retrieved on March 31, 2008)] ]

Helicopters

The Finnish Air Force operated helicopters until the end of the 1990s when all were transferred to the army wing. All helicopters are attached to the Utti Jaeger Regimen't Helicopter Battalion at Utti Jaeger Regiment. Helicopter types include Hughes 500D, Hughes 500E, Mil Mi-8T, and Mil Mi-8P. Twenty NHI NH90 are on order.


=UAVs=

All UAVs are currently operated by the Army's Artillery brigade. The UAV Unit is stationed in Niinisalo. The Army operates the RUAG Ranger. Patria has also developed a Mini-UAV, which has been field tested by the Finnish Army.

F-18 Hornet

The F-18 Hornet is the Finnish Air Force variant of the Boeing IDS F/A-18 Hornet multi-role attack and fighter aircraft. It lacks certain avionics, target acquisition and weapon control features, limiting its ground attack capability. The variant is also used by the Swiss Air Force.

The decision to purchase the aircraft (64 in total, with 7 two-seat F-18D models and 57 single-seated F-18C models) was made in 1992, soon after the 1991 collapse of the Soviet Union. The original plan was to buy about 40 western fighters and about 20 Soviet fighters due to political reasons, but the collapse of the Soviet Union removed the political reason to also buy Soviet aircraft. The plan changed to 60 single-seat + 7 dual seat fighters of the same type, and the F-18 won the contest. Due to the F-18's high price, the number of fighters to be purchased was decreased by three, to 57+7.

A key goal in the Finnish foreign policy of that era was to take no action that might be interpreted by the Soviets as a security threat; a weapons purchase of this magnitude certainly applied. Buying only NATO-compatible, American fighter jets was not possible for Finland before the U.S.S.R.'s collapse.

The primary reason for the lack of ground attack features in the aircraft is the semantic meaning of the word "attack". For example, Finland has "Defence Forces", not an army — even the possibility of Finland ever attacking its neighbors is denied on all levels. This made the policy decision to purchase "attack aircraft" impossible in the nineties aftermath of finlandization, leading to factory reconfiguration of the F/A-18 to the F-18 variant. A similar rationale also led the Swiss Air Force to purchase 34 F-18s in 1991. A ban on bombers ("aircraft with internal bomb bays") was also mandated by the Paris peace treaty of 1947. This ban was later unilaterally rejected by Finland, but it played a part in the original specification and the competition.

The F-18 Hornet is the second U.S. Navy fighter in the Finnish Air Force, following the 1939 purchase of the Brewster F2A.

Attack capability upgrade

On 7 December 2004 the Finnish Air Force announced that it will reinstall the missing features in order to enable ground attack capability for the Hornets. [ [http://www.mil.fi/ilmavoimat/tiedotteet/896.dsp Puolustusvoimat: Ilmavoimat kehittää maavoimien tulitukea ] ]

The FAF will test the following weapon types:

* 67 AN/APG-73 Expand 4/5 Upgrades,
* 3 AN/RT-1851 Radio Transmitters,
* 5 Multifunctional Information Display Systems (MIDS/LVT),
* 10 Advanced Tactical Forward Looking Infrared Radar (ATFLIR),
* 4 AN/ALR-67V(3) Radar Warning Receivers,
* 5 AN/AYK-14 Mission Computer Upgrades,
* 2 GBU-31 Joint Direct Attack Munitions (JDAM),
* 2 AGM-154A Joint Stand Off Weapons (JSOW),
* 1 AGM-84K Stand-Off Land Attack Missile/Expanded Response (SLAM-ER), and
* 1 AGM-88E Advanced Anti-Radiation Guided Missiles (AARGM).

The proposed program support includes recorders, receivers, devices, systems, APX-111 Combined Interrogator Transponders Mode S, components improvement program, spare and repair parts, support and test equipment, publications and technical data, personnel training and equipment, U.S. Government and contractor engineering and other related elements of logistics and program management support. The estimated cost is $300 million.

There has been some advance information that the AARGM won't be approved for Finnish testing, due to US ITAR regulations.

In December 2007 it was announced that the FAF had purchased ten AN/AAQ-28 LITENING AT Block II pods, which were to be integrated with its F-18s. [ [http://www.defenseindustrydaily.com/finland-buys-litening-at-pods-04475/ www.defenseindustrydaily.com Finland buys LITENING AT pods. Retriedved 2007-12-23] ]

Organisation

The Air Force is organised into three commands, each of which operates a fighter squadron:

Headquarters (Jyväskylä-Tikkakoski)

;Air Support Squadron
*1st Flight F27-100 and F27-400M, CASA C-295M, Valmet Vinka, PA-31-350 Chieftain, Valmet L-90TP Redigo
*2nd Flight Gates 35A/S Learjet
*3rd Flight F27-100 (Sigint)

;C4I Materiel Command

Lapland Air Command (Rovaniemi)

;Fighter Squadron 11 ("Hävittäjälentolaivue" 11, HävLLv 11)
*1st Flight F-18C/D
*2nd Flight F-18C/D
*3rd Flight Valmet Vinka, PA-31-350 Chieftain, Valmet L-90TP Redigo

atakunta Air Command (Tampere-Pirkkala)

;Fighter Squadron 21"' (HävLLv 21)
*1st Flight F-18C/D
*2nd Flight F-18C/D
*3rd Flight Valmet Vinka, PA-31-350 Chieftain, Valmet L-90TP Redigo

Karelian Air Command (Kuopio-Rissala)

;Fighter Squadron 31 (HävLLv 31)
*1st Flight F-18C/D
*2nd Flight F-18C/D
*3rd Flight Valmet Vinka, PA-31-350 Chieftain, Valmet L-90TP Redigo

Training Air Wing (Kauhava)

;Fighter Squadron 41 (HävLLv 41)
*1st Flight Hawk Mk 51/51A
*2nd Flight Hawk Mk 51/51A
*3rd Flight Hawk Mk 51/51A

;Training Squadron
*1st Flight Valmet Vinka
*2nd Flight Hawk Mk 51/51A
*3rd Flight Valmet L-90TP Redigo, Valmet Vinka

Air Force Academy (Tikkakoski)

;Supporting Air Operations Squadron (TukiLLv)

Air Force Air Material Command (Tampere)

Flight Test Center (Halli)

;Aircraft and Weapon Systems School
*F-18C/D, Hawk Mk 51/51A, Valmet Vinka, Valmet L-90TP Redigo

The three commands are part of the Defence Forces' Readiness formations.

Mobilized organisation

* 3 Fighter Squadrons F-18C/D
* 1 Fighter Squadron Hawk
* 6 Readiness bases
* 1 Support Squadron
* 7 Communications Flights

Total of 38,000 personnel

Commanders

ee also

*List of World War II aces from Finland
*List of air forces

References


* Shores, Christopher. "Finnish Air Force, 1918-1968". Reading, Berkshire, UK: Osprey Publications Ltd., 1969. ISBN 0-85045-012-8.

External links

* [http://www.ilmavoimat.fi/index_en.php Finnish Air Force]
* [http://www.airliners.net/search/photo.search?airlinesearch=Finland%20-%20Air%20Force Pictures of Finnish Air Force aircraft at Airliners.net]
* [http://www.mil.fi/maavoimat/kalustoesittely/00116_en.dsp Finnish Defence Forces: Presentation of equipment: Interceptor fighter]
* [http://www.flug-revue.rotor.com/FRheft/FRH0008/FR0008f.htm Flugrevue article about the Swiss Air Force's F-18s]

European topic
title = Air Forces in Europe
suffix = _Air_Force
countries_only=yes |UK_only=yes


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