Tag Archives: Typhoon

Finland includes F-15 in ‘complex’ Hornet replacement

The Finnish ministry of Defense formally started the process for replacing its F-18 Hornets this week by sending out a Request for Information (RfI) to various aircaft manufacturers. Helsinki asks those manufacturers to respond by the end of this year, but expects a final decision no sooner than 2021.

The nordic country wants more info on the Boeing F-15 Eagle and F/A-18 Super Hornet, Dassault Rafale, Eurofighter Typhoon, Lockheed Martin F-16 and F-35, plus Saab the nex generation Gripen. The odd one in that list the F-15, a type that wasn’t widely named in the Finnish quest for a F-18 Hornet replacement before.

However, Helsinki in December did say that manufacturers were free to offer any aircraft that would fit the country’s requirements. It puts new light on the deployment of US F-15s to Finland in May.

Comparison

The RfI should have been handed out several months ago, but ‘logistic’ problems caused delays. Helsinki states the acquisition is ‘very large and complex’ ad therefore will take time. Comparison of the performances of all jets is scheduled for 2018.

The current F-18 Hornets should start leaving Finnish Air Force service in 2025, with the last one gone by 2030.

© 2016 Airheadsfly.com editor Elmer van Hest
Featured image: A Finnish Air Force F-18 Hornet, seen during exercise Frisian Flag 2016. (Image © Elmer van Hest)

 

‘Cool stuff I’ve seen’

In social circles, I find that my profession is an unusual one about which I get asked some pretty standard questions: “how fast have you been? How high have you been? Do you ever get scared?” Luckily, pilots love to talk about themselves and flying in general. The chats I like are those which ask questions I haven’t even thought about. Some of these were “what’s the coolest thing you’ve seen?” and “what are your most memorable flights?”

Nick Graham is a former Royal Air Force Tornado and Typhoon pilot who also flew F-16s with the Royal Danish Air Force. He’s is currently an instructor pilot, training future jet pilots in the United Arab Emirates. This is his second blog on Airheadsfly.com. Interested in reading Nick's first? Find it here.
Nick Graham is a former Royal Air Force Tornado and Typhoon pilot who also flew F-16s with the Royal Danish Air Force. He’s is currently an instructor pilot, training future jet pilots in the United Arab Emirates.

So, the coolest thing I’ve seen? I can’t choose one thing, but I can probably make a shortlist.

1.    Watching the Northern Lights on NVGs while I was flying from Scotland.
2.    Watching my wingman trail a shockwave behind him with the sun setting behind him at low level over the North Sea
3.    Watching mount Etna erupt with massive thunderstorms all around me while I flew on NVGs on my way to Libya
4.    Landing on a compacted snow runway at Bodo in Norway
5.    Looking in my mirrors as I left contrails behind me flying a barrel roll at 38,000’ in a Typhoon for the first time
6.    Looking at the curvature of the earth from 50,000 over the Falkland Islands flying at Mach 2
7.    The view on top of the clouds on a rainy day
8.    Scotland

RAF Voyager aircraft support Quick Reaction Alert duties 24/7. (Image © AirTanker)
RAF Voyager aircraft support Quick Reaction Alert duties 24/7. (Image © AirTanker)

My most memorable flights?

1.    First solo in every aeroplane I’ve flown
2.    First flight in every aeroplane I’ve flown
3.    My “wings trip” when I passed my advanced flight course on the hawk
4.    Passenger flights when I took ground crew flying as passengers
5.    The first time I went air to air refuelling
6.    My first war time flight
7.    The first time I dropped a bomb in anger
8.    My third trip on the Typhoon OCU where students are introduced the high performance capability of the jet

As for the standard questions?

Twice the speed of sound, 55,000’ and yes. We can chat in more detail about some of these flights another time, unless you can think of a different question you would ask?

© 2016 Airheadsfly.com contributor Nick Graham
Featured image: Nick at work in the Typhoon’s cockpit. (Image © Nick Graham.

 

Kuwaiti Typhoon deal finally signed

Kuwait has finally signed a contract with Finmeccanica for 28 Eurofighter Typhoon fighter aircraft, Finmeccanica reported on Tuesday 5 April. The signature was inked in Kuwait and comes after long negotiations that resulted in an bilateral agreement between the governments of Kuwait and Italy. It is Finmeccanica’s largest commercial contract ever.

