Indonesia orders French, Finland picks Cheesburgers

Two U.S. Air Force F-35A Lightning IIs assigned to the 4th Fighter Squadron, Hill Air Force Base, Utah, and two Dassault Rafales assigned to the 1/4 Gascogne Fighter Squadron, 113 Saint-Dizier-Robinson Air Base, France, break formation during flight May 18, 2021, over France. The flight was a part of the Atlantic Trident 21, a joint, multinational exercise involving service members from the U.S., France, and the U.K. and is aimed at enhancing fourth and fifth-generation integration, combat readiness, and fighting capabilities, through conducting complex air operations in a contested environment. (U.S. Air Force photo by Staff Sgt. Alexander Cook)

Rafale is slowly but steadily becoming an export success for Dassault, shaping up to be a worthy replacement for the famed Mirage. As we have covered before, Greece just picked up its first models while India is looking at the carrier variant to augment its growing quantities of land-based models. The UAE, Egypt, and Qatar have the aircraft on order as does Croatia. Now, it seems Indonesia has made good on a theorized order for the French bird, signing a contract last week to purchase 42 Rafale F4s.

Janes reports from Jakarta that the Indonesians will get the first half-dozen Rafaels in 2026. 

Meanwhile, in Helsinki

Finland’s defense ministry announced that the formal purchase agreement for 64 F-35A Block 4 fighter jets was signed on Friday. The aircraft will replace 55 aging (and increasingly unsupportable after the Navy and USMC have divested themselves of the bird) F-18C models.

Importantly, Scandinavian neighbors Norway and Denmark, which Finland is getting increasingly close with, not to mention Poland to the south of the Baltic, are on Team F-35 already. Meanwhile, Italian, Belgian, and the U.S. are expected to make future F-35 deployments to the NATO air policing operation in Estonia, Lithuania, and Latvia.

With that in mind, the choice by the Finns seems obvious in hindsight.


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