Many European countries are going to decide in the near future what sort of a new fighter airplane they are going to buy to replace their older models. One of such countries is Finland. Four different planes have been taken into the contest. The Eurofighter Typhoon (Germany/GB), Rafale (France), Gripen E (Sweden), Superhornet (USA) and F-35 (USA). The lobbying is already going on. All sorts of “experts” suddenly want to express their opinion on wich type of plane should replace the 64 Hornet (USA) planes now in use in Finland.

Hardly anyone is asking the more important question of what do we need fighter planes for, or even how many would be “enough”. The notion, that Finland launchess her fighter planes into some decisive battle in the air in case of a Russian invasion (because that is what the people think we need the planes for) is ridiculous. In case of a war with Russia, Finland could make a desperate stand against the overwhelming military might of the Russian army. We have precedences of such. However, air warfare has somewhat changed since we had the last go on that front. Finland simply does not have an airfield, that would be beyond Russian cruise missiles or their bombers. The Finnish airforce making a last ditch attempt against the Russians would end in us losing all planes we sent in one day and, if indeed some of them got back where would they land? On some strip of road specifically built for that purpose? In Sweden? And then what? The Finnish fighter jet would have little effect on Russian air supremacy, but a far less costly option would be to have mobile air-defence missiles. Yes, they would be expensive too, but not remotely as expensive as a single fighter jet and far more effective.

It may be, that Finland could use a set of fighter planes to identify foreign breaches of air-space (and parades) in peace time, but in comparrison to what we need for a plausible indipendent defence military, 64 or even just 60 planes (as the Paris peace treaty 1945 demands) is far too big of an investment. In fact it is a ridiculously massive investment on behalf of the Finnish nation -as it is the single most expensive investment we are going to make yet – to have been discussed so little by anyone else exept the lobbyists for different types of planes and the military, who obviously, want their ego boosters. Alas, it seems impossible for the Finnish officers (even from other branches of defence than the airforce) to recognize, that this investment is futile in regards to Finnish defence. I think I have heard every excuse, and do not bother to comment them much here, but they remind me that denialism is one of the most dangerous forms of “-isms”.

Nothing really sums up the nonsense value of the discussion about this issue, than the fact, that one of the planes offered to us is a prototype, with typical prototype flaws. And indeed our ministry of defence and all the media following the ministry have already decided to use language revealing wich of the different contestants is the favourite of the party, that is going to specify on what terms the choise shall be made. The ministry is calling the project of choosing the winner for a “multi-purpose fighter”. Now, of those on offer there really is only one actual multi-purpose plane, the F-35. And that is also why this plane, that has been in development for ages, is still a prototype. Because it was bogus from the beginning.

The idea, that a single aircraft would serve on almost all possible different roles, has produced a prototype riddled whith problems, because the different roles, or “purposes”, do not go well together. The stealth mode only works a bit, if the payload is hidden within the chasis, when the weapon systems are revealed from within the stealth chasis, the plane does not only loose stealth, but also much of it’s manoverability. The vertical engine configuration hardly works and is of no use to the Finns. The targetting system is crap and fuel consumption is extremely high. Now, this is the most expensive type of plane offered to us and it is the one chosen by a lot of countries. Why?

A visiting researcher for the Institute for Foreign Policy Finland Matti Pesu recently said in public, that now that some countries have joined the program, including other Nordic countries who have opted for F-35, it may influence also Finland in favour of it. Unbelievable! Was he referring to Denmark, since it could not have been Norway, that has been a member of the project from the beginning (and tried to leave it when it started to become too expensive and as it remains a prototype). But Denmark opted to join in already in 2005. Not “now” or even recently. As a result Rafale took out their plane from the competition, as they thought the contest was rigged in favour of the F-35 option. There have been similar allegations by Boeing about the contest in Belgium and both their Super Hornet and Swedish Saab Gripen were taken out of the constest there. But these descisions are not transparent, so we do not know why we as nations buy this expensive junk.

There is big money involved in these purchases – really big in scale of nations even – and any sort of junk seems to make it to the shop. Higher the price, the more lobbying and corruption money involved. The more ridiculous the purchases.

Just befor WWII Finland bought two cruisers. Together they were the most expensive purchase of the state and nation of Finland had ever made. Neither of them got to be used in the war. One was sunk by a mine and the other was hidden only to be handed over to the victorious Soviets after the war. They served no purpose at all. In hindsight, that money could have been used better. Like for example anti-tank guns or artillery ammunition both of wich Finland suffered a sorely felt shortage of.