Cutting-edge Eurofighter aircraft will today become the first to take part in the 2020 HX Challenge – the Finnish Air Force’s series of Flight Evaluation Trials.
The trials are being run as a key part of the ongoing HX programme, the competition being run by the Finnish Defence Forces to replace the country’s existing F/A-18 fleet. For the next five days, Eurofighter aircraft from the UK Royal Air Force will be put through their paces in a series of evaluations in the cold conditions of Tampere.
Eurofighter will be tested under cold weather conditions to verify the performance claims made in the responses to the Request for Quotation documents submitted in last year, along with performance values previously verified in laboratory tests.
The trials programme will enable the Finnish Air Force to assess the performance of each aircraft, systems and sensors in the Finnish operating environment. The Eurofighter trials will be led by air crew from BAE Systems' Flight Operations team, led by Chief Test Pilot, Steve Formoso and test pilot Luke Gili-Ross.
Mr Formoso said:
Eurofighter is a robust, combat proven swing role fighter that can be deployed and operated worldwide in the most difficult and demanding of conditions, both in terms of environment and threat. We believe Eurofighter meets the operational requirement of the Finnish Air Force today and is optimised to defend Finland for many decades to come.There are close to 500 Eurofighters in service with European nations that provide the backbone of their air combat capability including 24/7 Quick Reaction Alert both at home bases and whilst deployed at locations such as those used as part of the NATO Baltic Air Policing role.
Paul Hitchcock, Managing Director, BAE Systems Finland, said:
Eurofighter has a proven pedigree of operating wherever and whenever it is needed, no matter what the conditions, and we are very much looking forward to demonstrating those capabilities as part of the HX Challenge.
This proven operational capability is of course only one element of what Finland requires for its investment. HX must contribute to deepening Finland’s security, political and industrial ties and we believe the combined strength of Eurofighter, the only true European offer for the HX programme, delivers this.
The HX fighter acquisition programme presents Finland with a unique opportunity to take control of its own security, defence and industrial future. By choosing Eurofighter, the Finnish Air Force would not only be acquiring the most advanced multi-role aircraft on the market, and one proven in service across the globe, it would be choosing everything Finland needs to independently operate, maintain and control its own aircraft – here in Finland, however it wants.