Discussion in 'Alternate History Discussion: After 1900' started by Khanzeer, Apr 8, 2019.
VTOL A-10: picture
Air Defense Force of the Finnish Republic - 2019
After the Finnish Revolution in November 1917 the new Red Finland declared independence and joined new Soviet Russia in co-operation. Contrary to expectations, the People's Republic of Finland was not annexed by Soviet Union but remained a communist puppet state showroom with both overt and covert Soviet presence. During the Cold War Finland was naturally part of the Warsaw Pact and after the end of the Cold War this most loyal of Soviet clients did not see similar liberalization tendencies to other former Communist states. Under the President for Life Paavo Väyrynen Finland has eagerly joined Russia in co-operation to form a new multipolar world. Like during the Cold War, Finland is an important part for Russian defences and also a stepping stone against NATO Sweden and Estonia. Väyrynen has also guarded independence of Finland by creating direct military links to China with his new enterprising ambassador Peter Vesterbacka.
Thus the aircraft inventory of the Air Defense Force consists of an interesting mix of aircraft types:
- 21 MiG-31 to be upgraded to BM standard, originally procured during 1980's
- 45 MiG-21 LanceR-F, as Soviet Union collapsed before Finnish purchase of MiG-29's, Finland upgraded it's MiG-21's to LanceR standard
- 30 Chengdu J-10C on order, to replace MiG-21's
- 30 PZL-Valmet 230 Skorpioni, Finnish built CAS aircraft, originally to be procured by both Poland and Finland but finally only by Finland
- 15 Aero L-39 Albatros trainer
- 21 Mi-24 attack helicopters
In thinking about it, I suppose it's also possible that the British Nighthawk would be a victim of post-Cold War cuts, and the Nighthawks sent back to the US by the end of the 1990s, only to be used to supplement the American stock during the 2000s.
The air-to-air numbers of the Finnish Republic look a little high compared to their neighbors...Sweden with 72 and RNoAF being ~60 (as they phase out the F-16's to 52 F-35's).
Regarding the MiG-21's, these numbers will make the Finnish one of the largest users left in the world.
Finnish Republic as Russian ally would greatly increase defense spending of both NATO countries Sweden and Norway. As for OTL numbers, current FaF inventory is 62 F-18C/D's against 66 fighters of this ATL Republic of Finland.
Your post is based on a mass death of butterflies, surely...
If one must choose between President for Life Väyrynen and the butterflies, the choice is clear.
If it were up to me it wouldn't exist! I'd have the RAF buy the DH110 design and have the Vixen and Sea Vixen instead, not because I have a particular problem with the Javelin but rather the idea that the RAF and RN have similar requirements might get the Sea Vixen in service earlier and avoid the P1154 fiasco later.
I doubt there is any engineering or design reason why the Javelin couldn't be turned into a strike fighter, but it would probably be less useful than the cheaper, simpler and more available Hunter in the CAS role and as complex but with less payload/range than the readily available Canberra in the strike/interdiction role. For example I wouldn't want the RAAF to swap out its Canberras for attack Javelins in Vietnam.
The Indians seem to absolutely love their Jaguars. I honestly don't know why.
I wonder if the buccaneer could have seen more widespread and longer lasting service. Maybe have the USMC operate it.
Why not? IIUC Jaguars are a perfectly serviceable, capable and sufficiently effect attack aircraft and probably well suited to India's needs. In reality this is far more important to air forces then paper tops speeds or bomb loads that people fixate on.
USMC Buccaneers are not going to happen given the USN buys their aircraft and operates them from carriers. However IIUC Buccaneers were in the running for the West German Marineflieger maritime strike requirement that the F104G won by bribery. In addition South Africa wanted another batch of 16.
Well the poster I was responding too was calling the Jaguar mediocre. I think the IAF is planning on keeping theirs in operation till the 2030s.
Finnish Air Force 1962- - or Ahti Lappi's wet dreams
Manned fighters were clearly a thing of the past during 1960's. Thus the Soviet offer of selling modern S-75 (SA-2) missiles was eagerly taken by Finland. Role of the Finnish Air Force was greatly diminished as the only fighters Finnish Air Force had in 1960's were semi-operational Folland Gnats, all 9 of them.
In a move later criticized to sound too much Eastern European, Finnish Air Force was reorganized as the Finnish Air Defense Force with former Ground Forces antiaircraft officers clearly getting premier role.
Later on, S-75 missiles were supplemented by Bloodhound MK II bought from Sweden as they were decommissioned for long range role and S-125 (SA-3) and Strela (SA-7) for closer range work.
