Air Force (Ilmavoimat) - Modernization
The 1980s began with the acceptance of new aircraft by the Air Force when, in 1980, Satakunta Airport received the first British Hawk jets. Hawk provided a good basis for training instructors on fighter jets, as the machine was a sufficiently powerful and demanding training platform for fighter tactics. Communication, transport and target towing equipment were also replaced in the early part of the decade. The new types of the time were Fokker F.27, Learjet 35 A / S and Piper Chieftain. The success of the procurement is evidenced by the fact that all aircraft types had decades of service in the Air Force.
Until the 1980s, the Air Force fighter jets were stationed at the Karelia Air Force with Soviet-made MiGs and the Lapland Air Force operating with the Swedish Drakens. The main equipment of the Satakunta Air Force was first the Fouga and then the Hawk jet trainers. In 1985, Drakens were purchased for the Satakunta Air Force transfer from Pori to Pirkkala. At the same time, MiG-21BIS procurement continued. BIS aircraft replaced the aging MiG-21F aircraft in use by the Karelian Air Force and the reconnaissance fleet operating in Luonetjärvi.
During the 1980s and 1990s, air defense was developed in a variety of ways, including fighter tactics and command and control systems. Fighting equipment also underwent retrofit programs to maintain and improve its performance through the turn of the millennium to the end of its estimated life cycle.
During the nineties, communications equipment was strengthened with the acquisition of the last domestic-manufactured and planned military aircraft, Valmet Redigo. Supplementary purchases of Hawk machines were also made in 1993. By the end of the 1980s, the search for a successor to the aging Drake and MiG fleet, which had already reached international peak, was also started.
Candidates for the fighter competition were French Mirage 2000-5, Swedish JAS 39 Gripen, US F-16 C / D Fighting Falcon and F-18 C / D Hornet, and the Soviet MiG-29. The first four of these were selected for further evaluation and were tested in the winter of 1992 in Hall. In May 1992, a procurement decision was announced that McDonnell Douglas (now Boeing) F-18 Hornet was selected as the next Air Force fighter fighter. As with previous purchases of Fouga, Drake and Hawk, a large domestic assembly of machines was agreed upon in connection with the transaction.
A total of 57 single-seat Hornets were assembled in Finland and seven two-seat aircraft in the United States. Personnel familiarization with the new type of aircraft began in 1994, when aircraft pilot training and aeronautical personnel were trained in the United States.
The acquisition of the Hornet marked the beginning of a new era in the Air Force. The modern and efficient main fleet has formed a good basis for the development of air defense. The Air Force received its first Hornets, six two-seater F-18Ds, in November 1995, when they flew from the United States to Pirkkala. In 1996, the first single-seat F-18C from the Patria Finavitec production line was completed. The entire production line was completed in 2000, and in the same year all three Air Force units were equipped with new fighter jets.
The transition from Draken and MiG-21 to several generations of fighter jets, Hornet, marked a major leap for the Air Force. Some of the most important features of the new fleet were modern pulse doppler radar and powerful AMRAAM radar missiles. They improved the picture and significantly increased the combat capability for longer distances. Hornet's digital systems also greatly reduce the pilot's workload and enable versatile upgrades. In addition, the machine could easily be integrated as part of the advanced domestic Air Defense Fire Control Situation Management (ITTH) system that came into use in the late 1990s.
The Hornet era also meant an intensification of international cooperation for the Air Force. Since Finland's accession to the European Union and NATO's Partnership for Peace program, the Air Force has participated in international flying exercises at home and abroad since 2000. Through international contacts, the Air Force offers a perspective on the global development of military aviation, an opportunity to incorporate world-wide proven practices and practices, and to practice air defense missions in a realistic manner with the world's best air forces.
In addition, the Air Force created and evaluated an International Preparedness Unit in accordance with the obligation of the 2004 Government Security and Defense Policy Report.
Since the beginning of 2010, the Air Force had been able to deploy six Hornet fighters and a 250-strong air squad for military crisis management tasks, but this will require a separate decision by the government and the reassembly of the unit.
With the completion of the Hornet acquisition, other Air Force aircraft have been renewed in the 2000s. Starting in 2007, the CASA C-295M conveyors were replaced with the Fokker F27 and in 2010 the Swiss-based Pilatus PC-12NG communicators were replaced with the Piper Chieftain and Redigo fleet.
In 2011, the Hawk Mk 66 jet training aircraft purchased from the Swiss Air Force also became operational. They replace some of the most widely flown elder Hawks in flight training. All future Hawkes will have a cab modernization program. In 2016, deliveries of Grob G 115E elementary aircraft to the Air Force began to be replaced.
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