Kuwait purchases 22 single seat and six two seater Typhoons for an estimated 8 billion USD. The contract includes logistics, operational support and the training of flight crews and ground personnel, which will be carried out in cooperation with the Italian Air Force. Kuwaiti pilots already receive flight training at Lecce airbase in southern Italy. The contract also provides for the upgrade of ground-based infrastructure in Kuwait which will be used for Typhoon operations.

Radar

The Typhoons for Kuwait will be the first to be equipped with the new active electronically scanned array (AESA) E-Scan radar. The radar is developed by the European EuroRADAR consortium which is led by Finmeccanica.

Assembly

The aircraft will be build at Finmeccanica’s facility in Turin. The facility hosts an assembly line for Typhoon and produces parts for other Typhoon assembly lines as well. The facility so far only saw final assembly of Typhoons destined for Italy.

Achievement

“This is Finmeccanica’s largest ever commercial achievement”, said Mauro Moretti, Finmeccanica CEO and General Manager. “It is an outstanding industrial success with significant benefits, not only for our company and the other Eurofighter consortium partners, but also for the entire Italian aerospace industry.”

News about the deal first emerged in September 2015. A contract was to be signed earlier this year already, but financial arrangements apparently took longer than anticipated. The deal concludes one of more deals pending in the Middle East.

The signing could be a bad omen for Boeing, that is still hoping to sell F/A-18 Super Hornets to Kuwait.  The country now operates a fleet of older legacy F-18 Hornets that is nearly 25 years old.

© 2016 Airheadsfly.com editor Elmer van Hest
Featured image: A Eurofighter Typhoon over surroundings typical for Kuwait. (Image © Finmeccanica)

Kuwaiti Typhoon deal one step closer

The deal for 28 Eurofighter Typhoons for Kuwat drew one step closer this week with the parliamentary approval in Kuwait of an advance payment of 500 million USD. The approval came after earlier this year an expected contract signing fell through .

The advance payment likely paves the way for a contract to be signed shortly. Kuwait eyes 28 Eurofighter Typhoons in a bilateral deal with Italy first reported last fall. The deal is one of many pending in the Middle East.

Kuwait is expected to pay well over 8 billion USD in total for the Typhoons and will become the third Tyhpoon user in the area following Saudi Arabia and Oman. The first aircraft for the latter recently entered final assembly.

© 2016 Airheadsfly.com editor Elmer van Hest

Switzerland restarts quest for new fighter jet

Swizterland is restarting its quest for a new fighter jet for its air force after a botched attempt two years ago to purchase 22 Saab Gripens. New aircraft are still needed to replace ageing F-5 Tigers, defense minister Guy Parmelin told Swiss government on Wednesday 24 February.

This year the Swiss start setting up requirements for the new fighter plus a set of plans for the selection process and eventual purchase. The selection is set to last until 2020, with a formal decision and order no later than 2022. Deliveries should start by 2025, according to Parmelin.

The F-18 Hornet is Switzerland’s most capable fighter aircraft. (Image © Elmer van Hest)
The F-18 Hornet is Switzerland’s most capable fighter aircraft. (Image © Elmer van Hest)

‘No’ to Gripen E

Prior to 2011, the Saab Gripen E, Dassault Rafale and Eurofighter Typhoon were evaluated in Switzerland. Although not showing itself as the best option in all aspects plus allegations of bribery, the Gripen came out on top. The Swiss government decided to buy 22 Gripens, but opponents managed to get enough support for a referendum in which voters eventually said ‘no’ to Gripens.

The F-5 Tiger needs replacement, especially since cracks grounded parts of the fleet recently. As of now, 30 out of 54 Tigers are operational. The type was set for retirement this year but may very well fly on for some time.

In 2025, the 31 current F-18 Hornets reach the end of their service life. Extending their service for five years will cost tax payers half a billion Swiss francs (410 million EUR).

© 2016 Airheadsfly.com editor Elmer van Hest
Featured image: The new jet should replace the ageing F-5 Tiger. (Image © Elmer van Hest)