1969-1982: 12x BAC Lightning F2S
By late 1960's it was clear that some planes would be needed for air sovereignity tasks. Mach 1+ performance and rudimentary all weather capability was required. In the end, 12 used Lightning F.2's modified to F2S (Suomi) standard were purchased.
1980-1997: 20x SAAB J-35S Draken
As Lightnings were getting more and more outdated and more difficult to operate, Finland decided to buy SAAB Drakens license built by Valmet for economic reasons.
1995-2020: 24x F-16A/B MLU
In early 1990's Finnish Air Defense Forces got an unexpected windfall with break-up of the Soviet Union, as Soviet Union offered a number of S-300 (SA-10) and BUK (SA-11) series missiles as debt payment. This was all good, as due to economic crash of early 1990's all procurement funds were extremely limited. Both BUK's and S-300's were upgraded in early 2000's.
The projected 1990's fighter procurement was cancelled. Fortunately the end of the Cold War meant an abundance of used military hardware, thus in 1995 20 F-16A's and 4 F-16B's were bought from USAF stocks. These planes have been progressively upgraded. Politically and operationally most important update was in 2004-2008 period, when F-16's got ground attack capability with JASSM stand-off missiles.
2020- 22x F-35A
In 2010's Finnish air defense missile inventory has been progressively upgraded. NASAMS and SAMP/T have been introduced to replace BUK and David's Sling will soon replace S-300. As for window dressing, Finnish Air Defense Forces was renamed Finnish Air Force in order not to sound too Eastern European.
The Air Force have finally got a first class fighter first time after the Second World War, as purchase of 22 F-35A's was decided upon in 2014. F-35A's will operate not only as fighters, but also as sensor nodes for Finnish land based air defense missiles. They will also have a significant strike capability thanks to their stealth qualities.
(ASB? Finnish defence forces had minuscule budget during the Cold War compared to most European countries. SA-2 purchase was a done deal sidelined by political issues, MiG-21F purchase was made instead and was considered the secondary option. Thus a different path might well have been taken and the improvement path might have been very different. Ahti Lappi is a retired antiaircraft branch officer actively lobbying for more AA missiles instead of fighters.)
I met Lappi last year. A very knowledgeable, well-spoken man who'se absolutely convinced missiles are the answer to pretty much everything in Finnish defence. Apart from Army and Air Force AA, he also argues that the Navy does not practically need ships at all but only needs to have AA and anti-ship missiles in mobile land-based batteries.
The Lightning and Draken are of the same late 50s early 60s generation, it doesn't make sense to replace the Lightning with less capable Draken when the more capable Viggen is the current production Swedish fighter.
How about the SAAB Viggen using the RR Medway engine rather than the JT8, which the US blocked for export? The Viggen was offered to Norway in 1968, was in the 70s NATO fighter competition and talks were undertaken with India, but all were scuppered by the US export ban.
Now I'm not saying this is a good idea with hindsight but....
1945 after the surrender of Japan Britain realises that the new Lincoln bomber is at best obsolescent and when they get the Abomb won't be able to carry it. To fill this gap they buy at scrap value all the remaining Consolidated B32 Dominators that the USAF doesn't want. When these are no longer airworthy due to lack of spares they buy 100 B 36, which after the delivery of the first V bomber are used as tankers and maritime patrol aircraft for use over the Indian Ocean.
Err, no, I called it a 'rather decent aircraft'. The fact that it had small-ish wings, although that apparently helped with low-level flight, and early models were a tad underpowered, leading to the aforementioned jokes, doesn't detract from an otherwise good aircraft. Even without top of the line electronics, the British having paid for better ones that the French models, a robust design, ease of maintenance and operation, adds up the an aircraft that can carry out the basic ground attack role well without breaking the bank.
Wasn't the B32 a pretty problematic aircraft? And with it being abandoned by the US isn't support going to be a problem? Wouldn't just buying B29s be a better idea?
My apologies. I misunderstood.
Britain's broke and the USAAF is essentially throwing them away so they can be had dirt cheap. Would B29's be better? Yes. Can Britain afford the most advanced bomber in the world in 1945/6? No. Even with cannibalisation I doubt they'd see out the 40's.
The B29 was pretty problematic as well.
I've read that the Adour was a very thrifty engine and when the Mk104 was introduced the Jag got a real performance boost in multiple flight regimes.
Given my obsession with the operation of a fighter fleet, rather than speed or bomb-load of a plane, I'd guess that the Jag was/is a good aircraft to own and operate given that the AdlA and RAF got 30+ years out of theirs and India wants 40+. Dud aircraft don't get their lives stretched like that, they get made obsolete at 20 years and replaced with money allocated for a mid life upgrade.
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