What really happened to the F-35s deployed in Finland?

In a previous article, we returned to the words of the Finnish HX Program Manager, Lauri Puranen, who commented on the problems encountered by the F-35 as part of the operational assessment conducted by the Finnish Air Force as part of the HX-Fighters competition. He then confirmed what many observers and “spotters” had revealed: four aircraft were expected at Pirkkala air base, but only two arrived.

Worse, one of these two planes would have experienced a non-detailed damage preventing it from carrying out its test flights, the plane being repaired only in time for its return journey to the USA. Difficult on this last point to criticize the design of the F-35 without knowing the details of the breakdown in question. After all, a failure can happen to any aircraft, the Super Hornet would have encountered one during its HX evaluation, and it is precisely for this reason that two aircraft are systematically dispatched by each competitor.

On the other hand, the transition from four to two F-35 deployed is much more revealing of the problems still encountered by the F-35 but especially by the USAF, which must manage gigantic technical and operational concerns with its two most structuring programs for its future operational capability: Lockheed Martin's F-35 fighter jet and Boeing's KC-46 in-flight refueler.

The two F-35s deployed to Finland. If one of them quickly broke down, it is unclear how much he was able to participate in the trials anyway, especially to demonstrate the capabilities of communication and data sharing.

F-35 deployment to Finland: delays and non-deployed aircraft

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