Gripen, along with four other candidates, will go through a series of tests starting January 9th till February 26th, 2020 as a part of Finland's HX Program to find the country's next fighter aircraft, reports ES&T.
The HX Challenge of the Finnish program is the first phase of the capability assessment carried out by the Finnish Air Force (FAF). Through tests and evaluations designed in Finland, the Challenge will look to verify the data of the fighters as reported by their respective manufacturers. The HX Challenge will be carried out under Finnish conditions in order to ensure a fair and balanced evaluation of the competitors.
“The purpose of the HX Challenge is not to rank the candidates, but to make sure that the performance values reported in the responses to the call for tenders actually apply in the Finnish operating environment,” said Colonel Juha-Pekka Keränen, Director of the HX program. “We will utilize the data gathered in the second and third phases of the capability assessment,” he added.
After the completion of the HX Challenge, the second phase will test the flight performances through virtual simulators, and during the third phase, the operational efficiency of the fighters will be checked. The tests and evaluation of the HX Challenge will be performed at Pirkkala Air Base in Tampere, Finland.
The HX Fighter Programme is a part of the development of Finland’s defense system that has been set up to replace the current fleet of Hornets with new modern fighters.
According to the timeline of the program, the fighter contract will be rewarded to one of the candidates in 2021 for the procurement of 64 fighters, followed by deliveries starting 2025.
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